This summer we took the kids to the Barton Springs Pool in Austin. I think it was probably the most memorable swimming experience of the summer.
Well, because the pool isn't really a pool at all. And yet it is. I'll explain in a minute.
First, we found Barton Creek.
There was a wall of warning signs by the side of the creek. Things like no swimming, no wading, no alcohol, no smoking, no glass bottles, pets must be on leash, no nudity, no fun, etc.
And yet. There were hundreds of people and pets, some completely naked, some with cigarettes, some with alcohol, most breaking at least two rules, and many breaking more, canoeing and swimming and having a fun time in the creek. And no one seemed to mind. In fact, we even parked in a parking lot that was "closed" for repairs, but someone had torn down the orange plastic fence at the entrance and there were about a hundred cars parked there. No one was going to be repaving that lot in the middle of summer when people wanted to park there to have a good time.
Austin is weird y'all.
Anyways, after waking by the creek for a while, we found the pool. What we found was a chain link fence that crossed the creek and defined the boundary between the "pool" and the river.
It took us a few minutes, but we moved the car to the pool parking lot and paid to get into the pool (I know, we could have just gone swimming for free in the creek like everyone else). When we paid the guy at the gate, we asked if the pool was just the river, and he said no. But it is!
Barton Springs is a 68 degree clear spring, and that's pretty cold when the air temperature is still 90 + (even after the sun has set), so I dipped a toe in and decided it wasn't for me. But Kevin and the kids got in.
Parts of the bank of the "pool" have been paved, and some is still natural rock formations.
There are tons of lifeguard towers, and even a diving board, but it's really just the river. That's been turned into a pool. There are tons of signs everywhere about some endangered salamander that lives in the area, so while you are swimming, you are supposed to be careful not to disturb the salamanders. The bottom of the pool is rock and sand.
But it was the most fun night swimming experience of the summer. And I'm glad we went. I know that we won't be forgetting it anytime soon.