The summer float trip is a longstanding tradition among my friends. This activity started back in college, on the Huzzah River in the lovely, lush state of Missouri. Every summer we would pack our coolers, always with ample booze and Cheetos and hit the rapids. By rapids I mean the slowest river you could possibly imagine. It would take us six hours to float five miles—with someone in the water, pushing the raft. These were the ultimate leisure floats and I’m pretty sure the raft owners never gave us paddles, either. My New York buddies and I decided to replicate this beloved activity on the Delaware Water Gap a couple weeks ago.
We found Indian Head Canoes, which would allow us to float the river, enjoying the greenery of the fine state of Pennsylvania on one embankment and New York on the other for a mere $43 per person. Getting to this place could be a bit tricky. We took the train out to the suburbs, where my friend picked us up with his car and kindly drove us out to Indian Canoe in the hoppin’ sketch-ball town of Barryville, NY. We stopped at a real suburban grocery store to stock up on beer, Four Loko, Chex Mix, Cheetos and then hit up a deli for sandwiches. As a child I was always obsessed with orange foods (Cheetos, orange soda, Flintstones push pops, mac and cheese, Cheez-Its, etc.) and luckily float trips are a prime excuse to eat all things artificially and deliciously orange, specifically: Cheetos and Sparks (a grown-up twist on orange soda). A friend advised us to try the newest Sparks competitor, Four Loko, which comes in seven different, semi-disgusting flavors but brings the flavor and sugar rush all the same.
The day we began this floating journey was particularly gloomy. Despite promises that clouds like this “burn off” by noon in New York was unfulfilled and we loaded our raft with dense rain clouds overhead. The threatening weather didn’t scare off other floaters, as we passed a variety of floating friends—co-workers, bachelor parties, families, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, high-schoolers, etc. The rain hit shortly into our excursion and we journeyed on, careful to cover the Cheetos so they didn’t succumb to death by sogginess! Some of the downpours were so heavy we sought shelter along the embankment (Pennsylvania side) until the rain subsided and we could safely paddle without diluting our beverages and endangering our Scooby Snacks.
As we paddled on our cooler stock slowly dwindled. We generously sacrificed a few Cheetos to the ducks because they looked in need of some orange entertainment on such a gloomy day. From this we learned that ducks love both twisted and crunchy Cheetos (Obviously! Who doesn’t!?) and throwing Cheetos at ducks will result in ducks swarming your raft, thereby requiring a 5-Alarm Paddle escape. (Our 5-Alarm Paddle escape involved approximately three 360’s, some high-pitched screeching, and then paddling downriver with a wake of ducks trailing after.) Later on, we found ourselves in a high-speed race with the Girl Scouts with a beverage wager on the line (the dads needed some ammo) and ended up conceding defeat so we could go jump off a 20 foot cliff that was the popular river attraction. (Read: The Girl Scouts owned us.) Though the near-continuous rain showers persisted, our food and temporary tramp stamp tattoos fared well. It took us a total of five hours to float 10 miles, stopping for roughly an hour to seek shelter from the storm. We were the last raft from Indian Head to finish the treacherous float and were happy to change into semi-dry clothes for our long car ride home—Hamptons traffic is never to be trifled with on a Sunday evening, even after a Lokos and Cheeto filled day at sea!