|Rock River Gorge Report|
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Trip Report - Rock River Gorge, Vermont
[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 Brattleboro, Vermont, go north on Rt. 30 for almost 8 mi. to Rock River Rd. marked also with a sign reading, "To Williamsville". Here Rock River flows in from the left, under Rt. 30, to join the West River, which Rt. 30 follows up from Brat, as that town is locally called. Park down off on the right in the flat area just before Rt. 30 crosses Rock River. There's a nice pool at the confluence of the rivers that's a bit too public for natural use on weekends, though we've used it for a quick cooling off skinnydip many times in mid week.
Cross Rt. 30 and walk up Rock River Road for 0.3 mi. to the concrete barricades on the right, and follow any trail down; all end at #1 pool. Pools #2, 3, and 4 are varying distances to the left, upriver. Reaching pool #2 requires descending an easy rock face and crossing the river to the sandy beach. This is best done at the downstream end of the pool on the makeshift rock dam.
Others, including us, find the walk much more pleasant by walking up the riverbed from Rt. 30, directly to the pools, instead of up Rock River Rd., then down into the gorge again. Upon leaving, it's a far less strenuous hike. The riverbed is neutral ground. Respect posted property on the banks. Please help keep this a Zero Litter Area.
Rock River Gorge in the Williamsville hamlet of the town of Newfane, The Green Mountain State, is one beautiful place--the crystal clear potable waters of the Rock River have taken millennia to carve out a series of 4 pools, each used by a distinctive interest group in harmony with Dame Nature because each pool is separated by a distance of more than 200 yds, as well as several feet in elevation, making each invisible from any others. In past years, the lowest pool (and the biggest, best one) was used by clothes-mindeds and sometimes by rowdy, beer bottle breakers. This has changed considerably--see below.
The 2nd pool, almost as idyllic as #1 pool, was used by families and by singles and couples of various gender preference; all chose clothes freedom in a totally non sexual atmosphere. Many a fine day was seen by many at the long sandy beach, the one with the best alignment to the sun of all. Pools #3 & 4, farthest upstream, were the exclusive domain of a fair number of women and a greater of number men who prefer the company of the same sex, all of whom also chose the healthy option of being sunclad.
First the bad news: The town of Newfane never had been hesitant to have cars that were parked anywhere but in the fairly small lot atop the gorge towed away, but the area, listed in the 1st 2 editions of WG was thought to be secure for nude use. Then, in 1991, shortly before WG went to press, for reasons we don't yet know for sure, the town totally barricaded the parking area and sadly, Rock River couldn't be listed in WG '91.
Some Rock River regulars who prefer the company of the same gender told us that inappropriate sexual activity on the part of a few men who went there, but who weren't regulars, led to the closure. Others told us that it was because of drug dealing, which is possible, though we doubt it very much; drug dealers need customers, not enough of which they'd find at peaceful Rock River. We'll be contacting the Select Board of Newfane in person to find out the real reason.
Rock River was a very popular nude and clothed area for as far back as anyone can remember, both for tourists as well as several dozens of townsfolk, and many mourned its closing, highly resenting the arbitrary action on the part of the Select Board, saying that such an action should have been considered before a full town meeting. Some insisted that a special town meeting be called, solely to vote on the topic. The Select Board refused to authorize a special town meeting, saying it was too costly, and a petition drive to authorize it failed, mostly due to an incredibly mouthy, bible banging woman (summer) resident who knocked on every door in town, literally harassing residents not to sign the petition, local sources told us. It appeared that Rock River was lost, the only ray of hope being that some locals promised to gather enough signatures over the winter, when the bible-banger was gone, to have the question put on the ballot for the regular town meeting in '92.
NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS: A town resident owns a large tract of land along Rock River where it meets the West River on Rt. 30, only 0.5 mi. downstream from the #1 pool. Because of its proximity to the main highway, the property had been posted to prevent rowdy types from congregating and littering. Knowing how clean the nude area was always kept and seeing it was obvious that the Select Board wouldn't correct its stand, the land owner opened the land for parking to those who wanted to enjoy Rock River.
In the exact spot that had been posted since the early 80's (that we know of) cars now park where for years there had been none. And here's the BONUS--as some correctly predicted, the litter which had been on that property for years was gone, cleaned up by caring naturists. We also predict that a Bigger, Better Bonus is in store come ensuing years--because of present parking conditions, clothed use at #1 pool (remember, it's the biggest one) has dropped drastically, becoming non-existent during the week and very low, even on hot weekends. Guess what that means! It means that NUDE use of #1 pool has increased; let's hope that trend continues.
Compunuding this file from peaceful Sunny Sands Resort (015SunnySands) on a beautiful sun kissed day is really making us happy and making us wish we were back at Rock River, but not right now, thank you; we'll wait until summer. Reporting GOOD NEWS like this is one of the nicest parts of our nude research and we're happy to share it with you; if you haven't already done so, free thineself of (unhealthy) clothing and enjoy reading this. If it's not possible to do that, go to Rock River Gorge at your earliest opportunity and ENJOY! You'll find an extra treat just 2.5 miles farther north on Rt. 30, Rick's Diner, serving the BEST chili and pizza in the Green Mountain State.
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