Swimming hole at beaver dam

An August day at Monkey Valley

Gone swimming—Part 3

I started across the dam, sometimes walking on twigs and branches above the water, and Creek above swimming holesometimes slightly below the surface. The walkway felt sturdy, though, and I wondered why I’ve never tried this before. Halfway across I noticed that the water right below the dam was quite deep. Hmm. I retraced my steps to the bank, and undressed, leaving my hiking shoes on. I gingerly lowered myself into the creek, using the branches supplied by beavers for footing, and found myself in waist-high water. Yow, it was cold! I scrambled back out again, but soon took another plunge. It was silty but with solid ground beneath. The water grew murky from the stirred-up silt. I lowered myself into the coldness, a bit at a time, until I was up to my neck. I did it! The coolness traced on my skin felt wonderful, after I was out of the water again. The residue of coolness fades quickly, but it always feels so cleansing—a sacred ritual, a blessing from the water spirits.

I dried, dressed, and crossed the dam, hiking up the hill to the house. It turns out that after an hour and a half of searching, I found a spot only about 50 yards south of where I started! I’m sure some writer through the centuries has something clever to say about that. Me, I just felt pleased with myself about the whole adventure, and didn’t even take a shower before bed.

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