Swimming holes offer natural cool-off spots

By John Curran

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, July 17 2011 10:20 a.m. MDT

In this July 11, 2011 photo, people enjoy the cool waters at Warren Falls, in Warren, Vt. In Vermont, there are no ocean waves to bodysurf, no water parks to splash in. There’s no shortage of places to swim, though: When summer’s heat settles in, folks head to old-fashioned swimming holes.

Toby Talbot, Associated Press

WARREN, Vt. — What Vermont lacks in ocean beaches, it makes up for in old-fashioned swimming holes, which offer cooling-off spots with clean water, rocks to jump from and unspoiled natural beauty all around. But they can be dangerous, too.

These swimming places — in rivers and streams — are hidden gems with no signs, no lifeguards and usually no bathrooms or access for strollers or wheelchairs. Finding them can be an adventure. They don't have road signs, they aren't advertised and locals sometimes like to keep their locations a secret, so they don't get too crowded.

The raw natural beauty of their rocks, waterfalls and moving water can be deadly. Last week, a 12-year-old boy drowned at Bolton Potholes swimming hole in Bolton. The week before that, two swimmers had to be rescued from a ledge in Huntington Gorge, where some 20 people have died through the years.

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