The nights were cool and refreshing compared to our Florida home, but the days were still pretty dern hot. The solution was simple: Lets Tube down the Broad River. Our search brought us to River Creek Campground.
The Broad River and its tributaries feed beautiful Lake Lure with over 10 million gallons of water per day. Like many lakes created by damming one end of a river, The water needs to be released on the downstream side. The release is calculated based on the water height in the lake, Releases can be daily in the event of heavy rain or snow melt. In the event of drought, water may be released only every several days. On days when the downstream Broad River is dryer, tubing is impossible. On release days, however, the river boldly flows and water levels increase above the level of the many rocks in its bed creating small rapids and a really good time tubing.
Jeff and Cindy Lubecki, owners of the River Creek Campground and Tubing, arrange their tube trips around the daily dam releases. Each day the Dam Authorities have a recorded message on the Dam Hot line stating IF there will be a release that day and if so the scheduled times of the release and the ceasing of the release.
On release days a reservation is required and you call ahead to know what time to be there. We were scheduled for 12:30, perfect time for a cool float in the heat of the day! After arriving and signing in, Jeff gave us all a safety speech (stay in the middle, stay with your party, little ones go first) and loaded us into the van for a 2 mile trip up river to our launching spot at Lake Lure Baptist Church.
We rolled our tubes down to the river, stuck our butts in them on the bank and fell backwards into the water with squeals and laughter. We were immediately swept away downstream, with River Creek Campground our destination with an ETA of 2 hours or so. The water temperature was around 70 which was perfect for the float. Cooling and refreshing but not shockingly cold.
The river was moving at a nice pace and it wasn’t easy to “stay in the middle.” The river seemed to have a mind of its own. Our stomach muscles and arm muscles were used to reposition ourselves frequently. Once one was set, the most comfortable position was leaning on your elbows and looking ahead. The small rapids we went through were a blast but not complete without screaming a little here and there. During one approach to a rapid set, I noticed a small tributary ( I thought ) to the left. I was floating almost right next to my partner but somehow got sucked to the left into what turned out to be a split in the river around a fairly large island. Much screaming! I Careened off each bank trying to get back to the main stream but there was no way to fight the current. I was officially separated from my party and not just separated, out of earshot.
Not much choice but to go with it. I swept around a large turn crashing into a bunch of bushes complete with spider webs, reaching up to the only branch to push myself away and found it occupied by a snake and no i don’t know what kind. Abandoning that idea I kicked wildly at the shore and pushed myself back into the main stream. I hollered every now and then for my party but heard nothing but birds chirping in reply. A set of rapids thrilled me and i rushed towards another turn to find i was back in the main fork of the river. I looked upstream and way up there.. they were out of their tubes trying to get to the split where I disappeared. I hollered and stood up when I could to wait for them.
Re-united, we continued with much discussion of the adventure. Up ahead was a big broad rock that invitingly said stop here for a minute. We got out of our tubes and stood against the force of the river and slogged over, Kalle lost a toenail and crashed the instep of her foot into a rock during this maneuver. We sat until we were sure it “wasn’t broken.”
It felt better pretty quick and we continued on under a covered bridge, through more small rapids and beautiful scenery.
The end came when started seeing the waterfront campsites of River Creek Campground. We rode the river to the sign that said “GET OUT HERE” and climbed the steps with our tubes and walked back up the the office.
All in all it was a great float and we were starving! Cindy and Jeff said sure, go ahead and enjoy a picnic, so we chose an available picnic table in the shade of a hickory tree and devoured the sandwiches we’d packed. Discussion centered around the campground and which sites we would choose when we brought the Travel Trailer up, or if we came back tent camping. The tent campsites are really nice and have a cover over the camping site. They are also right on the river so you can just jump in any time you want to. We picked sites 29 through 33 for our tent sites and 15 through 17 if we brought the travel trailer up.
As a campground, River Creek has just about everything you and the kids could want, including a game room and camp store. They have 50 sites and room for units up to 45 feet. They also have 5 camping cabins, in case you want to stay indoors and don’t have a tent.
Jeff and Cindy, bought River Creek about 4 years ago, relocating from Clearwater Florida. They haven’t looked back! Seems like a fun life, being the hosts for vacationers from around the country. If you want to go, and this party highly reccomends it, Give Cindy or Jeff a call at 828 287 3915 and make your reservation. The cost is 10.00 per person at the time of this writing. You won’t regret it!
River Creek Campground is an easy 15 minute drive from the Lake Lure area, They are located at 217 River Creek Drive, Rutherfordton, NC.
All in all.. great float adventure! Tame enough for the whole family!
As always, Have an interesting day!