Whiteley Hole
August 8, 2004

Cliff and I took another shot at exploring a new Buffalo River swimming hole only to be met with cooler-than-average temperatures for the third time this summer.
First we drove up and over to Steel Creek campground so I could get a picture of some bluffs for my previous journal page. (That journal talks about Gar Hole Bluff across from Camp Orr Boy Scout camp, but the road across from those bluffs is closed to the public.) While I took pictures of Roark Bluff, Cliff pulled up a tall cane plant from a nearby patch and proceeded to strip off all the leaves to make a fishing pole.
Then we were off to our real destination, Whiteley Hole, which we read about in Glenn Wheeler's new Swimming Holes of the Ozarks.
Near the parking area were several old structures, including a root cellar almost hidden by the foliage, a rock foundation and fireplace, a barn, and a small roofed shelter with open walls.
We hopped over a wooden gate and walked about 300 yards through a field to the swimming hole. I was especially pleased to recognize immediately that this was a location pictured in Neil Compton's book, The Buffalo River in Black and White. I was hoping to someday find this spot. I made a point to try to find the exact place where Dr. Compton stood to take his picture some thirty years ago.
Cliff walked around in the water but never got out in the deep parts. He said it was too cold to swim. Somebody had been at the adjacent primitive campsite before us, and though they'd doused their campfire with water, Cliff managed to find some hot coals. Being a fire bug like his dad, he managed to get a fire going. That kept him warm and occupied while I went around shooting pictures.
The photos on this page show the transition from dull gray skies when we first arrived, to colorful partly cloudy at sunset when we walked back across the field on our way out.
Back at the truck we ate sandwiches and chips while waiting for the fireflies to hopefully come out (there had been a lot last weekend). Cliff caught a few and put in a plastic bowl, but it was slim pickings so he let them go.