Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Hiking with Kids: Blue Hole

Daniel has been assigned to work Saturdays for the month of June so our weekends have been shifted to Sunday-Monday. We are still finding our groove and the month is almost over!

For Father's Day, we thought we would go hiking but Jack wanted to cut branches with Daniel. Daniel was a good sport and did yard work with Jack in lieu of a more enjoyable activity (like taking a nap on the hammock or hiking).

We figured it would be for the best to hike on Monday because our desired location was the Blue Hole in Soddy Daisy and we had heard that it could be quite crowded during the summer. We hoped that a Monday would be a quieter experience.

Blue Hole is a series of swimming holes found in the North Chickamauga Creek Gorge on Mowbray Mountain. We actually visited this area several years ago with Jack, but he was much smaller and it was too cold to swim during that visit.

This time we headed to the mountain next to ours in search of a kid-friendly swimming hole. As we drove up Mowbray Mountain we noticed that the gorge looked bone dry (as seen from Dayton Pike). We didn't know if there would be enough water to swim, but we knew climbing in the gorge over rocks would be fine too.

Upon arrival we found a jam-packed parking lot. You pretty much had to make a space for yourself. Since we were in our big SUV, we were able to find a spot that was in a bit of a hole.

With all of the cars we knew it might be difficult to find a quiet spot. The place is known for raucous crowds on hot weekends. We picked a route over boulders away from a group of young adults blasting a radio.

If the gorge is crowded, you can just continue to head upstream as there are plenty of pools to cool off in. I'm guessing we went a little under a half mile before deciding to stop. There was another family swimming in the hole and it was partially shaded.

Jack was disappointed that we hadn't brought his goggles or puddle jumper, but he had fun splashing in the shallower water and throwing rocks.

Isaac ended up skinny dipping. I wasn't sure if he would want to get in, but he was pretty adamant about getting his whole body in. He collected a whole pile of rocks off the bottom of the creek for me.

Even though the parking lot was full, we enjoyed a quiet afternoon with our boys. Since we don't have swimmers yet, the lower water levels were perfect for our crew. 

We had read reviews that the area tends to have a lot of garbage – people like to come and drink and leave their beer bottles strewn about. We saw plenty of empty bottles tucked in between rocks, but not nearly as many as I expected. It was a fun afternoon to spend as a family and I look forward to going back and exploring further.

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