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When the heat is on, anything goes

Eric Ercanbrack

The Broadside

The Boise River in Idaho, the Brazos River in Texas, and the Delaware River in New York all have a similarity to the Deschutes River in Bend Oregon. When the summer months hit these populated areas where the river is close by, people begin to use their imaginations. Residents of towns surrounding the rivers grab for anything that will keep them afloat as they loftily bake in the sun while being pushed by the current at speeds that can reach nearly two miles an hour.

Floating down a river has become a pastime for many people in Bend. Floating in the Deschutes did not gain popularity until the construction the Old Mill District and its surrounding area.

With the construction of Farewell Bend Park people can now be seen relaxing on an array of flotation devices.

“I like floating the river so I can work on my tan,” said Rachel Young, who floats the river on an air mattress. “It’s actually really comfortable,” explained Young.

Air mattresses aren’t the strangest flotation devices on the river.

The Fourth of July brings an excess in traffic to the Deschutes River where a non-stop flow of people can be seen relaxing as they are swiftly pushed down the river.

“The stores were out of tubes, and I wasn’t about to spend 30 dollars on a raft” said Sandra Hayes, who was floating on a noodle, a floating device that is an elongated cylinder made from a foam like material. “I thought the noodle would work better,” said Hayes after she stood up in the river and walked, carrying the noodle in hand.

Air mattresses, noodles, kayaks, boogie boards, row boats, arm floaters, mini sailboats, tubes of all sizes, rafts, blow up chairs, and blow up devices you lay on can be seen flowing down the curvy river. Even a man floating on a piece of wood was seen, a cooler sat on the large plank beside him.

“I think tubes are the most popular,” said Young about the best floating devices, “um, then air mattresses.”

Gary Kraus, who prefers to float the river in a inflatable chair while he reads, remembers when floating the river was not a popular pastime. “Young people used to jump off the bridge, but not until the last six or seven years did people start floating,” said Kraus.

“People are always so busy. You just grab whatever will carry your weight and then you relax on the river,” said Kraus.

You may contact Eric Ercanbrack at eercanbrack@cocc.edu

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