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Summer fun: Tubing

It's cheap, fun, a great way to see wildlife and cool off
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Two kids float down Bear Creek outside Ashland in a shared innertube. Amelia Covert Zeve / Daily Tidings
 Posted: 2:00 AM July 30, 2012

If you don't like adventure, watching wildlife close up or cooling down on a hot summer day, then by all means, flip to a different page.

But if you do, keep reading. Whitewater inner-tubing may be just what you need.

Called "tubing" for short, whitewater innertubing is a double-sided escape latch. In the summer, you can enjoy floating down a river, and in the winter, you can slide down the slopes.

Locals' suggestions:

"We like to go for a morning hike up White Rabbit or play a game of tennis at Hunter Park before it gets too hot, and then relax in the afternoons before we grill something yummy for dinner. It's pretty simple, but with our hectic work schedules, that's exactly what we need."

— Maddy DiRienzo

"Canoeing in the mornings while the water is still at Emigrant Lake."

— Mike Vediner

One of the places locally to escape the heat of summer is in the numbingly cool waters of Bear Creek. But there's a caveat: Bear Creek can sometimes be prone to E. coli outbreaks, particularly in the summer months. To check whether there's an outbreak, call Jackson County Environmental Public Health at 541-774-8206.

Inner tubes let you explore sections of the creek that simple walking won't show you, and birds and other animals don't seem to have any problem with watching you float by a few feet from where they stand.

Tubing is exactly what it sounds like. You take a tube, anything from high-quality NRS ones designed to survive rafting through the Grand Canyon to the simple inner tubes that you can purchase at your local auto center, and head to a river.

Ashland Creek doesn't work well because it's too rocky. Instead, jump into Bear Creek and head down the stream.

Although the rocks are smooth and slippery, lifting your behind out of the tube when you go over rapids makes the whole trip a lot more enjoyable.

Amelia Covert Zeve is an Ashland-based writer who explores the outdoors and chronicles her adventures for publications. Contact her at

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