Lazy River

Jun 1, 2005
Outside Magazine

It's no secret that Boulder, Colorado, offers the best urban inner-tubing in the States, possibly the universe, as locals cool down and bruise themselves "floating" more than a dozen drops of Boulder Creek between Eben G. Fine Park and the take-out of choice, beside the downtown library. These rapids range from tame sluiceways to a shoulder-high waterfall, where teens chill out watching sorority girls lose their bikini tops. Here's how to tube it right. 1) Get your puncture-resistant, Barcalounger-size radial inner tubes for $12.50 at the streamside Conoco on Broadway and Arapahoe. 2) Sneakers, everyone! If sandals sufficed, you could grab any number washed up on shore. 3) Hide a six-pack of something frosty near the take-out's sunny south steps. Beer is illegal in Boulder's parks. Never, ever hide beer. 4) Launch! Feet first, butt up, valve stem down. 5) Warning: That guy over there is probably urinating in his surf trunks right now. Don't swallow the water. 6) Butt up! 7) After a big drop, plunge your ankles in to catch the downstream current and get dragged away from the froth. 8) Steer clear of the man snorkeling for sunglasses, the bamboo-flute-playing hippie standing midstream, and the marauding gang of boys on boogie boards. Those practicing tai chi under the maples are generally nonthreatening, but you can't be too careful. 9) Relax your butt. The second half is a mellow drift through a tunnel of cottonwood trees. Can you taste the ice-cold Fanta?