Les Filles Américaines Nage Tous Les Jours

georgedemeouge

A very good song to sing when you are dipping your toes for the very first time into the surprisingly warm bright turqouise waters of a clue in the Hautes Alpes Maritimes or when you’re doing the run-in-a-figure-8-high-five-then-book-it-into-the-freezing-ocean that we first perfected on the beaches of Maine (but is equally as necessary in the chilly waters of Bretagne) or when you’re in a valley of waterfalls flowing under an old Roman Bridge or diving into a saltwater pool above Cannes or crossing a river of blooming flowers to get to an Ophelia cave… a good little chant to do with your ladyloves is this: Les Filles Américaines Nage Tous Les Jours. Sometimes chanted to the tune of Citizen Cope, sometimes spoken lustily in the style of Serge Gainsbourg, this is our mantra: The American Girls Swim Every Day. An ode to our friend, Daniel Start, who wrote the best book, Wild Swimming, that dictated our route every morning, our map annotated with places to swim and to sleep, the resting locales of ancient megalithes anointed with red wine and confirmed with a finger trace.

francemap

Les Filles Américaines Nage Tous Les Jours. When your agenda is only dictated by whether or not you have time to go to the farther swimming spot or not before it gets dark (at 11pm) to get to the bar on the ancient stone square in time before it stops serving its savory crepes filled with caramelized onions and topped with an egg (at 10pm) and you need to set up your tent while there is still a shred of light (12am), then that is a day dictated by the good and pure impulses of the world indeed and you thank your lucky stars that you’ve chosen to live by the mantra (Nage Tous Les Jours) and that you’ve surrounded yourself with those of like mind (Les Filles Américaines) who are on your same page, who are most happy when wet bathing suits and plateaus full of ripe peaches and tin cups full of vin rouge festoon the backseat on the way to adventure. Les Filles Américaines Nage Tous Les Jours.

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many of these photos are from Mlle. AMR and Mlle. McKay, immortalized here.

Officially the End

This Saturday, after knocking about the flea for a hot second and trying our hands at brunch, we decided we needed to get out. The city felt like it had a lid on it, and we needed to break away. We headed out to Rockaway, the world opening up for us, turning from grey and stifling still to open and cool the farther we got down Flatbush avenue. It was sweatshirt weather, jeans rolled up, swimsuits stuck into our bags as afterthoughts, hopeful necessities included by our road trip habit (swim every day, just in case). We headed to Fort Tilden, drove by the abandoned barracks and strange decaying outbuildings, and crested the dune to find the beach deserted, the sun slinking sideways, the wind whipping the sand low along in that autumn way that is at once beautiful and a little lonely. After a summer of sun, the water was warm, much warmer than the air, and we decided to go for it. Slipped our sandy feet through our skinny jeans, shimmied into our suits piecemeal, shucked our work shirts and infinite necklaces and went for the double-figure-8-high-five-run-in (if you’ve never done this it’s the best way to get into a chill ocean: start back to back, run half of a figure 8 back to your starting point, meet in the middle and high five, run the other half of the figure 8, meet, high five, and then sprint into the ocean). It was perfect. The air cool, the water warm, the wind blowing rainbow spray back from the ocean crests, the wheeling gulls, the JFK 747’s coming in every 10 minutes.

Getting out, goosebumps and shivers, heartbeats and the golden sun. When we got back home, the sun had gone down, the temperature dropped to 40 degrees. Just like that, it was over. We had gotten the last possible swim of the season, the end of Indian Summer, the start of whiskey weather. But we still had the feeling of wind in our hair and salt on our skin. Perfection.

Swim. Every. Day.

Swim. Every. Day. That is the motto of any good road tripper (well, one of many mottoes: “always say ‘yes'”, “nothing to undo”, “another round”). Swimming every day is easy to do if, say, you’re cruising up the coast, heading to the Hollywood Roosevelt pool, or are in familiar home territories where you know all the good places to take a dip. If you find yourself out of your element, though, and don’t know where to dive in, you can rely on this: SwimmingHoles.Org

Essentially, it’s a state-by-state, locals-populated-crowdsource-confirmed map and guide of swimming holes, jumping rocks, and hot springs across the US and Canada. Simple. Brilliant. Each swimming site comes with a detailed dossier with all the pertinent information: directions, coordinates, photos, googlemaps, whether it’s an officially sanctioned spot (or not), and whether or not you need to wear a suit.

For example, here’s the skinny on the swimming hole Miss Lucy is diving into in the picture above:

Otter Falls

In amongst rare Catskills virgin forest of Hemlock, Otter Falls cascades down about 30 feet to a large deep bowl that measures about 20-30 feet in diameter with a depth of about 6-8 feet at its center. Go about 6.6 miles down rte 47 to a telephone pole with mile post #167 1/2 on it. The trail is short. It may take a few passes to find but eventually, the cascade and pool is very very easy to find.

Sanction: Unofficial
Phone: Unknown
Bathing Suits: Customary

Essentially evidence that the internet is a force for good, we use it every time we’re on the road, and hope you will too (and yes, there’s an app). Swim. Every. Day.

Thanks to Miss McKay for her excellent holga shots of swimming locations we found using swimmingholes.org., first picture, up top, Cougar Springs, Oregon and these two are of the Navarro River, near Mendocino California (that’s Molly Motown below and me jumping off the rock!).