|Jonah Hole Report|
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[For private use only, not for re-publication in any mass media. Copyright 2005 by El Dorado Hot Springs. No part of this report may be reproduced in a public forum or printed in multiple copies without the express permission of Camilla Van Sickle & Bill Pennington.]
From the exit on The Blue Ridge just South of Mile Marker 312, between Linville and Linville Falls, go south on SR 181 for 5.9 miles. As the road twists steeply downhill, Upper Creek Falls parking lot is on the left. Take the trail on the left side of the lot to the creek; go across into the woods (mostly rhodos), then take a quick left uphill/upstream. The first pool after climbing a small hill is Jonah. Upstream of there, you're in PARADISE!
2005. (From Bar-S Ranch) Every once in a while, we find a special treat which really makes us smile, sorry to leave the place, hoping we can go back soon, and HAPPY to be compuNuding! Places like Jonah Hole make us want to call out in exultation of the JOYS! of being a Naturist! And we did! Bill does a whoop which we call, "The Cry of The Wild Pollock"; Tarzan(ski) would be proud! It's hard to describe, except to say it tends to be earsplitting, possibly approaching 95db(a) at distances of less than 10 paces. He does it exclusively when we're nude, usually when he's feeling happy about a given place and it's rolled over many a rock and rill, from North Vermont to South Florida to Southern California, as at Jonah Hole. Incidentally, Camilla says, "If you've never heard it, you're not missing anything. If you do hear it, I advise covering your ears!"
Officially known as Upper Creek Falls, Jonah Hole was named after a large rock formation which, if one uses enough imagination, does resemble a whale, complete with an eye, and is about that size. From nude locals, one a fifteen year veteran of Jonah, we learned that Jonah Hole is the name of that swimming hole on Steele Creek next to the whale rock formation. Local legend has it that the pool is 1,800 deep; using a sounding line, we gauge it at nineteen feet during a time of high water. There's a small rock slide above Jonah, but we're sad not to recommend clothes free use on weekends because a swath has been cut through the vegetation and there's a clear view of Jonah Hole from the trail. There's little doubt in our minds it would be fine on weekdays. Above that slide is where Naturists' Heaven begins. What we found at Jonah Hole was truly one of Dame Nature's finest creations--pool after pool and a seemingly endless series of small falls, grottoes, and glacial potholes which we call "Cold Tubs." The water was quite bearable of a warm May day, even though there had been heavy rains a few days earlier. Those preferring the company of the same sex [men] gather in the far upper reaches along a fairly flat series of small pools. Astutely observing, we concluded behavior by all groups in the gorge is responsible most of the time. Our friend reports an occasional bushwhacker; he yells at it or throws small stones and they always flee, since they feel inherently guilty about what they're doing in the first place. Naturists must remember two things: 1. PUBLIC SEX AT NUDE AREAS WILL LEAD TO CLOSURE FASTER THAN ANYTHING ELSE!!! 2. Peer pressure is the strongest influence of all in our lives = if you are at a free beach and see any number of people engaged in sexual activity, SPEAK UP FOR STANDARDS. Yell at them, exhorting them to cease and desist. They will, if you make your position firm; don't back off. They will. We know because we've done it quite a few times.
The creek has rock walls of varying height and steepness and atop those walls exist a veritable jungle of rhododendrons, a beauty to behold at any time of year. But, O what a feeling, if we could only have been there in June when the rhodos were blooming! That would have to be one of the most breathtaking sights in the world! The next flat area up from Jonah Slide has a small pool and excellent alignment to the sun at any time of day near The Equinox. That's one of the neat things about winding brooks like this--moving only a few yards will keep one in the sun when desired.
The fifteen year veteran reports that weekend visits by rangers occur VERY rarely, there's been no ticketing he's ever heard of, and once in a while rangers have asked people to put clothes on, an acceptable situation in a bible belt state. During the week, he reports he's never seen a ranger there in 1.5 decades and above Jonah Hole the people he's encountered have exclusively been free of cloth. That was also true the fine weather Sunday we visited, except that our new friend put on a g string when he saw us coming, then realizing we were rock hopping in a natural state, he smiled and put the little triangle aside.
It was interesting to learn that rangers consider a tiny g string to be adequate covering for the lower "sexual parts". We'd never consider it, by the way; if we can't enjoy total commune with Nature, we stay clothed and find another place. It's rare we have to go more than a few miles down the road; see 071NUDE.CRE --doing a bit of exploring usually quickly pays off. For instance only a few minutes down the Blue Ridge Parkway from Jonah Hole, we saw at least three good sized streams careering down the mountain as they crossed beneath the highway. Parking was at either end of the bridges; we're absolutely certain there'd be sunning areas available, possibly a pool large enough to cool off in, and quite probably a nice waterfall to climb or at least behold.
At the bottom of the trail to Jonah Hole, there's the highest rock face we've EVER seen that has a medium sized brook flowing down it. From the top, one is afforded a wonderful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We estimate the height to be in excess of 200 feet and it's a sight to behold. Both avid waterfall climbers we, we DO NOT RECOMMEND trying to climb up or down that one unaided by ropes--it's that steep and smooth. Where the water is flowing, it's very slippery, of course. At the bottom, there's a water slide; again, the acute steepness of the rock face requires a high degree of caution if one wishes to avoid injury. At the top or bottom of the rock face, enjoying the absolutely gorgeous scenery free of cloth would probably be quite alright most weekdays. Beginning one mile from the bottom, nudity is alright at anytime and there are more small pools, though nothing as large as from the top of the rock face upstream.
Just a short hop off The Blue Ridge Parkway, Jonah Hole on Upper Creek Falls is a geological wonder well worth visiting. And, "No.", no matter what the locals tell you, it's NOT 1,800 feet deep!
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