This past weekend was a first for me…It was the first time I had ever gone to the Blakely Dam on Lake Hamilton. My mom, who is a native of Hot Springs, has always told me stories about the Blakely Dam, saying things like “My friends and I used to dare each other to jump in the cold water.” Well, a few days ago I found out exactly what she was talking about.

Some good friends of our family came down to the Spa City to visit us recently, and even brought their boats so we could all go out on beautiful Lake Hamilton together. My girlfriend and I were excited about getting to go out on the lake and were anxious to jump in the water! That is however, until we jumped in the lake by our house and realized that the temperature of the lake was warmer than bath water. Yeah, not exactly what you would call refreshing on a hot summer’s day with the temperature ranging in the mid 90’s. So, anyway, we swam around for a little while, constantly diving to the bottom to try to get a little cooler, until it was time to get in the boats and head toward the Blakely Dam.

The water was pretty choppy that day because it was the weekend, and during the weekend there are more boats on the water, the more boats there are on the water, the more choppy it becomes. But luckily, as we rode the watery rollercoaster towards the dam, the number of boats started to thin out. And, by the time we were about 5 min away from the dam, there were only a couple of boats within our sight, which meant the lake regained its smooth covering once again.

 Now, we come to the part in the story where you could cue in the scary music to start to play. As I looked ahead toward our quickly approaching destination, skinny tendrils of fog began to creep up and around our boat! And, before I knew it, we were plunging bow first into a fog the likes of which I have never seen! Our visibility must have been around 5 feet or so, because we couldn’t even make out the boat we were following. With the horn repeatedly blowing to warn other boats of our location, we made our way slowly through the foggy haze and into a little break in the fog.

After everyone in our group found each other, we all cut the engines and took in our surroundings. With fog rising up against the steep-sided banks and gnarled trees twisting out to touch the water, it really did look like a scene from a scary movie! At this point, everyone was already getting cooled off by the fog and we hadn’t even put a toe to the water yet. Needless to say, I reached down and felt the water with my hand…and was surprised to find that it didn’t come out with icicles covering it! It was by far the coldest water I have ever felt, and growing up splashing around in the Spring river, that’s saying a lot. Well, of course we all had to “man-up” and jump in, and all I can say is, wow. I felt like I was in Alaskan waters!

To summarize my experience when I was at Blakely Dam, I felt like I was in another world. It seemed crazy to me that this was the same lake that I had just swam in a moment ago, and I was complaining because the water was too warm! I would highly recommend going to the Blakely Dam to anyone and everyone! If you are a visitor or native to Hot Springs and you haven’t been to the Blakely Dam, you need get on a boat and experience it for yourself. It is quite the adventure, and if you think you are “man” enough, dive right in…