Monday, July 29, 2013

Shooting The Tube...where old signs go to die

By Travis Davis

Growing up in Salt Lake affords kids both young and old ample opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.  With the unique terrain, Salt Lake’s surrounding areas are the epitome of a playground for those who love adventure.

The mountains surrounding the valley can excite you with plenty of activities to kill a little cabin fever.  Shooting the Tube is a local favorite.  Many who frequent The Tube are longtime fans of this inexpensive pastime. Often times, the only supply needed to enjoy it is a flotation device.  Plus, most who love this cheap entertainment are willing to lend a helping hand or give tips/tricks on the optimal setup.

The idea is simple.  Parley’s Stream flows down the Canyon eventually running through an aqueduct under the freeway. The aqueduct known as “The Tube” begins near the base of Suicide Rock and exits into a large pool on the eastern side of Tanner Park. Blocking the stream with plywood (or in our most recent visit, old signs), a tarp and something rigid like a 2x4 creates a temporary dam.  With riders ready inside the tube, the dam is released sending them on a wave of built up water and “Shooting the Tube” into the pool at the bottom.  It should be noted that the makeshift dam should be tied in some way to the walls of the aqueduct, thus preventing unwanted cargo following you to the bottom.       

I’ve yet to hear of anyone who has tried it and walked away disappointed.  

Access via the parking lot on Wasatch Blvd. The Parleys bike trail will lead you down a path adjacent to the freeway.  Follow it until you see a small dirt access road.  Follow the Dirt road to the creek. 

Memorial Day – Labor Day work fine but June and July are generally the best.  The winter runoff prior to the summer months flows far too large to even attempt.  Anytime after July and the creek is fairly small making for longer waits to enjoy.

Footwear: Avoid being barefoot, sandals or slip-ons.  The hike down is a cinch but the hike out is always harder after a days worth of fun, dirt trails and wet clothing.  We’ve found it’s best to wear an old pair shoes or some cheap Velcro Walmart shoes.

Flotation Device: Inner tubes and pool floats are always a safe bet.  Unless the inflatables are durable, I would recommend something cheap.

Misc.: No one will be upset if you bring new dam building supplies to use.  Rope, boards/plywood and 2x4s are always welcome.

Trash: Be aware that the area does get a lot of visitors.  That being said, please, please, please pack in a trash bag and at the very least, leave the area better than you found it.