It may not be Tom and Huck’s raft on the Mississippi, but if it’s excitement and adventure you’re looking for then head up to Phoenicia for some whitewater tubing on the Esopus Creek. Located on a five-mile stretch of the Esopus, this is one of the most popular tubing courses anyplace. People come from all over to ride the rapids and drift with the current as the Esopus winds its way through the beautiful mountains of the Catskills.
Interested? Then head for the Town Tinker Tube Rental headquarters off Route 28 on Bridge Street in Phoenicia. The trained Town Tinker staff will rent you all the equipment you need, as well as provide you tubing instructions and safety tips.
Town Tinker has two courses, novice and expert. The novice is for first-time tubers and those who prefer a gentler ride down the creek, the expert for more experienced tubers. Each course is about two and a half miles long and each takes about two hours. The novice course, which begins near the Town Tinker headquarters on Bridge Street, offers a variety of exciting rapids, fun flumes, and calmer stretches just made for drifting. At the end of this course the Town Tinker Tube Taxis will return you to Bridge Street.
The expert course, definitely more challenging and containing challenging whitewater rapids, begins upstream from the headquarters. Transportation to the entry point is also by Town Tinker Tube Taxis. Along the expert course you will encounter larger, faster rapids with names like “Railroad Rapids” and “The Chute.”
Tubing, like other recreational sports, has its hazards as well. Common sense and following a few tubing tips can diminish any potential problem. Children must be over twelve years old and good swimmers to tube the Esopus. The Town Tinker is open through September 30, with weekends after Labor Day by reservation only. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the last rental at 4 p.m. Standard rental (tube, life jacket, tube taxi) is $25 per day, full rental (standard plus helmet and creek shoes) is $35 per day. Call 688-5553 for information and directions.