Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How To Tube The Ichetucknee River, A Splash By Splash Tutorial

So, you want to tube the Ichetucknee River?
You won't regret going, ... unless you fail to pay attention, so tune in.

Do the following:

  1. Before anything else, go to the state park website for Ichetucknee Springs State Park and READ IT! Pay attention to the part about the park closing EARLY AND OFTEN due to crowding.
  2. Avoid a weekend or holiday unless you are insane.
  4. First timers should probably start with the south end half river float, expecially if you have little ones who might get chilled after a few hours in the spring water (72 degrees).  These guidelines will mainly focus on that trip, but you can start at the north entrance to the park for a longer float.
  5. USE your sunscreen. You will float in and out of shade during the trip.
  6. What to take:   a) nothing you would not want to lose in the river.       b) a mesh diver bag that can be tied to your tube is really handy for holding your mask, hat, sunglasses ... things that can get wet, but you may not want to hold or use the entire trip.     c) a change of clothes for afterwards.  
  7. The less stuff you take on the tube ride the better, although I always recommend a mask and snorkel. Leave your fins at home if you are taking this trip. You do not need them and they damage the bottom vegetation.  
  8. You don't have to hassle with taking your own tubes, there are vendors located just outside the park. We use the LOWES tube folks and it is always a good experience. A big basic tube costs $5 for the day and the LOWES folks will tie them on to your vehicle for you. After you finish tubing, you drop your tube off in the park and the LOWES folks take them back from there. Sweet.
  9. The basic procedure once in the park is simply walk to the tram pickup, ride the tram to the upstream starting point, walk a short beautiful trail to the water, jump in and tube to the get-out point (about 2 hours), then do it again or dump your tubes and you are done.
  11. My brother in law Frank and family demonstrate the terrific tubular tieing of the Lowes Tube Rental folks.
    My daughters demonstrate pre-tubing beauty in the parking lot. The building in the background is the park concession area with food and restrooms. This is where you can leave your car keys ($2) while you tube and where you can change into dry clothes afterwards.
    My son and his cousin Frankie demonstrate suave debonairyness.
    If you can look good in a tube, you can look good anywhere.
    Getting in is as easy as plunking your butt in the tube from the dock, or you can jump in and then mount your tube from the water.
    Caution, the dock stays wet and therefore is slippery.
Smile, you are tubing.
I am just demonstrating what not to do in this picture.


edifice rex said...

You shaved!!!?? Oh, say it ain't so!!! ;)

robin andrea said...

Excellent video! Loved the view.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Now this looks like FUN!!

Anonymous said...

FC-Loved the new pop-up balloons! Oh and also Katies haircut! Tell the fam I said hello!

Sayre said...

I went tubing there as a teen - a whole bunch of us went together. It was lovely and cool and relaxing - except when the snake fell out of the tree and into my friend's lap. That part was kind of exciting!

Tree Hugger said...

LOVE the Ichetucknee!!
Use to be a yearly summer outing!
I'd swim the whole thing w/ a face mask since it's like swimming in an aquarium :-}}

Kaybe said...

What a neat video. I felt like I was floating right along with y'all. It's been 20 years since I tubed the Tucknee - I think I'm due a good float.

Take good care,


roger said...

obviously grand fun. you have outdone yourself with the video!!

cinbad122 said...

Getting fancy with your videos! Eelgrass.....ewwwww!

lisa said...

Now that was an awesome video ;) Looks like a lot of fun too!

kathy a. said...

what wonderful fun!

Julie Zickefoose said...

Kinda miss the caterpillar but I'll survive.
This confirms my suspicion that you are a merman. Perhaps those nearest to you have spotted your flippers.

Ja Broadie said...

What a great video and bloggg! You guys really know how to live and enjoy life. Here is a site I use that is getting a lot of buzz that helps people find fun things to do near them based on budget and time available. Its fundivvy.com. Way to live guys. Cheers.

Island Rider said...

We used to go there every year with church youth when we were kids. A long drive from here, but worth it. Except when the church bus broke down.

We haven't been to Rainbow River in a couple of years. Not since the kids got their own lives. This makes me want to go back.

Floridacracker said...

(Annie and Zick) I just get tired of my face from time to time, so I change things up.
Summer is often bareface time.

Tucknee vets, (you who have been before) It's a long way from the 70's and the wild west atmosphere and challenges of multiple cars and tubes blowing off somewhere near Palatka.
It could not be any easier now and the Park Service has done a good job of balancing visitor use and resource protection.

Glad you enjoyed the video!

Erica said...

Loved the view. Looks like a lot of fun too!

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Octohawk said...

Ohh I've wanted to go for ages now, but the "getting there early" part is pretty difficult when you live in Orlando!

Pablo said...

Sounds a lot like the Current River in the Ozarks. Crowded but fun.

Does Junior have anything to say about the Game of Thrones television series? He's read all those books, hasn't he. My kids seem to talk about little else.

Anonymous said...

Love this used to tube the Tickfaw in La. An all day event. A group from the hospital where I worked would go. I kayak now instead and get out from time to time. tammy

debbie said...

Thanks for posting the video. It will help me get through my work day.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

I like the sound track!

Miz S said...

Very fancy video, FC! Looks like a lot of fun.

Anonymous said...

Hi FC,

Great video! Times have changed since the 70's!!In more ways than the river!

I used to work all night. We scheduled a trip down the river one morning but I was beat and decided not to go. Instead of staying home, we rented a raft for me and tied it to my boyfriends tube. It was so nice dozing in and out that day!


Donna Mc said...

Oh WOW! I haven't been there in AGES & AGES! 30+ years...which just sounds so wrong! Wish I lived closer & could take my boys for a float down the river. Thanks for the float down memory lane. =)

Ivy said...

I was once startled by a Florida state trooper while taking a skinny dip in the big hole in December. There's nothing as good as a spring.

Floridacracker said...

I'm loving the way this post stirred tales and memories of tubing this river and others in you all.

But keep going. New memories await.

... and Ivy, December? Brrrr.

Sally said...

Great post and the video was a treat. I'm in TX now, but am a "70's vet" of tubing the springs. Also have been there more recently. As you say, things are much better now. Ichetucknee is one of my fav places on the planet.

Ivy said...

It was an unseasonably hot day in Gainesville that December. And that water was cold.

I always swim over the boil, just to prove to myself that I'm not a big chicken. I half believe that all that water is going to reverse direction sometime and suck me right down into that limestone cave labyrinth.

Outdoor Equipment Stores said...

The Ichetucknee River is a totally awesome place to go! I went several time with my whole family and the water is so clear and cool you can see the bottom. It looks like you could touch everything and it is the most peaceful journey looking at the environment that is totally untouched by modern technology.
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