Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More on Midnight Hole

Midnight Hole: the best swimming hole on Earth.

I've been swimming at Midnight Hole three times. It's located on Big Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Access is pretty easy. At the Big Creek Ranger Station you take the Big Creek Trail and follow it for about 1.4 miles to Midnight Hole. (If you want to see a nice waterfall, continue up the trail for .7 more miles to Mouse Creek Falls.) I've visited it four times, but on the last trip, in April of 2006, it was too chilly to go swimming. But the water was the highest I'd ever seen it there.

One thing to keep in mind is that the water is EXTREMELY cold at Midnight Hole. The kind of water that makes your bones ache. You never really get used to it, no matter how long you swim there. But it's such a great place to swim that the experience is worth the plunge into that chilling water. Another nice feature is that the water is deep enough so that you can leap off of the surrounding boulders without fear of hitting any unseen obstructions beneath the water. But of course the water is crystal clear--the clarity and purity of it is stunning.

Panoramic shot of Midnight Hole

Closeup shot of the short waterfall into the plunge pool.

The last time I was there, a kayaker came over the falls.

It's a nice little drop to the pool.

He quickly steered toward the shore.

His significant other was waiting there to talk to him.

I keep telling myself I'm going to go back when the weather's hot and I can go swimming there, but each year passes and I find that I've robbed myself of the experience yet again. Now it's mid-September and I doubt the mountains will see any more days warm enough to go splashing about in Midnight Hole. Maybe I can head over that way in 2009. We'll see.

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