Shootin' the Hooch and Tubing Torture
Shootin' the Hooch in a tube, a cooler full of White Claws and IPA's. An abundance of friends and good conversation.
Yeah, that's where the joy ends.
This was the river trip from hell.
What was supposed to take an hour and a half took five hours. No water. No sunscreen. Dead floating in the heat of the beating sun, pulsating waves of warmth around us, the sun burning UV rays into our skin and freckles burrowing deep into our tissue.
I was so dehydrated by the end of the trip, dizzy, confused, burnt to a bacon crisp, and in desperate need of my mommy.
Did I call her?
Pathetic Kate dragged Mom and Dad out of their nice warm house to come and get her an hour away from them.
Once home, I gagged over a toilet bowl, my head throbbing, and with the faint hallucination that my dead grandfather was somehow alive and in my house.
*Cue mountains of Liquid IV*
But let's start at the beginning. The trip was supposed to start at 10. Everyone was supposed to be there and waiting so we could be done as quickly as possible.
Well, ten rolls around and four people hadn't gotten their tubes yet.
*Cue Dick's Sporting Goods montage*
We finally get to the river at 12. The sun was hidden behind mounds of clouds, the river a cool temperature, and our spirits high and excited to be shootin' the Hooch.
Then we have to pass through little mud walkway to get in the river. Narrow. Slippery. And everyone of the girls got their hands held and guided down the path, landing safely in the water all dainty and cute.
I was going to do it on my own. I was throbbing with feminism. I didn't need a man's help. I needed the power of my female ancestors to flow through me as I guided myself, taking each step in confident bounds.
Well, turns out my ancestors are assholes.
Injury number one
Whew, did I fall. Right into the river. Mud covering my shorts and legs. The guy I was supposed to impress looking on like I was a rabid deer that just fell into the water.
Did I show it? NO.
Not even when my water shoe cladded feet stuck so deep into the mud that my friend had to help pull them out, the sucking sound of water and mud almost pornographic.
"God, please get me in the water. Safely and as least embarrassingly as possible” was the only prayer after that. After all, that was the hard part… right?
So we're going along. And the river is slow. REALLY slow. So slow that I begin asking questions.
"How long are we going to be here?"
"Well what do we do for food?"
"What do we do for water?"
Hey, here's a White Claw.
Apparently though, I am a mom at heart. My future kids will be so lucky to know that I was prepared. I brought a water bottle, face and body sunscreen, allegra, a first aid kit, and my phone. Of course, I didn't expect to use the first aid kit at all.
Maybe for a scrape. Maybe for a little bump.
Little did I know, I should have brought a tourniquet.
Injury number Two and Three
He was on shrooms the poor bastard. Drunk as well, and standing in the river. Apparently the bee sting he got at the beginning of the trip wasn't enough.
It's important to note that the shrooms turned this guy into a disney princess. Ducks flocked to him. A bee landed on his hand and crawled around. I don't know exactly what was going through his mind as I'm forever shroom celibate but it was good. It had to have been. He was staring at the bee like— like it was a beacon of hope. Sadly it was a harbinger of things to come.
Oh well. Beacons and harbingers tend to look alike.
The Major Injury
All I know at this point is that I'm two and a half Truly's in. I'm flying, I'm tipsy, I'm rolling with the river.
And then we pull off to the side with the geese.
Those damned geese and that damned crap that was everywhere.
Well, we pull over. Blood is all over the rocks.
“Who's blood is that?” I ask.
Oh, it's shroom guy.
Me, in my drunken state, decided to become a hero and take care of him. Blood, thinned from the alcohol, poured everywhere it could. Soaking through my shorts and down my legs.
Don't worry, I was just drunk enough to ask if he was HIV positive and he was just drunk enough to say “No, I'm good.”
Injury Number Four
Then I fall. Hard man. Bust my knee while a collective gasp goes through the group. Bloody gauze flying out of my hand, my face bent towards the goose feces. It's on my hands now, buried deep into my thumb nail that has blood pouring out of it.
Somehow, our group gets a shirt wrapped around this guy’s gushing foot. This is after trying to superglue the wound together with a tubing patch kit. Too much blood. Too much alcohol. Too many medically inept people in the group.
Injury number Five
So we get back in the tubes. Float down another FOUR hours.
Then my friend breaks his toe against a rock. It throbs. Swells. Blackens.
Somehow we arrive at the end of the river finally done with shootin' the Hooch. I can finally feel the pain of my fall. Shroom guy feels the gash on his foot for the first time. And we all look to the girl who organized the trip and wish her not nice things.
I don't think anyone, ANYONE, said they would go on another tubing trip.
Well, of course I would because I’m mentally unstable and that’s to be expected most of the time.
But it was undeniable. It was the trip from hell.
Could it have been worse? Absolutely. Yes.
Was it bad enough? Absolutely. Yes.
Would I do it again? Absolutely. Yes.
This was just another moment I can put in my 2022 memory jar. Things I can think about in my old age, tales I’ll tell my children and think longingly on.
And it was exactly what I needed this summer. Because as painful as my sunburn was and as bad as my knee hurt and as horrible a headache I had . . .
it was one more day I actually lived my life.
Aight, stay saucy folks.