The not-so-secret, secret, swimming hole
Ever have one of those special places that you think belongs just to you?
As a child that was a little quasi-beach just north of Schroon Lake. I can remember the first time my dad brought me to this secluded spot. He pulled off on the side of the road in seemingly the middle of nowhere. All I saw was a small herd path and a lot of trees. I had no idea where we were going, what a treat I was in for, or that it would soon become one of my favorite spots and one of my best childhood summer traditions.
We climbed out of his old Bronco, and I grumbled about being bored and wanting to do something fun. Fun = the town beach. Why, oh why, couldn’t we just stick with the norm? I mean, come on, can you imagine anything more enticing to a kid than a beach on a hot summer day? There were floats to swim out to, a playground to explore, and a fabulous hill to roll down. Try to beat that, Dad!
My father grew up in the Schroon Lake Region, and, surprise, knew a good deal more about all the area had to offer than I did. I remember days spent climbing Mt. Severance — still one of the best trailheads I have ever encountered — voices echoing in darkened tunnels as cars zoomed over our heads.
Then there were fishing and hiking trips where we would drive east toward Ticonderoga. Remember how it felt as a kid to drive through the twisting Eagle Lake narrows, the car feeling like it was going to dip you into the water at any moment?
There were always new lakes like Paradox and Peaked Hill and Putnam Pond to explore and places to jump in and cool off - if for just a moment while passing by.
We explored backroads out toward Minerva. Sometimes, back in the days when it was allowed, we would head to the town dump on select evenings and watch as the bears meandered near the cars, looking for a treat or two. Sometimes a bit too close for comfort for this little girl.
There was always an adventure waiting on our next vacation, and even now, years later, I still love exploring the Schroon Lake Region and making memories on the lake. But the day my father ditched the beach and we headed north for a ‘surprise,’ he really hit gold.
To this day, whenever I have time, I take the ride north between exits 28 and 29. It’s a scenic drive that always brings back fond memories.
Have you guessed my secret?
Nowadays, this spot is a bit easier to find than that day in the Bronco. A few decades have passed (yes, I just aged myself) and this favorite swimming hole has grown up a good deal more gracefully than I have. I still love to visit, and the memories of how it used to be still hold a special place in my heart, but I am glad that it is being enjoyed by so many other adventurous explorers — some things are just too good to keep to yourself.
With a dedicated parking lot, picnic spots, and an easily spotted trail, the Schroon River is an awesome spot to spend a lazy summer afternoon.
A natural hot stone massage awaits for those so inclined. Lay back, relax, and let the water lull you into a state of total relaxation as the Adirondack rocks warm you up and soothe those aching muscles.
With several smooth, long rock formations along the shoreline there is usualy ample space to claim as your own. I have been known to happily grab a book and chill out along the rocks for a few hours. I'm a sucker for a good summer read, soaking up the sun, and totally losing track of time. Of course, that’s my idea of fun.
If you talk to my coworker, Kim, she’ll share tales of kayaking down the river when it's flowing at its peak.
And, while that is more of a late-spring adventure, throughout the summer you’ll often see groups of enthusiastic tubers (is that a word!?) slowly floating along with Schroon Lake lake as their destination.
So, while my favorite "secret" spot is not so secret anymore, I still love to visit and enjoy a day at the north Schroon River. As a matter of fact, this year I introduced my son to the fun. We happily spent an hour with him playing in the natural pools, collecting smooth rocks, and searching for treasures in the shallows while I took advantage of the free massage.
Next up I feel an adventure is in order! I haven't been tubing down the river yet, but after chatting with this happy group of water-lovers, it's on my list! Grab a picnic lunch, a tube from the town store, and head to River Road. Who's ready to make some memories and hit the water with me!?
This week we're talking awesome ADK swim holes: