Swimming Holes, and Daredevilry

Lets hear it for they boys!  Featured here in my inaugural youtube upload are Seth and Deaton, who can normally be found on Ben the Welder in breach of the strict ban on even a single droplet of lake water on the upholstery of the Welder’s watercraft.  (Hey Ben, maybe you should rename your blog World of Wakecraft!)  For years they’ve been honing their splashcraft for maximum effect- ever pushing the limits of shamwow technology.

This weekend, while chasing splash glory with a 12 hour drive to Knoxville for the final stop of the Wakeboarding Pro Tour, Ben and the soon-to-be high school freshmen met me just over the state line at the glorious Midnight Hole just inside the Smokey Mtn. National Park.

S & D had no problem adjusting their technique to both the several thousand foot elevation change and the more immediately threatening 20′ drop to the cold clear water below their feet.  Usually when I take a group to a swimming hole they stand there nervously as I toss my old bones over the edge and then stand there shivering and cajoling them to follow.  I didn’t have my shoes off before S & D were soaking wet and climbing up towards glory, as captured in pixels above.

Thats the teenage brain for you.  Glory trumps self-preservation.  And I’m not talking about showing off, although that’s a part of it.  I mean the glory of youth, of taking something really scary and just shredding it to bits with a toothy grin.  Seth was making the most of it because darn it we’d forced him to hike half an hour to get to the hole and he was getting his moneys worth.  Deaton kept saying aloud, “this is so great.  this is awesome!”

The score- actual adventure: 4  virtual entertainment: 0

Not to be outdone by the youts, I took the plunge headfirst with what I imagined to be the most graceful of dives.  Luckily no cameras were operating so my fantasy remains intact.  The Welder saw my dive and upgraded with a back flip.  The man’s a ninja.  He found this perfect little slip in the rock worn by the centuries to the perfect dismounting point.  When I copied him he further raised us all by finding the highest point in the hole to leap from.  That’s the one featured in the video.  It was a little terrifying.  Teenage-mind required.

This has always been and will always be the natural evolution of the swimming hole + testosterone equation.  Unfortunately for some, the full equation is often swimming hole + testosterone + a pretty girl to be impressed + alchohol = traumatic injury, rescue helicopter.  Every time I go to a swimming hole there’s a jackass pushing the limits of life and limb, and as I get older its almost unbearable to watch.  It’s much more bearable, and way more fun, just to BE the jackass.  These days I’m just a safety conscious jackass who’s given up on trying to impress his girl (she knows too much already) and puts off enjoying his cold beers until his butt is planted somewhere padded and dry.


12 responses to “Swimming Holes, and Daredevilry

  1. Scary!!!!!!!!! But not surprising!!!!!! I did the same in college, but don’t tell my children. 🙂

  2. Oh, I forgot to tell you…I have video of Deaton jumping, then you diving like a pirate (minus the knife in mouth), and then Seth flap-flap-flapping through the air all in one shot. You look like a hero amoung boys so I’ll send it to you to add to this great post. Thanks for sharing the swimming hole with us. They’re still talking about it.

  3. Oh my gosh, what fun! YOU boys never change. Thanks for giving S and D a fun time and a great “memory”. Ben is the best with them! As the Grandmother, I just pray a lot and know angels are everywhere. Love, Miz A

    P S…was there any Buffalo Rum to drink?? Had some yesterday myself 🙂

  4. Ok, I stole your technology advances and got on youtube. Here is the trifecta of rock jumps and a free sample of my country twang as I coax Seth to jump.

  5. I haven’t had any ventilator dependent quad cases in a while but the post helicopter scene is a bummer. Best to go in feet first…ya got two feet and only one noggin. Feets heal…usually, but noggins…not so much.

    My bridge and cliff jumping days are in the rear view mirror. Shoot, I don’t even think about climbing up the outside of fire towers any more….fortunately they took the one down along Caster Plunge Road…encountering the red wast nest about 3/4 of the way up was almost a permanent heart stopper…somehow you either survive…or you don’t. I’m going to think of quitting while I’ve got a head start on the consequences of past adventurous youthful experiences.

  6. I’ll order 3 of those stickers. I had to go back and read 5 posts and comments to figure out who BJ was and then pull out a pen and paper to decipher what the B and J meant. Got it! My dad won’t read my blog because he hates computers and claims that his work internet access is limited. I’m crushed that his computer insecurities dominate the importance of doling affirmations that his son is doing and writing decent things….I’m just playin’.
    I think BJ should have his own blog. I’d read it.

  7. looks really fun. i’ve been swimming in eagle river for the past 3 days and it’s fun with the rapids and all, but i have to wear a dry suit over a couple of synthetic layers. i miss the childish excitement of free falling half naked into water that’s cold enough to trigger a little fight/flight, but warm enough to accommodate for and maintain consciousness. though it is a bit startling jumping face first into 40 degree water, summertime swimming holes are just a little different experience up here… that was a fun read. i really enjoy reading your blog especially about the adventure with ben. thanks michael, i’ll keep reading.

    • Thanks Joel! It’s great to hear from the other Joel sibling in my universe. Now I just have to figure out how to get my Joel to read the blog. Gotta have some adventures with her kids and write about them.

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