Austin Corson, 17, Jamie Dimick, 16, Autumn Taylor, 16, and Kelsie Demick, 14, float down the rapids of the Yampa River on Thursday. The group sometimes floats the river six times a week.

Photo by Mari Katherine Raftopoulos

Austin Corson, 17, Jamie Dimick, 16, Autumn Taylor, 16, and Kelsie Demick, 14, float down the rapids of the Yampa River on Thursday. The group sometimes floats the river six times a week.

'No place I would rather be'

Yampa River has its own appeal

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Austin Corson, 17, Jamie Dimick, 16, Autumn Taylor, 16, and Kelsie Demick, 14, float down the rapids of the Yampa River on Thursday. The group sometimes floats the river six times a week.

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Andrew Maneotis, 18, and Levi Weber, 18, battle the waves of the Yampa River on an air mattress Thursday.

— For some, being in the big city has plenty of appeal.

There's shopping. There are malls. There are rides at a nearby theme park.

That's for some people.

Not for Ashleigh Mann.

No, she would rather float down the Yampa River on a tube. Because there, she finds relaxation. She finds friendship. She finds tan lines.

The recent Moffat County High School graduate goes floating a couple of times per month, with friends, family and even her dog, Bear, along for the ride.

A ride not available in a big city.

"Craig, being such a small town, there are not that many things to do except outdoor activities like floating the river," Mann said. "If I moved to the city, I would miss the trips down the Yampa River a lot."

With a pair of water wings and the City pool a thing of the Mann's past, she believes floating the river is for an older audience.

"Going to the pool when you are younger was fun and playful." Mann said. "Floating the river is more relaxing and calm."

For this reason, sisters Jamie, 16, and Kelsie Dimick, 14, and friend Autumn Taylor, 16, have made a tradition of floating the river this summer.

"One week, we floated the river six times," Jamie said. "I love it when I am having a bad day. Floating the river takes away my worries."

As the cool water of the Yampa River splashes Kelsie, a self proclaimed outdoors lover, she says soaking up the rays is her favorite part of floating the river.

"The cool temperature of the water combined with the hot temperatures outside is perfect for us to get our tan on," Kelsie said.

What better way to wash your worries away than with the company of some of your favorite individuals, Taylor said, as the group of seven teens climbed aboard an air mattress and an inner tube to began their journey down the Yampa Thursday evening.

"The boys float down the river on an air mattress. It's hilarious," Taylor said. "Sometimes us girls tie our (inner) tubes together so we can talk and not get lost."

The friends' silhouettes blanket the sunset, and they will be sure to return again.

"There is no place I would rather be than Craig in the summertime," Taylor said. "It's a small town but, if you use your imagination, you can find a ton of fun activities."

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