For the past 3 years, I have been asking friends about their favorite swimming holes, places they like to cool off in during the hottest months of the year. I was told about one here or there, but the most common answer was "Goshen Ocean". I figured it was a huge lake that you couldn't see across and wasn't sure why I hadn't come across it yet.
Well, this summer, I finally decided to check out this ocean in Goshen while my 14 year old nephew, Dustin, was visiting. He loves to fish and I just purchased 2 kayaks for us to go out in, so I thought we'd go find it.
I looked online and was told to park near a cemetery, because there is easier access for kayaks there. When we got there, we noticed multiple signs saying, "Parking for Cemetery only", which I ignored to my own detriment. Word to the wise - Obey the parking signs and don't park near the cemetery unless you want to pay $25 in fines. Use the main entrance! It was just as easy to bring the kayaks down to the lake that way.
So what did we see when we got to his "ocean"? It was a medium sized lake with the clearest water we've seen around here. The lake was made when a dam was created, but it looks very natural. Mt. Sunapee rises in the background, there is a 3-mile forested loop trail around the lake, and a few nice sandy beach-like areas. Though no lifeguards, so it is swim at your own risk.
Once on the water, I saw a family of loons. The parents were fishing and bringing food to their chick. Near the back of the lake, there is a sign that designates the marshy area as loon nesting habitat. In the shallows, I noticed tree trunks, signs that this area was once forest before it was flooded with water when the dam was constructed.
I was delighted to find a puddle (group) of about 10 tiger swallowtails on a wet, sandy area drinking up water and salts. There are many wildflowers in bloom around the dam that made me wonder what type of butterflies I might find here. I made a mental note to come back in the heat of the day when more species would be out and about.
In many areas, the water depth increases quickly and becomes black as night. Dustin put a weight on his fishing line and dropped it to the bottom. He informed me it was around 40 feet deep in that spot. And then proceeded to catch a large mouthed bass on his next cast!
Could the depth be the reason it is called an ocean by locals? I'm not sure, but I am sure that this is a great place to fish, hike, trail run, swim, kayak, walk a dog, observe butterflies or just sit and relax. I'll be headed back again soon to explore some more. Maybe I'll see you there!