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Similar to the very successful Guide to Hiking, which is basically a local trail guide, we could use a guide to open waters near Williams -- a guide to good places for swimming, tubing, kayaking, ice fishing, and anything else that has been done or attempted. Please help out with what you know or have heard of!
The Green River
This is the closest body of water to the main part of campus, and probably the most used by students for recreation. Most polar bear swims take place here, as well as most spontaneous swimming trips. The river's close location to the Odd Quad makes it a favorite destination for residents there, especially on hot summer and spring afternoons, and for an organized or unorganized night swim. The river here has shallow and deep parts for all levels of swim ability, as well as a small beach for "It's too freaking cold but I'll watch you" friends. A rope hung from the opposite bank makes a suitable swing for diving on high water days. Locals have been witnessed to fish in parts of the river downstream of the more used bend by the playground.
There is also a less known accessway to a different, somewhat secluded part of the river, located a ways downstream of the well known part by the playground. It is accessed by passing through a man-sized hole in a stone wall between a corner of the cemetery and the river. This part of the river is too shallow for swimming most days, but is probably excellent for making out.
Getting to the Green River Directions to the part most used for watersports, by the playground.
- By car. Travel east on Route 2 until you get to Water Street. Make your first left past the firehouse, over a short bridge. You'll see the playground; park just past it.
- By foot from the Odd Quad. Walk behind Fitch, past Spencer Art Studio and down the driveway behind it, to Water Street. Cross Water Street; the river is ahead of you. Turn right and walk to a short bridge over the water.
- By foot from the Odd Quad, take 2: The Shortcut. Walk down the path on the steep hill behind Driscoll. At the base of the hill, turn left and walk between the two faculty art studio buildings to the left of the energy plant. Go down the stairs (you have entered the B&G Zone!), and proceed crosswise over the large gravel lot toward Water Street. The entrance to Linear Park (the aforementioned bridge) is directly across the street.
- At the playground. Look for many well worn dirt trails leading through the trees, down a steep slope to the river. The most popular area is accessed by the trail near the stone barbecue grill.
Getting to the Green River Directions to the secluded part, by the cemetery.
- From the playground. Instead of taking a dirt trail down to the river here, walk away from Water Street, past the playground parking lot, and follow a badly paved and dirt road that leads into the back of the cemetery. Walk through the cemetery, keeping the forested area that lines the river on your left. After making a huge U, roughly three-quarters of a huge circle, you should come to a grassy area next to some Staghorn Sumacs and a stone wall. There will be a somewhat hidden beaten path to the stone wall. It leads to a doorlike hole in the wall, through which lies the promised waters.
The Hopper Swimming Hole
Hoosic & Green River Juncture
This is a lovely spot for swimming, tubing, or sitting and reflecting. It is within walking distance of campus.
Head east on Route 2, for about a block or two beyond Cole Ave. You'll see a strange power station (small brick building, lots of power lines) on your left. Walk behind it. You will see a narrow footpath heading back into the underbrush. Follow it, and you'll find yourself walking on a beautiful nature path along the Green River.
A particularly nice place to stop is about 1/2 or 3/4 mile along the path. You'll see a concrete block with a pipe sticking out of it on your right. Go behind it, and walk down a few steps to the riverbank. This is where the Green and Hoosic Rivers merge. The Green River is very shallow at this point, but where the rivers merge it gets quite deep and good for swimming. There is enough of a current to float in a tube when the water is high, but it's not dangerous at all. There is a pebbled "beach" to hang out on as well.
When you're done enjoying yourself, continue following the path in the same direction, and you will end up on a street just behind the Spirit Shoppe.
Note: this path is also a very nice place to go running.
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