GUERNSEY – According to Time Magazine, the sport of tubing was invented in Thailand somewhere in the midst of the 20th century, but the earliest rumored tube sighting was in 1916.
With the popularity of the automobile and the rubber plants creating innertubes, it just must have been the thing to do when someone noticed that they floated. Then they must have decided that river travel could be so much more fun than paddling a boat.
It has grown to be a very popular sport not only in the summer down rivers and towed behind boats in lakes, but snow tubing has also caught on recently and towed behind snowmobiles.
The newly created Guernsey Beach has been a popular spot to “put in” the tubes for many years, but with the facelift of tons of sand and a rock retaining wall, it has become the place to be in the warm weather.
All over the nation, tube, raft and kayak rentals have been big business, and although the town of Guernsey has no tube rental per se, you can see town councilman Kellie Augustyn pulling his flatbed trailer filled with tubes for those who want to go for a float.
The obvious reason for the popularity is the escape from the heat and finding relief in the cool waters of the Platte River which can be termed in this area a “lazy river” in that it is a quiet, enjoyable and very peaceful float through some of the most scenic views that Wyoming has to offer.
When approaching tubers who have embraced the sport, many have different reasons why they have developed such an addiction to the activity.
“To cool off, man,” said Augustyn. “Spend time with friends, have a few beers out on the river, it’s just an enjoyable, relaxing thing to do.”
He also mentioned that since his golf game is always frustrating, a follow-up on the river takes away the stress and sting of not getting a little white ball into a tin cup.
Sarah Mosely who takes her baby down the river tubing said, “Oh my gosh it’s so relaxing and so fun. It also cools you down. It’s all of us together and a couple of beverages, and maybe even a baby. It’s the best.”
Since COVID-19 had most of America behind closed doors and in quarantine, the town of Guernsey is enjoying the opportunity to be together again.
“It’s just being with community,” Clay Hort said. “Having some joy and laughter just floatin’ down the river. It also gives us the excuse to get together and have a community brunch.”
There is something about the feeling of being moved by something bigger than yourself and the Platte sure provides the power to get you where you want to go. It gently guides and glides you with the sound of water rushing, birds singing, deer peeping and lots of other wildlife to watch for.
Elizabeth Pallow, who hasn’t been tubing for some time, had a renewed excitement as she was one of the volunteers that helped out creating the new beach.
“I haven’t been tubing in a while, but I’m going to now,” she said. “It’s relaxing and it’s fun, it’s cooling and you get to be with all your friends.”
Another great attribute of the Platte River is that it is not too deep. Although it is always a good idea especially with kids to have some sort of a floatation device.
“I love to hang out with my friends,” said Michelle Roberts. “And, I don’t swim and I don’t wear a life jacket, but I know they all have my back. I got scared the very first time I floated, but I’ve gone out and it’s just fun. Most places you can stand up and even walk. It’s relaxing, not thinking about work, not thinking about chores.”
A lot of people in Guernsey have found tubing to be very relaxing including the Mayor of Guernsey, Nick Paustain.
“It’s the most comfortable trip in the world,” Paustain said. “We love it here. We have the best floating path you can have. Whether you go from the bridge to Register Cliff or the branch to Wayland Dam.”
Construction guru Brad Cook who organized volunteers and orchestrated the plans for the new beach said, “Attitude adjustment. That sums it all up. Whether it’s early in the morning or late in the afternoon or even on a moonlit night, it’s all about the float that always brings an attitude adjustment.”