Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Month of Adventures (Week One): The Ol' Swimming Hole

The New Haven River: Just upstream from Circle Current

After beginning the day with a hearty Vermont country breakfast of frog (french) toast with real Vermont maple syrup, maple and cracked pepper bacon, and strong coffee, Eric and I set off for a visit to some of our favorite swimming holes.

There is something almost biblical and certainly refreshing about submerging ones self into the cold, turbulent waters of the ol' swimming hole on a hot summer day. Eric and I are big supporters of these natural swimming spots, and have explored swimming holes from Maine to Virginia and just about everywhere in between. As a guide for our exploration of various swimmings holes, we use a resource called Swimmingholes.Org. This is a great resource that includes swimming holes throughout the United States and Canada which we've used to locate swimming holes both at home and while traveling.

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin' on the River

Today Eric and I along with Sobo and Acadia ventured out to visit a couple of our favorite swimming holes in the entire state of Vermont.

Sobo watches the river

Last year we discovered two swimming adjacent swimming holes: Bristol Falls and Circle Current on the New Haven River and they fast became our two favorite swimming holes in the state. On a hot summer day, many folks partake of the swimming, cliff dives and whirlpools at Circle Current and Bristol Falls but since this is one of the largest swimming holes in the State there is usually plenty of room for everyone.

Circle current is a wide area in the New Haven river with beautiful clear pools, whirlpools, eddies, natural Jacuzzis, natural water slides and (usually) crystalline water.

"Here fishy! fishies!" a fish eye view of Circle Current

Picnicking spots at Circle Current

Bristol Falls is a large water fall with opportunities for jumping and swimming with relatively easy access out immediately downstream from the falls. There is also a lovely shallow area immediately downstream of the falls for the little ones (pups and kids) to wade and swim. On a hot summer day, there might be nearly a hundred folks enjoying Bristol Falls but since the area is so large, you wouldn't know it. Sunning on the warm rocks is also a welcome respite after a dip in the river's waters.

Looking down on Bristol Falls

When visiting swimming holes, we try and limit ourselves to just two dogs although we have taken all five dogs on occasion. Many times, the entrances to the swimming holes are steep without well defined trails and can be difficult to navigate with four or five dogs. Some swimming holes are accessed almost directly from the road, some by well maintained paths, while others require a bushwhack through the woods to locate. Moreover, good swimming hole etiquette requires one to respect private lands, pack all garbage out, behave appropriately, abide by the particular swimming hole's bathing suit/clothing optional etiquette, and in general leave the place cleaner than when you found it.

The trail to the base of Bristol Falls

This year, our house in Lincoln, Vermont is only about 4 miles from Bristol Falls and Circle Current. We began the day just a little up river from Circle Current where there are nice Jacuzzis, small falls, and slides.

Acadia and I on a rock upstream from Circle Current

A small water fall

Look at all of that water, thinks Acadia.

Sobo watches from shore

Due to the heavy rain the past several days, the river was higher than it was last year and not quite as clear. After sunning on the warm rocks and a quick dip in one of the smaller more manageable Jacuzzis, Eric and I loaded up Acadia and Sobo into their dog boxes and headed down river a bit to Circle Current. Here there is a nice beach and Eric found some color mushrooms to photograph. There is also a nice big flat rock perfect for picnicking.

An interesting mushroom at Circle Current

After a brief stop at Circle Current, we again headed down stream to Bristol Falls. Here, with the water roaring over the falls, folks were jumping from the cliffs. With the two pups, we limited ourselves to wading in the shallow waters a couple of hundred yards downstream from the falls. Since there were a number of other folks at Bristol Falls, we took the opportunity to have Acadia meet some of the other kids and adults. Sobo and Acadia also met a yellow lab and a GSD puppy named, Bear.

Bristol Falls: The rock protrusion half way up the photo is where folks were jumping from

A friendly yellow lab

After our swimming hole adventures, Eric and I made the short drive back to the house where we had a lunch of left over pizza. After lunch, Eric headed out with T-Bone to see if he could locate two ponds on the property where there is supposedly good wildlife spotting for bear, deer and other wildlife. Unfortunately, after a 3 mile trek, Eric returned not having found the pond but with a wet, tired and happy T-Bone.

Dinner was sausages, thyme mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and ice cream with Vermont maple syrup for dessert. After dinner, we relaxed and read. A good day was had by all.