Multi-Tubing! Tubby Tubes in Luzerne Offers Year Round Tubing
By Melanie Houck
I never imagined I’d be standing in shorts and tank top in summer, about to jump in a snow tube and slide down a hill. Here at the brand new Tubby Tubes Tubing Park, it is the main activity and I’m about to discover why!
I look out over the valley below, getting a fluttery nervous feeling in my stomach. It seems kind of high and steep from here. Shane, the friendly slide attendant, arranges my tube and I sit down. On the tube behind me is Shane’s brother in law and owner of Tubby Tubes, Eric Hamell. “I’m ready!” I cry and Shane gives us a good push. Instantly our ‘two tube train’ is flying fast down a smooth, white, low friction, synthetic year round slide. I shriek for most of the fifteen seconds, and I can hear Eric laughing behind me. I hop up like a little kid at the bottom, exclaiming that I wanna go again!
Eric’s dad Dave awaits us at the lift, with a friendly smile and easy instructions. Just have a seat and it will gently pull you up! I watch to my right as kids and adults alike laugh with glee as they fly down the two slides . They hope to build a third one soon.
At the top Eric shares more of his vision with me. In 2002, his long held dream came true when he started Tubby Tubes Tubing Company, providing guided tubing trips down a beautiful stretch of the Hudson River near Lake Luzerne. He’s now branched to this all-season downhill tubing park (One of few of its kind within the US!). They are now open all year, jobs are sustained, and people can either tube in a bathing suit or snowsuit!
“I created models of what I wanted to build, using Play-Doh, and for years it sat on my desk. People were wondering what the heck it was,” Eric said. It is obvious that he is passionate about tubing and his ambition and drive has paid off immensely.
After another great slide I feel reluctant to hand over my snow tube, but I also can’t wait to check out their main attraction.
A little boy runs past us, laughing and eager to get back in line. Eric beams as he says how cool it is to watch a kid leaving the park crying. Not that he likes to see kids cry, but because they had so much fun they don’t want to leave.
Eric then sends me on to my next adventure; attacking the mighty Hudson with nothing but a tube. I arrive in time to get ready for the 1-3 pm tubing trip. Our main guide Phil greets our tribe of eager tubers and it is apparent that he loves his job, especially as he greets a few of us with squirts from a water gun.
“Ok raise hands, whose first time is it?” he asks and a bunch of us raise our hands. “Oh really, you’ve never been on a bus before? “
This is my kind of humor. We all climb onto the blue bus named Brutus and before long PhiI, Jeff, and the other guides have us cracking up with their crazy jokes. Brutus carries us down a dirt road and Phil excitedly points out the window, informing us that all those things out there are genuine live trees. We are really getting the backwoods experience! Our guides even look like mountain men straight out of the high peaks, bushy beards, tanned skin and all.
Soon we reach our launching site. We unload quickly, and I am surprised at how wide the river is. The Hudson appears deep and fast moving, no doubt from recent rains raising the water levels a bit. With quick efficiency all fifty or so of us are given happy looking bright yellow tubes. Phil demos the difficult process of ‘correct butthole alignment.’ Those are his words, not mine. I would rather not give away too many of his ‘classy’ jokes, you really need to hear them for yourself.
I exclaim as my toes first touch the cold water, and laugh with a couple of other people as we all do a little dance at first. But overall it feels so good after all this hot weather.
The current caries us at a decent though not too crazy pace. I feel a nudge and smile appreciatively at the guide on a kayak who just gave me a push so I wouldn’t float away into some remote backwater. Everyone relaxes and a certain camaraderie settles over us tubers, even as several have water guns trained on each other. All our cares are left behind on the shore as we sit back and let the world flow by. The scenery is amazing. It feels like you are deep in the mountains with woods on all sides, truly experiencing the Adirondacks. Look for eagles, as they have been spotted by tubers before!
We take a break along a rock outcrop where some climb up to jump in while many of us continue to chill in our tubes. No one’s in a hurry, and I pretend I don’t hear Phil say that our final destination is within sight, but I know the fun has to end at some point. The tubing trip is about an hour long, but it feels so much shorter.
Many people come back to Tubby Tubes year after year. I know I will! If you’re looking for a really cool multi tubing experience, Tubby Tubes is the place to be! It is fun for all ages, as little ones can tube too! The staff is excellent, friendly, and highly efficient.
Tubby Tubes is open seven days a week through July and August. After Labor Day Weekend they are open on weekends for river tubing until October 12th. The snow tubing is open all year. Lazy River tubing offers trips of various length and you can also kayak or raft if you choose. Call for more information or visit their website at www.tubbytubestubing.com. Call for info on Lazy River Tubing at 518-696-5454 or for Year Round Snow Tubing at 518-696-7222.