By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 10/14/2019
Occurred: 6/25/2007
Topics/Keywords: #SaltRiver #Arizona #Photography Page Views: 3377
All about our 2007 annual river float.

So far, so good: We made our third, weekly, Salt River float this past Saturday. Attendees were your blogger, your blogger's daughter Jenny, her son Zachary, and Zachary's friend Brittany.

As we discovered last year, the Salt River Tubing concession is convenient but expensive; on the map below, this is located at the Goldfield Ranch Admin. Site, and for $16 a tube, floaters are provided with an inflated inner tube and transportation to Blue Point Recreation Area and from the takeout at the Goldfield Recreation Area. You also get free parking. This is cost-effective for one or two people but not (in my opinion) for a family.

The pool loungers we bring are also more comfortable than tubes to me, though we always bring at least one tube of our own since Zachary prefers it. They include zippered pockets for our keys, sun block, and (this trip) my cell phone, used to take photos. (There is no cell phone service along this stretch of the river.)

We put in at Blue Point Recreation Area, which is a pair of parking lots flanking a bridge. You have to have a Tonto Parking Pass to park there; these can be obtained at convenience stores in the area. They cost $6 each. If you intend to use two cars, with one at the put-in and one at the take-out, you'll need two passes. Other options include getting a non-floater friend or family member to drop you off at the put-in after leaving your car at the take-out, or using the Salt River Tubing bus for $10 to take you back to your car.

Out take-out was the Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area, which is about a mile further than the Salt River Tubers are allowed to go. That gave us an additional hour of floating, and blessed privacy after the more crowded section of the river.

We did not see any animals on this trip, but in previous weeks we've seen horses, a cow, and a blue (or grey) heron, in addition to the occasional leaping fish and many dragonflies. I also had a brief visit from a spider when we inadvertently passed too close to a low-hanging tree!

In most sections the water is deep enough to swim; in a few, it's quite shallow and, depending on river flow, might even require portaging. This trip, however, the water was deep and we only had to yell, "Butts up!" once.

Along one section, there's a sandstone wall with a hollow some twenty feet high. Teenagers climb up, then jump off. You'll see it in the slide show below. This is something Zachary wants to do, but so far we've been unable to find a place to anchor there. The current is fairly strong and there's little to hold on to. We haven't been able to figure out how they do it!

Other floaters include people with elaborate floating stereo systems. Fortunately they tend to play country music more than hip-hop. Still, I'd be happier if they weren't there at all.

Most of the floaters (and all the tubers) exit at Goldfield Recreation Area. It's quite shallow there and, in my mind, not the easiest exit point anyway. Afterwards, it gets quite and, this trip, we were then the only floaters in sight. The majestic Four Peaks rose above the upstream horizon and tall, bamboo-like grasses and tamarisk trees hugged the shores, with the occasional cliff rising beyond them.

Enjoy the photos below. I took lots of them!

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