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Swimmers Take A Dive Off Bluish Stones Of New York's Boquet River


August - not just summer, but late summer, the perfect time to seek out a swimming hole. Well, North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann found one on the Boquet River high in New York's Adirondack Mountains.

BRIAN MANN, BYLINE: I hike up through a high meadow chest-deep with wildflowers to a place on this river famous with swimming hole connoisseurs, a complicated fold of stone and waterfalls.

The cool thing about this stretch of the river is that it carves across the open face of rock that, you know, goes right down into the heart of the mountains here. And so what that means is that it's carved these incredibly sharp little pools, perfect places to swim.

STEVE YOUNG: The Boquet River flows over this beautiful bluish stone in places.

MANN: That's Steve Young from Voorheesville, N.Y. He's middle-aged and wears a big straw hat. He found this swimming hole when he was in his 20s, and he's been coming back to the Adirondacks ever since.

YOUNG: There's northern white cedar trees, and they're just growing wild everywhere. And there's a beautiful - just up there - like, a little mini waterslide.

MANN: A dozen or so people are swimming and lounging around a pool just big enough and deep enough for diving. Most, like Arti Ross Kelso, dip in just long enough to cool off. She's on vacation from Richmond, Mass.

ARTI ROSS KELSO: The water we just jumped in is really freaking cold (laughter) but so refreshing. It feels really good on a hot day. And my favorite game my whole life has been what I call salamandering - jump in cold water when it's really hot and then lie on a hot rock and then repeat endlessly for hours.

MANN: Arti's husband, Mark Kelso, says there are some great swimming holes back home but nothing like this.

MARK KELSO: I'm swimming in something so fresh that it can't help but cleanse me. It is, however, so cold that I can't actually stay in for more than about 10 seconds.


M. KELSO: But that seems to take care of, like, an afternoon of swimming. It kind of - it ports away something old and drudgery and sucks it downstream.

MANN: That's the invigorating magic of a great swimming hole - unchlorinated and wild. Now it's my turn, and I dive into what feels like melted snow.

MANN: (Shouting) Woo, woo.

It's bracing - that kind of summer cold, icy water colored with hot sunshine and green light filtering through cedars. For NPR News, I'm Brian Mann in New York's Adirondack Mountains.


SIEGEL: Tell us about your favorite swimming hole on both Facebook and on Twitter. We are @npratc. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Brian Mann is NPR's first national addiction correspondent. He also covers breaking news in the U.S. and around the world.