By BRADLEY S. RICHARDSON
Bugs, cold fingers and exploration are all a part of the experience of floating down the Provo River in an inner tube.
It is one of the most exciting ways to experience the river because riding on a tube makes the river seem like an obstacle coarse.
The floater must stay in the main stream to avoid branches and logs. Once in the middle of the stream, the rider must carefully maneuver under bridges and around large rocks and sticks.
“It was fun,” said Cary Swapp, a junior from Riverton, majoring in chemical engineering. “We did something exciting that people just talk about, but few do.”
“It’s a different perspective from the river,” Swapp said. “There are a few places where you could be slammed into outcroppings of tree branches, stumps, rocks and bridges.”
“It’s not wild enough for a raft,” she said. “On a river like that it would be kind of boring.”
Although many are looking for adventure others just want to relax and enjoy the ride.
“It was gorgeous,” said Kamber Price from Grand Rapids, Mich., majoring in physics education. “I just like the mountains where it’s still really green.”
“That’s what I like about Provo. If I were at home I couldn’t do all these things,” Price said. “We’re making use of Provo’s resources.
Price floated the river Friday night with several friends. Members of the group said they nearly froze.For those that ride the river at night, beware — bugs seem to surround the swifter parts of the river.
“The bugs could get really annoying sometimes because you had to cover your face,” Price said. “You couldn’t help but eat a few.”
“Sometimes it was hard to see with all the bugs; you had to keep your mouth shut,” said Kimberly Gibbs, from Camarillo, Calif.
The tubing experience gives the rider a sense of exploration and suspense but safety is always a factor.
“Always wear some sort of personal floatation device,” said Sgt. Peter Bell, search and rescue coordinator for Utah County Sheriff’s Department. “Do up all the straps and ties and belts.”
Sometimes people drown simply because they don’t tie up their straps, he said.
“Make sure you are in a group, never float by yourself,” Bell said.
Bell also encourages riders to wear clothing that will keep them warm and protect them against scrapes and bruises.
Also, scout out the river before floating it.
About three minutes down the river from the Deer Creek Reservoir there is a fork in the river. Be sure to go on the right side. On the left side there is a small bridge with only about a foot high clearance — which makes it extremely difficult to ride under.
Floaters should start somewhere below the Deer Creek Reservoir and end their ride at Vivian Park, Bell said.
“Anywhere below there it gets quite treacherous with rocks and debris and tree limbs that stick out,” Bell said. “We don’t encourage anyone to tube or kayak below Vivian Park.
“Prior to Vivian Park it’s pretty safe to tube,” he said.
Inevitably, those floating down the river will encounter fly fishermen. Floaters should be careful.
“They (floaters) don’t seem to be too big of a problem unless they get in the fisherman’s way by getting to close,” said John Boehm, Provo River fly fishing guide. “Sometimes they’ve been way too close and angered a lot of fishermen.”
“If they see a fisherman ahead, try and go to the other side of the river,” Boehm said.