It’s an oasis next to an expressway. A pool of paradise in the middle of Okolona. We’d been meaning to go to the Southside Rock Quarry for two summers now and at the tail end of this one we finally made it.
It was the perfect day for it, too. Sweltering hot, not a cloud in the sky. Allen and I, with our good friends, Chris and Lindsay, packed the car early. A cooler full of sandwiches and snacks, another full of beer, and 45 minutes
worth of blowing up rafts and beach balls. We arrived around 11.
Already, the place was hoppin’. There must have been 300+ barely clothed people all along the beach and in the water. About 50 feet from shore were floating docks of all different size. Anchored to quite a lot of them were masses of inner tubes, mostly filled with people partying there asses off.
Beyond them was just a huge expanse of water, boxed in on all side by tall walls of cut rock. There was even a little “cave” in the water that we really wanted to go explore in… And potentially sneak a doobie. We parked relatively close and I slathered myself in SPF 100. We loaded the rafts with cheap beer and very carefully loaded a Ziploc with cigarettes, a lighter, and a freshly rolled Garcia Vega. Then we headed down the rocky beach.
The edge of the water had a shiny film on it. We all agreed it was probably a mixture of suntan oil and alcohol, and leaped onto our rafts quickly. We half paddled, I mostly coasted past the majority of the crowd. Everyone was friendly. You couldn’t float in any direction without having to bump and slide past other people, but we all just laughed and had “Hey, how ya’ doin’s” with about everybody. There was a DJ playing great music. I heard plenty of current pop, hip hop, and rock, but also classic rock, old school rap, and some great 90’s music. Smashmouth and Salt N Pepa.
We finally got to the cave, the guys had rushed ahead of Lindsay and I, though and I could tell something wasn’t quite right. It was only about 30 feet deep, and a lot of garbage and gunk had been pushed into it. We said nope! and went farther along the rock wall until we found a decent spot. The rocks were perfectly perchable, but we decided to stay on the rafts and link our feet together. Mostly out of laziness.
We smoked and then allowed ourselves to float and chat and settle into comfortable periods of silence for a good hour. Until we ran out beer and realized we had the munchies. Then we paddled up to shore, snacked and took a few shots of Jaeger and Red Bull, and then headed back to the water, this time to jump off one of those docks. This was pretty much the rhythm of our entire day and it was seriously perfect.
We were at the Quarry for over 8 hours. It was an absolutely adventurous, exciting, relaxing, exhilarating, wonderful day. There are too many adjectives to even keep going. I was so worried that we would work this entire summer away and not have any really amazing days to look back on. This was that day, that experience, that we will always look back on when we remember the Summer of 2015.