I am going to dive into a topic here that tells my age. When I was a kid, we didn’t have air conditioning. I grew up in the 60s and 70s in the Upstate of South Carolina. Times were different then, but we had some sweltering days. To cool off on a hot summer day, we did what all country kids did back then; we went to the creek. I can remember playing in the waters of our shallow creek, wishing it was a deep swimming pool. We always wanted a swimming pool so bad that we once tried to make one. Needless to say, our plan was not well thought out and could have never worked. As a child, we quickly learned there is no way to make a pool out of holy plastic and a few pieces of lumber. One particularly hot sticky summer, even my dad, who was always too busy to notice, sympathized. He decided to use his tractor and make a small dam in the creek so we would have a natural swimming hole.
We went from splashing in four inches of spring water to swimming around in about two feet of luxury. We were in heaven! We even tied a rope to a branch over the swimming hole and would swing out and plop in. Every day for a few weeks during that hot, dry summer, we took off to the swimming hole as soon as the sun reached high enough. We played for hours and were not even worried about snakes or other critters that might join us.
Everything was going great until we had one of those kinds of storms in the summer that made you pray hard! It might have been the one where we had two inches of hail, and our TV blew out. We had some bad storms back then. When we checked the swimming hole afterward, the dam had been washed over and was gone. Our lovely deep water was gone! I remember grieving that swimming hole! All that was left was that rope tied to a tree. For weeks afterward, we worked on damming it up again without the tractor, but it was never the same. Every once and a while, I take my chair down to the river and sit in the water. It reminds me of the times we had as kids on the creek. That creek provided so much fun, entertainment, and some great memories.
There are many rivers and creeks that run through the Upstate, where you can take the family for some outdoor fun. One I suggest is Nine Times Preserve in Northern Pickens County. You will find a beautiful mountain creek. Pack plenty of bug spray, water for drinking, and snacks, and make a day of it. In this area, you can hike, explore wildflowers and wildlife, and there is a nice little creek. Nine Times is about 30 minutes from Greenville and maybe 40 minutes from Anderson, so it isn’t too far.
Check out the websites below for more information. Also, there are plenty of other places to explore for natural fun on the website for SC trails. A Google image search will also show you many pictures of the area. Enjoy your explorations, and whatever you do, stay cool!