The Guadalupe River is a destination for many. For us, it is home. We are privileged. We have the luxury to enjoy the benefits of river life as we please. We take out our kayaks, paddleboards or tubes at our leisure. No need to squeeze in all the fun in just one weekend or day. We try not to take it for granted; we spend a great deal of time on the water, especially during Texas’ long summers. In fact, several years ago, we boasted the fact that we had floated the river at least one day a month for the entire year including the day after Christmas!
NO ONE CAN KNOW A RIVER
However, we do not really know the river, not even our little part of it. I say this because no one can ever really know a river. Rivers are ever-changing and wild. Rivers, like all of nature, demand respect. Water level changes, rocks and other underwater debris migrate. Despite ordinances against glass containers, people bring them, drop them, break them. Even water chemistry changes so that one day a person can easily skip across the rocks from the bank to the island and the very next day a slippery film develops so that crossing becomes precarious.
I can go on endlessly about the river’s beauty and often do. The turtles and ducks and herons and hawks. The fish, the hummingbirds and dragonflies. The sound of water flowing over rocks, frogs croaking and the cicadas playing their symphony. Majestic trees that shade deep pools. Early morning mist hanging low across the water. Yes, it’s gorgeous.
But it can also be dangerous. Apparently, people forget this little fact all too easily. Over the years I have witnessed countless foolish behaviors and they never cease to make me cringe. The thing is, I am there to relax, to enjoy the company I am with and forget about the larger world for a time. I do not want to feel responsible for others (especially strangers). I am not a lifeguard. At the same time, I am certainly not going to sit idly by and watch a disaster happen right in front of me without trying to prevent it.
REGINA’S RIVER RULES
That said, here are Regina’s River Rules:
- Proper shoes. I don’t care that you went barefoot throughout your carefree childhood (I did too). Rocks can be slippery. Stupid people leave behind broken glass. Find yourself a good, sturdy pair of river shoes.
- Watch your kids! This one bears repeating.
- WATCH YOUR KIDS. If you don’t feel like you can have a good time AND keep an eye on your children, then don’t bring them along! You are not familiar with the water flow and other river conditions. You don’t know the other people on the river and neither does your kid. There really are strangers about, especially on a holiday weekend. I should not have to watch your young child slip through flowing water, lifejacketless and unsupervised while your back is turned. That’s your job.
- Don’t bring your kids unless they are strong swimmers or have lifejackets or both.
- Show respect. Respect those around you, respect the locals (we live here) and most especially, respect the river. Don’t throw your trash in the river. If you accidentally drop your beer can, swim after it. When you leave, you should be taking all your trash with you.
- Bring plenty of water to drink. Sure, enjoy your alcoholic beverages, but keep yourself hydrated.
- Be friendly. Smile and wave as you pass. We will wave back!
If you visit many of the tube rental websites, you will find the following warning:
IMPORTANT… Guadalupe River tubing, swimming and river activities have both inherent and unknown risks and dangers. These include but are not limited to injury or loss of life. (https://www.riversportstubes.com/guadaluperivertubingchecklist.htm)
Take heed. Don’t be stupid. I beg of you, should you visit our river, give her the respect she deserves. Be safe. Have fun. Let us locals enjoy ourselves too.