Every once in a great while, you discover a place that is truly magical. A place out of time, that seems to exist on another plane of existence. A secret place, that only the select few will ever find. You will want to tell everyone you know about this place, but you will be reluctant to share it with anyone. Such a place is the Bolton Potholes.
We found this place via a friend, which is the only way anyone ever finds such places, and were delighted to find such magic so close to our house. For those of you not in the know, the Bolton Potholes is a swimming hole. A good old fashioned swimmin’ hole, the likes of which I have not been to since I was very, very young. Getting there involves taking secret paths through tall grass and sliding down rock faces so steep that you almost drop the baby you are carrying, but it is worth the trek. Well, I guess it’s not that hard to find. You just look for all the parked cars on the side of the road and then follow the sounds of happiness.
The centerpiece is a beautiful waterfall that cascades down several levels of rock, and at each level is a pool of water ideal for swimming, cliff diving, or just lounging next to. I have been twice now, and each time I saw a bunch of youthful type people up there, looking all young and skinny, jumping 40 feet off of giant rocks to their hearts’ content. Ten years ago I would have joined them. But I wasn’t sure how well the four-year-old and the one-year-old would do with the cliff diving and rock jumping, so we headed to the lowest pool at the bottom of the waterfall.
This pool is ideal for us, because at its deepest point, it is about up to Ruby’s shoulders, so she was very happy to splash about and practice her swimming while I sat on the edge and threw rocks into the water with Edward. Even baby guy was getting into it though; he held my fingers as walked out into the water up to his shoulders as well, splashing and grabbing for rocks.
The most exciting find we made on our second visit was the fish. As this is an actual mountain stream, there were actual mountain fish swimming around, right alongside of us! To small children, nothing could be more thrilling. We are totally going back to this place every day for the rest of the summer.
Let me review the best parts again for you in case you just arrived. No salt water. No chlorine. No huge crowds. Fish swimming next to you. Beautiful waterfall. No lifeguards. Now, some of you might not think that is a good thing, but as an attentive parent, I was happy because it meant: No rules. It was great to just relax, throw some rocks around, and not worry about getting yelled at for something. And, while you always have to be careful near any water, it was pretty much completely safe. No deep end, no edges, no concrete sides, just fun and sun. The only downside is that the water is pretty much recently melted snow, which means we are swimming in 33 degree water, but it warms up a bit in the bottom shallow pool, and sometimes, on a hot day, it feels good to have numb feet.
So if you want to come with us next time we go, just let me know and I’ll take you. But I’m totally not telling you how to get there.