Bull Sluice. Night time, with at-least-mostly-full moon.
Approaching the river, the roar is deafening. Raising your voice to converse with your companions, or — better yet — drown in sound of crashing water.
The water gleams in a contrast of black and white, where the ripples don’t glimmer bright white like in sunlight, but pale silver in the dim moonlight. Unearthly.
Stripping down for swimming, the dark provides only minimal privacy, with the moonlight (or headlights) stealing any semblance of night time away. But there’s an unstated respect among fellow dippers — something to do with the magic of the place at night.
Going without glasses makes it all blurry, giving it an even more ethereal sense, and you have to feel your way around rocks and cracks and crevices to make your way to the water. Dark blurs into light, making the whole river and the people and the trees all one continuous shape made of dark and light amorphous blobs.
The water’s cool, and unknown objects brush against your legs — fish, trees, rocks, other legs…who knows. The current pulls at you in all different directions. Swimming across the current is more a test of your feeling for water than your knowledge of the area. And then jumping off the rock, five feet down until you hit water, another ten feet down with the current, brushing smooth rocks and little pebbles at the bottom, with hair and limbs in all different directions.
And then sitting on the rocks to dry off. Finding your glasses to look at the stars while the chill of water not really evaporating but sitting and running and pooling, cooling the skin, makes little bumps raise all over. Just sit in silence and appreciate the awe and power and beauty of rushing water. Night time. Moon light. Friends.