When our trip planner said we would be “tankin’ on the Loup in Nebraska, I had no idea what tankin’ meant. Where I live in Colorado, tankin’ could only mean classified white water rapids and someone going in the drink. “It so easy your grandmother could do it,” our guide and owner of Glidden Canoe Rentals, Mitch Glidden, told us as we climbed out of the yellow school bus and on to the soft grassy banks of the Loup River.
Our water vessels weren’t rubber rafts for white water, instead they were round troughs, horse troughs to be exact. And the white water, well it was no deeper than a toddler’s pool. And as for the rapids, I would classify them and as a minus 5, without the slightest hint of a crest of white. Glidden is right – tankin’ in Nebraska is a smooth as grandma’s chocolate silk pie.
For the next few hours, our group floated with ease down the Middle Loup River with a cooler full of sandwiches and cooler of cold drinks. We were powered by nothing more than the slow flow of the river and a mile of yarns from Glidden about life on the Loup.
The river cuts through the Sandhills terrain much like a ten-year old would build a sandcastle moat on the beach. Occasionally side flatten out to a small beach, which is a perfect place to let the kids out to splash around. During our float, horses wandered down to the river for a romp and a cool drink.
OK, so maybe a tanking trip isn’t quite up to speed, then try a RZR (pronounced Razor) ride in the Rocky Mountains. RZRs are beefed up ATVs, with smooth suspensions that can take just about anything – mud, rocks and even snow. And as the leaves begin to change over, renting a RZR is the only way to get way up in to the woods to see spectacular fall color.
Our guide took up over Vail Pass for some breathtaking views of part of the Rockies few people see. Sage Outdoor Adventures in Wolcott, Colo. (near Vail) has access to more than 6,000 miles trails. The single trail system includes breathtaking views across the Rockies, old homesteads, wild flowers and lush forests. By the end of the trek, dirt will coat every exposed inch of skin, dust will permeate your clothes, but all that you will notice is a gritty smile from all the fun.
So, if you’ve spent the summer watching from the sidelines, now is the time to get a little wet and muddy before the cold weather moves in. Check out Glidden Canoe Rentals or Sage Outdoor Adventures to get grubby. Ignore the dirt in your teeth and a few bad hair days, the experience will make you smile all the way through the fall.
Glidden Canoe Rentals
Mitch and Patti Glidden, owners
Rent canoes, kayaks and tanks
Sage Outdoor Adventures
Exit 157 off Interstate 70 toward Wolcott, Colo (Near Vail)