7.20.2008

the beaver dam swimming club

lisa snapped a shot of us on the low rock
we went to the low rock when the higher rock had a line

the beaver dam swimming club

www.beaverdamswimmingclub.com


it is true... we saw this place mentioned in the Weekend Section of the Washington Post
and then we went there

it is true...
I will read the daily candy, the weekend section of the washington post, or the washington city paper and then I will try to experience what they have written about
it always pisses me off when they write an article about a some cool tiki bar where nixon used to blow off some steam
only to read the that the article to learn that this cool hip joint of an era past is now closed and no longer available to experience

so... lisa and I saw this article in the weekend section of the washington post weekend section then we did a little check on the web
there had been an article... maybe in Washingtonian Magazine
not sure... but it listed swimming holes in the area
we had been wanting to go to an area swimming hole with the boys

saturday involved a family trip to The Upsher Pool after the trail-a-bike ride
it was a decent pool culture experience
similar but different from the merrimack pool last weekend

on this day our summer swimming experience would be taken to a higher level

the trip to the Beaver Dam Swim Club involved a drive... only an hour or so
but a drive just the same
a drive that involved some child to parent conflicts
not the best way to start the day
grant and I had a father son feud
I had to withhold that parental threat that my dad used to use... it is not too late to turn this car around!
then after the thousandth are we there yet? we pulled into the Beaver Dam Swim Club parking lot

we were not let down

it was the swimming hole that we had expected.... and maybe more
we arrived early enough to get the last vacant picnic table then headed to the water


as strangers in a strange camp we approached slowly

our approach started on the diving board
this is no backyard pool
I was not sure what to expect from the kids
but... I think that the approach without a ladder aided in the removal of fear
while actually this place was all about people approaching their fears
like an amusement park... except unlike the amusement park... the dangers in this park are real

the boys jumped off the diving board without any drama
there was some guidance on appropriate behavior
one person on the diving board at a time... walk straight... focus on the jump... wait for the area to be clear before jumping... go straight off... no diving... NO DIVING!... swim back to the side after you jump
all spat out each time without my taking a breath


the fresh water spring water that filled the old quarry was cool and crisp
not cold... but refreshing
the water was also clean
no need for goggles here
we started with goggles... but ditched them because there was no need

we each took a few turns on the diving board then swam across to the rocks on the other side
we quickly discovered that the rocks were pretty slick
the boys explored shallow rock shelf and were overjoyed at the slipping
I was overjoyed that they did not crack their skulls when they slipped
grant was curious about a water beetle

I gave the boys some space as they explored
then we moved to the rock
I had the boys start with the lower level rock
but we moved quickly to the higher rock
then we moved to which ever rock had less of a line

dean and grant made me so proud
the were in control and they were good listeners
they were not wild and dangerous
they were acting without fear and steering clear of danger


it was amazing
there were requests to try some diving but I asked them to stick to the jumps
nothing crazy... no spinning... no twisting... no flipping... no diving... and no belly flops (intentional or unintentional)

grant at four was doing the unthinkable
parents of four year olds are proud of their children for dipping their head in the water and blowing bubbles
there was no jump that grant did not attempt
grant was inspiring adults to shed their fears

dean at seven also made me proud
he refrained from trying anything wild or crazy
his actions were contained and in control
other than four year old grant dean was the youngest child to be jumping off the high rocks or swinging on the rope swing

lisa was the first of the family drawn to the rope swing
grant and I watched from the rocks on the other side of the quarry
her first approach was not exactly successful
it was without catastrophe, but it was not pretty
it all happened without the kids seeing or lisa getting hurt so we headed to the rope
swing as a family

lisa got the same instructions as the children

I had my hesitations with four year old grant doing the rope swing
but lisa was confident that he could handle it
so I started in on the rules
the first rule was LISTEN
dean and grant listened as I instructed
we had watched the people on the swing and had observed their behavior
we had lisa show us what not to do
so we approached with a tactic

lisa went first in our four person pack
she landed with a splash out in the center of the quarry just as she should
with lisa on the water level I prepped the boys for the approach
dean went next
I caught the anchor hold and set him up
dean held the bar in pull up position

then I let him go
he understood to hang out and release on its apex

don't release too soon
don't release too late
relax and ride the rope out

it is just like the swing set
when it gets to the point of weightlessness is when you let yourself drop
if you find that you are starting to swing back release

nothing crazy... no flips... no dives... just let go and splash

dean got some cheers from some onlookers as he made a clean landing in the water
grant was up next
no more coaching
he knew the deal

I aided his start
I held him just as I had held dean
both the boys were too short to do this on their own
I held grant in one arm and handed him the anchor hold with the other
raising him and telling him to pull the bar in tight I lowered him to see that he was in a monkey bar/pull up position
then I gave him a push

I waited for grant to release and was relived that he let go early

there are no photos of the action on the rope swing

we were too involved in the action to slow for a photo shoot
we should have taken a shot of a stranger just to document the actual dimensions of this swing
an underwater camera would have done us well

just as we went back to back on the rides at Kennywood
the boys went back to back on each jumping spot at the Beaver Dam Swim Club
just as we stayed at Kennywood to a near level of exhaustion we stayed at the Beaver Dam Swim Club fo a healthy stint
but... we left without that one last jump
I could tell that everyone was tired
better to leave early than to leave hurt


it is an amazing summer culture at the Beaver Dam Swim Club
a bit like a trip to Ocean City Maryland
lots of Maryland people
an interesting mix of beach body fit and american obesity epidemic
oh... and tattoos... lots of very bad tattoos

the people were all very cool
the employees and the visitors
friendly small talk was shared in the lines
the absence of alcohol in the park is genius
as there is a bit of chaos swirling around
alcohol would just make thing dangerous

definitely one of the highlights of the summer
but our family spoils itself by giving a long list of highlights

washington post article on an issue with lance's ranch polluting a local watering hole
in the washington post

swimmingholes.org

4 comments:

Scott T. said...

Sounds cool

I love this comment, so true "I was overjoyed that they did not crack their skulls"

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I was going to try it after I read the article in the Post as well. I am very impressed that your boys swim so well. Might be too deep for mine.

We tried Chesapeake Beach after a Post article. It was fun but the water is too dirty. Sifting for fossils was fun.

gwadzilla said...

yes
the fossilized shark teeth at Calvert Cliffs are cool

have not taken my boys
we went one day when they were younger

our younger son fell asleep just as we were pulling into the parking lot

so we headed home

as it was an age where napping was vital

I hear the jellyfish are not around yet this year

maybe I need to head that way with the family

gwadzilla said...

and yes...

the water is deep at the quarry

but there is much more than just the quarry
there are two pools for kids
one kiddie pool
and a kids pool with a slide

so you could dabble in the quarry for a bit
then fall back on the other activities

I have no photo of the boys doing so much that they did because we were on safety duty

man to man the whole time
not blinking

I was exhausted from riding the boys on the back to the side

as good swimmers as they are
after a day of that stuff
they were falling back on a remedial dog paddle

which indicted it was time to leave