Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Down the Tubing Road

Wednesday March 12, 2014
Rainbow Springs State Park
Dunnellon, Florida



In just about two weeks the tubing season will start here at Rainbow Springs. 


We’ve always avoided April through September here because apparently the Rainbow River from the park to the Withlacoochee River is literally a wall of tubes.  Forget kayaking up the river from Dunnellon or K.P. Hole.   But today, there are no trams on the tram road between the park put in and the park take out for the tubing run.  I ran this yesterday and thought we’d go out today and walk it so I could get some pictures.

Last night it poured and the wind blew big time.  This morning the rain continues but eventually it turns into drizzle so we put on raincoats and out we go.  I take David out the back of the campsite onto a sand road I’ve discovered that comes off the campground road.  Another secret path.    There are two other sites which also have a path to this road but most of them do not.





About half way out the campground road, the tram road goes off to the right.  No other vehicles are allowed on this road during the “tram season” but now the gate is unlocked so walkers and bicycles can use it.




It’s also a nice place to run.  About 4 miles down and back.





The skies are trying to make up their minds.   Rain or no rain?   So they do a little bit of both.




At the end of the tram road is a parking lot for the tubers and the ticket booth.  


$11 for two hours to tube.  Own your own kayak and you can do the river for free.   Also, tubes cannot use the river from the spring head downstream to the campground.  They can only go from the campground downstream to the tub take out.






From the ticket booth you board the tram which takes you back the road we just walked down. You put in at the campground and tube down here. We walk on to the boardwalk up which the tubers come to get back on the tram, go back to the park and do it all over again. IF they can do two runs in two hours. Possibly depending on how many other tubes are in the river. I’ve heard in the summer it is just a wall of tubes. Today we hike the wrong way on a one way. We walk down the board walk to the tube take out.




The river is looking beautiful right there off the boardwalk.




Here’s what it looks like on the other side of the boardwalk.  Also beautiful.




The take out sure would make a nice kayak put in for a longer paddle up and float down to the spring head.  Wish they’d let us do that in off tube season.





We are headed back when off to the right I see  what looks like a road/ trail with no indication where it goes. 


You know me, I can’t resist these sorts of things.   Where does it go????






About a mile or so later, we find out this is where it goes, right into someone’s back pasture and their abandoned horse barn.








Looks very salvageable to me. But not for long if they don’t do some maintenance.   Our horses, Monacan and Nakoma, and our burros, Fred and Ginger, would have loved to have a barn this nice.  Plenty of room here for all 4 of them.





On the way back, we see another welcome sign of spring. 


The dogwoods are in bloom here in the Rainbow Springs State Park area.   Reminds me of Charlottesville and their annual Dogwood Festival in April when the town is a bloom in pink and white dogwoods.   We haven’t seen it for 4 years now and won’t be there this year either.










Back down the short cut  road and up the little path to the campground where Winnona is waiting.

Turns out to have been between a 5 and 6 mile hike.  Just right for today!










I spend the afternoon setting up my new HTC Rezound phone which replaces my beloved HTC Thunderbolt.  What fun I have trying to make it do everything the other phone did and as well.  The jury is still out.  David spent his afternoon listening to me complain.   I’m sure he’ll appreciate your sympathy.


  1. Loved the photo of the sky today. So frustrating to figure out a new phone but bet you'll come to love it-or not!

  2. You remind me how much I miss the East in the springtime - especially the rhododendrons and mtn laurel.

    I can't imagine how the river must look with all the tubers in it. They must bump into each other a lot. Doesn't sound like near as much fun as your quiet paddling.

  3. ah sigh....poor connection tonight in western Oklahoma so I can't get the photos to come up...looks like I'll try again later. Sorry you don't like your phone...sigh. And give David my condolences.

  4. Do you have to pay 11 bucks for the tube that holds the beer cooler too?

  5. Sorry David. :( Folks getting out in tubes may not be our cup of tea, but I appreciate that they at least get out of the house. A little nature is better than no nature in my opinion.

  6. Remember when technology was promised to make our lives easier? I'm still waiting for the easy part.

    I recently had to replace my beloved, simple to use phone with an upgrade because mine was obsolete. I'm still trying to figure it all out. It's even harder because all the letters and numbers are smaller. How come nobody told my fingers to get smaller?

  7. This is precisely why we are also kayaking the rivers now instead of after Memorial Day -- we are loving the peace and quiet. Bumper to bumper inner tubes -- no thanks! Good luck with your phone -- when you get it all figured out, will you explain mine to me??

  8. Our llamas would have loved that barn but not the heat and humidity. In the summer our electric bill would be higher for the barn than to A C our entire house and my studio.

  9. Can't imagine being at that lovely park when tube season starts;o(( But would love to be there right now and see the dogwoods and the signs of spring!! Sorry about the phone and hang in there David, it will be better soon:o))

  10. Always nice to explore the road/trail less traveled.

  11. Glad you got your walk in between the few showers. I love dogwoods. Coming from PA, we have areas just covered with pink and white dogwoods. They are beautiful. But they look especially special mixed into the forest.

  12. I loved living in south Georgia and spring was amazing. Loved the dogwoods, wisteria and azaleas in spring. It really is a shame you couldn't use that nice kayak launch.

  13. Bill and I often talk about whether of not we could stand being away from East Tennessee during April once he retires and we travel full time. I know there are other places to see, but we've yet to find another as beautiful as The Smokies during wildflower season and Knoxville during the Dogwood Festival! I have loved your in depth posts about Rainbow Springs seeing it in ways I never did as a child when it was a tourist attraction.

  14. No fun to replace phones/computers/technology in general. I know it's constantly evolving, so an evil necessity. Looks like a nice tube run, but I'm sure when it gets hot, it will be very crowded!

  15. I can just imagine the phone complaints ;) Nice day though before that - exploring and a good length hike. That barn is quite spacious - Fred, Ginger, Nakoma and Monacan definitely managed with much less - they would have had a hay day in that sized barn ;) Pretty picture of the 'skies'! No leaves or flowers yet here - lucky you to see the signs of Spring coming - I'm ready NOW!

  16. I love the dogwood picture. It's beautiful here today, but is supposed to snow a bit Sunday night. Will we ever see spring dogwoods? Looks like a lovely hike. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Sounds from the comments that there is Spring beauty everywhere. Seems to me we all live in the metaphorical Garden of Eden and can find the beauty where we live and everywhere we go if we take the time to look and notice it. Thanks for highlighting some of the beauty we saw today.

  18. I like David's comment about noticing beauty- we should all take more time to do that. You guys are certainly appreciating all the beauty wherever you are. XXXOOO


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