It's Time to Get Our Swim On

I have a friend who went golfing on Wednesday, even though it was 102 degrees and 86% humidity. He's much hardier than I am. The only thing I am good for when it is this hot outside is heading to a beautiful spot with cold, clean water and swimming until the heat breaks. Don’t get me wrong, swimming pools are very nice but there's just something special about sliding down a rock slide or sailing through the air on a rope swing and falling into that deliciously cold water.

Sliding Rock, North Carolina, near the Pisgah National Forest boasts some of that extra cold water. Rumored to hover around fifty degrees in the summer time, this is water cold enough to make you wonder if your heart will ever start beating again. It doesn't seem that cold when you sit at the top of the sixty foot natural rock waterfall/slide but when you hit the six or seven foot deep pool at the bottom of the falls you'll be screaming from the shock. Of course then you'll run right back up to the top and do it again.

Balmorhea State Park, Toyahvale TX, has an artesian spring pool fed by San Solomon Springs. It's deep, 25 feet and much bigger than your average swimming pool, about 1.75 acres, holding more than three million gallons of water and stays in the 70-degree range. You're allowed to go scuba diving in this pool, which gives you a terrific opportunity to observe the fish and other animals living in the spring. I hear it's the place to go to photograph the Comanche Springs pupfish. I've also heard if you bring a tortilla the tetras will go nuts for it and imitate their distant cousins, the piranha, as they devour your offering.

Beaver Dam Swimming Hole in Cockeysville Maryland offers something for everyone. For the squeamish, or those who don't like their water too cold, there are two swimming pools that average four feet in depth. For those who are craving something more natural there is the quarry complete with rafts and a rope swing dubbed the Tarzan swing. The quarry averages depths of forty feet so of course there is diving. The quarry is privately owned and there is a concession stand as well as picnic areas and a basketball court, not that you could play without the ball melting in all this heat.

Turner Falls Park, Davis, Oklahoma, offers natural rock slides, a 77-foot waterfall and a very cool grotto behind the falls. There is a natural pool at the foot of the falls and another one with sandy beaches behind the falls. There are slides and diving boards as well as the opportunity to jump in an inner tube and float down Honey Creek. There are plenty of small rock slides, around four feet tall, to make small children deliriously happy and there are a plethora of shallow wading pools. There are some absolutely gorgeous photos available at the official website so be sure to take the time to click.

You can swim in a 40-foot deep pond at Taconic State Park in New York. The name of the pond is Ore Pit Pond. Despite the industrial or polluted sounding name you can see the bottom of this swimming hole. If 40 feet sounds a little much for you then give the Wading Pond a try. If you don't want to swim at all the pond is stocked with rainbow trout so grab your fishing gear and have at them. I recommend taking a hike to see Bish Bash Falls simply because the name is lots of fun to say.

If you find these suggestions too normal, too, dare I say, commercial, or if you've got a yen to go swimming in nothing but your birthday suit, check out this excellent website. Swimmingholes.org has information about all kinds of interesting places ranging from suitable for the very young to accessible only by the mature and very fit. The site doesn't just list swimming holes, it also lists hot springs, but don't think about that right now. We all need to think cool thoughts for another month or two.