Fourth of July Swim at Whipple Dam State Park

Whipple Dam, one of my favorite local swimming holes, was closed for more than a year so that they could make some repairs and improvements. At the end of the 2019 swimming season, they closed the place down and began the process of dredging and refilling the lake.

They repaved all paved surfaces in the park, added fish habitat structures and turtle platforms, and constructed both an accessible fishing pier and a new ramp at the beach. For a while, the entire park was closed. Then it was open again, but depressing, because there was no water in it (look at the extra photo in this prior blip), and it looked very sorry and sad indeed. Then it naturally refilled itself, over time.

We wanted to go to Whipple earlier this summer, around my husband's birthday, but found out that its beach had been closed due to run-off from heavy rains. The last time my husband and I had swum here was August of 2019, shortly before the season ended. So on this day, we went back to Whipple Dam for our first swim in nearly two years!! August 2019 to July 2021! That's a long time for a girl to go without her favorite swimming hole!

We found things were pretty peaceful there. When we arrived, in late morning, there were few people on the beach. But as time went on, more families arrived, and by the afternoon's end, nearly every picnic table was in use. Oh, the good smells that came from some of those tables and grills! And people were wading, swimming, boating, and paddle-boarding on the lake.

There was music, too. Not far away, I heard the strains of John Mellencamp's Hurt So Good on somebody's stereo or boom box. Followed not long after by a favorite Pat Benatar tune, and other 80s good stuff. I had found my people!!!  ;-)

My husband and I had parked the car part of the way in along the road, and walked the rest of the way. So we had just our chairs and our daysacks and we were totally mobile. Unfettered by having no car along the lake, we walked and sat wherever we chose.

We went in for our swim, and found the water cool and refreshing, but not quite as clear as in past years. There was a family with a llama floatie that was pretty cute. They'd clearly brought it for their little boy, but the hole in the middle was so big that he kept falling through it, so a pair of bigger girls took it over.

For a pretty big-ticket holiday, things were pretty calm there, all things considered. After our swim, we walked to the other side of the lake and nabbed a picnic table and sat and read for a while, and had snacks and drinks. I walked around taking pictures; there seemed to be fewer dragonflies and butterflies than in years past, but I did find a few. And when we'd had our fill, we went home.

All in all, a pretty good fourth of July!

Let's let our soundtrack song be this one from Martina McBride: Independence Day.

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