OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — This might be a personal preference bt in the best places I’ve ever found to swim the water ran cold and clear. In my travels back and forth across Oklahoma I’ve always listened to those quiet whispers about such places.
I followed the meandering path of one story to an old oil field pipe stuck in the ground at the Holloway place south of Arnett, Oklahoma. The pipe extends over a large pond. A rope dangles high over the water. Every summer the residents of an old town called Grand gather there for a reunion. It’s been 20 hot seasons since we were there but that swimmin’ hole still makes the Top 4.
There are also some great community pools out there, several built by the WPA in the 1930’s. Alva’s city pool comes to mind, as does the old town swimmin’ hole and bath house in Pawnee. But the town of Gae in far northwest Oklahoma took advantage of a 1917 drilling accident to put in the best community pool we know about. Log sides, sandy bottom, and colt water from an artesian well help make Gage Beach part of our Top 4. It’s a true oasis on the prairie.
Some swimmin’ holes are natural, others man made. Just off Highway 3 near the town of Lehigh, Oklahoma and old coal miner showed me a gem back in the summer of 1997. Freddy Brice brought the last load of coal from a strip pit near town then watched it fill with rain water. The local kids work it now as well as invited guests like myself. With it’s old wooden diving board and deep water, the Lehigh strip pit makes the list.
Over the years we found little spots like Carter Springs near Rush Springs. We swam at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, and even at place in Northeast Oklahoma called Miami Beach. The discoveries make the most satisfying swims though.
Last year I hitched a boat ride with some newfound friends and asked around Broken Bow Lake for a good swimmin’ spot. Some locals told us how to find the ‘Hornet’s Nest’, a rock formation on the eastern shore of the lake that we had to ourselves for the afternoon. The Hornet’s Nest rounds out our list. It’s a medley of strokes for folks like us who, on hot days, like the water for more than just drinkin’