Blue Hole: The essence of wild and wonderful
Monday, June 29, 2009 - 15:13
I think it is safe to say that every West Virginia University student has visited or at least heard of the elusive swimming spot known as "Blue Hole." Only in West Virginia would a place like this exist. It is a perfect place to spend a sunny summer afternoon. It even earned a spot on National Geographic's list of best swimming holes a few years back.
A thirty minute drive along some incredibly winding roads, and down a treacherous dirt path along a 50-foot cliff will lead you to Blue Hole. This is a spot on the Big Sandy River, where the largely rocky river gives way to an enormous swimming hole, met by a sandy beach, and enclosed by mountains on either side. Visually, it is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful spots I have ever seen.
A bridge spanning the swimming hole has become an infamous jumping spot. If you spend an afternoon at Blue Hole you are guaranteed to see at least several brave souls hurl themselves off the 70-foot bridge. Though it's amazing to watch, it is an incredibly dangerous act. The bridge causes several deaths every year, and I personally know a handful of people who have been seriously injured. The impact of falling such a great distance can result in broken bones if you do anything but pencil-drop in. There are also many submerged rocks which serve as a constant danger to jumpers. An ambulance cannot make it down the unpaved road to Blue Hole, and there is no spot for emergency helicopters to land. If you ever decide to pay a visit to Blue Hole, I am warning you now not to jump off the bridge, no matter how tempting it is.
On most hot summer days, this place is packed with people swimming, jumping off rocks, tanning and drinking cheap beer. Even the people you would never expect to be the outdoor type can be found having a great time at Blue Hole. Though it has a tendency to have a Spring Break feel, it's a great spot to enjoy some beautiful wilderness and make some new friends at the same time. If you want to enjoy some more quality time with nature, there are many paths which lead you away from the popular hole to quieter spots along the Big Sandy.
Unfortunately, because Blue Hole becomes a constant beach party during the summer, it attracts a lot of intoxicated college students who do not have respect for its beauty. The sand and water are ruthlessly littered. It is not uncommon to find giant piles of beer cans along the beach, or find trash floating in the water.
Despite the litter, and the dangers of bridge jumping, Blue Hole is undeniably one of West Virginia's most incredible hidden treasures. The vibe there is indescribable. It holds a charm that I am convinced is unique to this state. If you are ever in the Morgantown area, ask a local about Blue Hole. It is not a place you want to pass by.
Photo Credit: letsgocliffjumping.com
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