Wednesday, May 19, 2010
The Linville Fools
Some years ago on a day-trip to Linville Falls and the Blue Ridge Parkway a friend and I hiked down to the base of the falls with the idea of going for a swim. Back in the day there wasn't much of a big deal made about swimming in the plunge pool beneath the falls. These days, there are signs up claiming that it's not allowed, but I suppose folk still go there to swim.
On the day we went we did indeed go swimming. It's a great place for it. The water's good and deep there and
it's just a perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day.
However, when we got there we discovered that a family of insane people had preceded us to the falls. The family consisted of a father, and children of various ages and their friends. The dad was standing at points around the plunge pool using a bulky old-style video camera to record the antics of his various kids and their pals. What they were doing was climbing as high as they could up the walls of the gorge and leaping into the river far, far below.
His oldest kids, teenage boys, were jumping from heights varying between 75 and 100 feet. The younger kids, girls, were leaping from about twenty to thirty feet.
The worst aspect of what was going on was that the target one had to hit from the highest parts of the jumps was a circle of water about ten or twelve feet on a side. If you varied beyond this target you were likely to hit a boulder or shallow water and be killed. I had never witnessed such insanity. This went on for the entire time we were down there swimming, and they were still making the incredible leaps when we climbed out of the pool to hike back to the top.
No one was killed while we were there, but one of the older boys finally did manage to hurt himself by hitting the water at a bad angle. He then dragged himself to shore where he was obviously in a great deal of pain. However, after some time he seemed to recover and was once again scaling the cliffs around the falls and leaping back into that small target.
I've always referred to these folk as "The Linville Fools". It seems appropriate.