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Point: Don’t get sucked into the Salt River

Summer is almost upon us, and for most college students, it means only one thing: It’s river time.

The Salt River, one of the Valley’s most popular day trip spots, is known for its less-than-even-remotely-pure water, drunk patrons and sunburns that feel much worse than they look — which is pretty bad. However, those who are regular visitors of the river will tell you it’s “not that bad.”

Don’t be fooled.

As a native Arizonan, I understand the initial appeal. The weather is beginning to reach ungodly high temperatures and the doldrums of lounging around your apartment have begun to take a toll on your psyche. I get it.

What I don’t get is why this feeling passes that early stage. I strongly suggest getting a group of friends together and trying it out once to cross it off your ASU bucket list. But after that, I fail to see the draw.

I’ve floated down the river and literally witnessed a man vomit into the water ahead of me. Couple that with the array of other water-dwelling maladies that I don’t ever want to think about, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster.

That same trip, I decided I’d wear a T-shirt to keep from looking like a lobster post-float. Seems like a pretty smart idea, right? You’d think so, but I made the horrible mistake of wearing a white shirt. After several hours of sitting reclined in my tube, standing up at the end point of our river extravaganza revealed a disgusting, two-toned piece of cloth formerly known as my shirt.

And that’s just the water.

As much as I love being around drunken people for the inevitable hilarity of seeing their inebriated thought processes unfold, floating down the Salt River with the same people is an entirely different story.

It’s simply not healthy. Not because drinking is bad for you or anything like that, but because essentially dehydrating yourself in 110-degree heat is a terrible idea. Oh, there’s also water everywhere — probably not the best situation for someone whose motor skills are severely inhibited.

Then, there’s the icing on the filthy, disease-riddled cake that is floating down the river: public indecency.

Some may qualify this as a pro, not a con. After all, seeing girls wearing next to nothing while throwing back another cold one is all part of the draw, right?


This isn’t Cabo, and you’re not witnessing the filming of “Girls Gone Wild.” This is Arizona, and the likelihood that you’re going to see something you can never un-see is alarmingly high.

So, while you and your broskis might feel like grabbing a thirty pack and heading back to the river, remember one thing: It’s way worse than you (probably don’t) remember.

Reach the columnist at

Grab a tube with Yvonne Gonzales and float on over to the other side of the story.


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