This required a bit of sleuthing!
While searching the Internet last year for swimming hole tips, I came across this video on Flickr: link. Looked good to me! But there wasn’t much to go on…
According to user Chaz’s description, “This is back in 2004 at Clarkson University, Potsdam NY.” I figured that if the description was accurate, the water in the video would have to be the Raquette River. At one point in the video (~1:07), you can see a brick building in the background next to what appears to be a clear, straight edge to the water.
In other words: a dam. To Google maps!
There are a bunch of dams on the Raquette near Potsdam and over the last year and a half I’ve been biking and hiking to all of them. The Sugar Island Damseemed the most promising. It too had a building to the left of the actual dam. But a hike in with Otis on the Red Sandstone Trail proved otherwise. Up until the other day, none of nearby dams checked out. (I looked at the Grasse River too, but nothing really seemed to fit there either.) I gave up.
The other day, however, I had an impulse to watch the video again. This time, I noticed something new. Right at the beginning of the video, when the cameraman (Chaz?!) turns the camera on himself, the car drives past a recognizable house:
“I know where that is!” I thought to myself, “It’s on Route 56 between Hannawa Falls and Colton!” And so it was:
In the video, they’re headed north. But it looks like their hair is wet, so presumably they’d already been swimming. I figured that if that was the case, then the rope swing was much further upriver than I’d originally thought. (Not really in “Potsdam, NY” at all!) A bit more Google-maps-ing and I found a new lead: the Higley Falls Dam. Not only that, the building looked very similar to the one in the video!
So we drove out there the other day, ate a picnic lunch at Higley Flow State Park, and drove on over to the rope. Boom. Mystery solved!