When I was growing up in Riverton, my friends and I had a perfect solution to the hottest days of the summer. We took the inner tubes down to the Wind River and floated down as far as our parents would let us. We asked them to meet us down at the fairgrounds or at a farther take-out point, if we could convince them to drive that far, and we’d just float down the river and soak in that cool water.
When we got older and started driving, we’d leave one truck wherever we wanted to get out, and take another truck back up to my house, or sometimes even farther upriver. It was a great way to beat the heat.
Now that I’m old and have kids of my own, I still like to float the river. These days, it’s usually the North Platte River, and that means we have to drive a little over an hour just to get to it. I miss having a river right out my back door, even though there were quite a few places along the Wind where we’d have to walk over the shallow spots. I have yet to hit a gravel bar in the Platte an inner tube can’t float over.
We usually go up to Guernsey with another family, and we leave one vehicle near Register Cliffs. We head back to Guernsey and jump in where the Highway 26 bridge goes over the river. It’s about an hour or an hour and a half of floating, so it keeps us cool for a little while.
One of these days, we might go explore other stretches of rivers around the state. Some are a little rough for tubing, but I’m sure there are plenty of great places to float all over Wyoming. Some are great for fishing, too, but on days as hot as they’ve been lately, I don’t want to lift a rod. I just want to sink most of the way through the tube into the water and just drift along on the cool current.