The canoe drifted quietly and smoothly over the riffle and into the pool below.

It was early morning, the kind of day in May when the warmth of the sun and the brightness of the landscape made one glad to be out in the open. Abundant spring rains had brought their freshness to the waters of Salt Creek, lifting the stream out of its icy winter stillness.

My friend and I had hoped that a float trip on this familiar stream might impart to us this same kind of refreshment from the long days of winter that lay behind us. Fishing, of course, would be our excuse for this particular journey, having used this same reasoning many times in the past.

Our effortless drift soon gave way to a familiar paddling routine, which we knew would send us more rapidly along the route we had planned. It had been a while since we had floated this stretch of the creek, and knowing how the seasons can bring change to the features of a stream, I eagerly anticipated the journey ahead.

Then, suddenly, I realized we were in the vicinity of two landmarks that were very near and dear to my heart as a young lad growing up in the town of Nashville: Two Beaches and High Roots.

It is strange how little it takes to divert one’s attention, how a small patch of brown foam can even transport one back in memory some 50 or 60 years. But now that the diversion has been made, let us halt our journey in the present, and experience once again the joys that Salt Creek afforded us in our younger days.

Two Beaches and High Roots — strange names indeed, and you probably never heard of them. But for us who were growing up in Nashville in the late ’20s and ’30s, the trees on the banks of Salt Creek that led to the coinage of these names might very well be enshrined in the Arboreal Hall of Fame, or whatever they have for famous trees. For these were the sentinels — magnificent foliage in the one case and the large exposed roots high on the bank on the other, that hovered over two of the best known swimming and fishing spots in Salt Creek.

The creek being relatively clean and unpolluted was especially kind to us in those days — except in the spring when the floods came and made the water dangerous. Usually by the time it was warm enough to swim, the creek had settled into a state of warm welcome to us kids.

We liked these two spots with the strange names because they were convenient for us who lived in town. There were no swimming pools in the county. For diving there was the high clay bank we could dive from or slide down. There was something about the cool creek water in the natural setting that made the swimming enjoyable and wonderful childhood memories.

Many children of today are busy, indoors, with their electronics, be it the computer, computer games or telephones.

We here at the Brown County History Center and Pioneer Village are planning some special hands-on activities for children ages 8 to 12. Watch our Facebook page, our historical society website and this space for more details.

— Brown County Historical Society