KNOWLES, Okla. (KFOR) – It shines like a jewel against the dry country north of this very small town.

Beneath Knowles Lake is a spring that keeps the levels here constant, the water clear and pure.

“It’s spring-fed from the south end,” says Lonnie Bailey as he walks the shoreline at sunset. “It’s a really good spring.”

Bailey grew up west of here near the town of Hooker, Okla.

A picturesque shot of Knowles Lake
The vistas of Knowles Lake, image KFOR

He learned to swim in a sink hole along the Beaver River they called ‘the freezeout.’

“That is a swimming hole,” he says literally. “It truly is a hole out by Guymon and Hooker. There’s no comparison here.”

He ranches in this area now and keeps an eye out on the Lutheran retreat that opened here in the past few years.

Local cattlemen have always known the value of good water in this type of environment.

Since a dam went in back in the 1950s, fishermen have kept the lake stocked.

Swimmers love diving off the dock on those hot, dusty days when the wind sweeps the mesas above.

Swimming Knowles Lake
Knowles Lake, image KFOR

Bailey insists, “We can have high winds and come here for a campout behind the dam, and you won’t know there’s wind in Oklahoma at all.”

We started our ‘swim across Oklahoma’ back in June, just a few miles from the Arkansas border.

It ends here in Beaver County as the light fades and the Summer gives way to cooler temperatures.

There might be more places to take a last swim further west, perhaps in Texas or Cimarron Counties, but we couldn’t find better.

“I love the reflection off the lake,” Bailey tells us. “You can see fish hitting the top of the water. This is the best evening you could have picked to be here.”

Knowles Lake is that perfect oasis, a cool spot to end a hot day, and freeze it in our memory until next summer rolls around.

The lake and lodge there is owned and maintained by the Lutheran Northwest District.

Drinking water for the camp comes straight from the spring-fed lake.