Swing out over deep spots and drop from knotted ropes.
Splashing in the water is another way to cool off.
Most of the time, I concentrate on the views around me. Stretching as far as my eyes can see, verdant grassy valleys spread out. After a good rain, the scent of blooming purple sage grows so strong that the river smells like an aromatherapy spa. In the distance, the fields abruptly end as limestone and golden mesas jut skyward. Mesquite and sotol plants dot the rocky hillsides in a palette of varying shades of green. Above it all, the sky at midday seems bluer than the tropical sea; by sunset, it glows orange, burnt red, and bruised violet--a colorful good-bye to the day.
Closer to my inner tube, an allée of bald cypress trees marches down the riverbank. They're accompanied by pecan, walnut, and sycamore trees.
The river remains shallow in most places--it's usually only a few feet deep. Sometimes I have to walk my tube to keep from bottoming out.
I started today at a river crossing 4 miles north of the park. Every 30 minutes or so, I pass families along the banks where moms and dads lounge in lawn chairs in the water while their children in inner tubes paddle and splash nearby. Some waders try their hand at fishing. I think it just gives them an excuse to take their shoes off and get wet.
This is as adventuresome as I get. Some folks who visit the Frio around Garner State Park desire a bit more excitement. They rent paddleboats and kayaks near the dam. A few swing out over deep spots and drop from knotted ropes. The Frio treats us all to nature's best swimming holes.
Swimming pools, schlemming pools. From now on I'm turning my nose up at those chlorinated concrete holes. Instead, I'd rather frolic in the Frio.