Swimming along Lower Hoop Hole
Left: Grandson and puppy both head for the cool water. Right: Grandson Aden demonstrates the joys of a swimming hole along Lower Hoop Hole.
Lower Hoop Hole and Roaring Run loops. 5.5 miles.
We were at Hoop Hole just a few weeks ago walking with grandson Matthew, and back again this week with the goal to cross son Eric and his son Aden as they walked in the opposite direction (clockwise, as the sign directs) on the lower loop.
Here's a measure of the coolness of the swimming hole near the top of the stream on that side of the loop: Even with an hour or more later start and both of them being good hikers, we made it up the "wrong" side, along the flat through the woods and had started down the far stream before we met them. Aden's hair was still wet, and the first thing he wanted to talk about was jumping off a big rock into a pool that was up to the top of his daddy's head.
And the first thing he wanted to show us, once we covered the short distance back to it, was how nifty a jump it really was.
After that, we experienced a few minutes of what was, by a million miles, the most raucous lunch we've ever had on the trail. Not just Aden jumping and swimming, but three dogs – Gail's Cookie, Eric's Fluff and Aden's Sugar – jumping, splashing, tussling and making no effort whatsoever to overcome, calm or otherwise make polite their huge joy at having come across each other out in the middle of the woods.
But Dad and son were also goin' bowling that afternoon, and so they had to head on back down the trail the way they came up, leaving the old folks (and just one dog, who yelped for five minutes trying to bring her pals back) with a few minutes of quiet at the falls and pool.
With such a short walk and a big chunk of the afternoon still ahead, we took the quick side trip to Roaring Run and its 1.5-mile loop – a place The Day Hiker and I not been since the days when we took Eric and his four brothers/step-brothers, when they were around the age that Aden and Matthew are now.
On this warm weekend day, the trail along the stream was full of families swimming and sliding on the rocks. But no one was having anywhere close to the big-splash fun Aden had back at his own private pool along Hoop Hole.
August 15, 2009