The side of Expedition Island in Green River, WY I did swim on.
The side of Expedition Island in Green River, WY that I did not swim on.
Bring something flavored to drink. You might appreciate a drink at the1 mile turnaround point, mostly to get the salty taste out of your mouth.
—Gordon Gridley's Tip #2 to me on swimming in the Great Salt Lake
Lube up really good with your preferred anti-chaffing grease. The GSL tends to chafe any trouble spots more than normal.
—Gordon Gridley’s Tip #1 to me on swimming in the Great Salt Lake.
Perpetual Swimming Machine. Green River, WY. June 18, 2012
Me not really wanting to swim in such shallow and cold waters. I did it anyway.
Date: Sunday, June 17, 2012
Conditions: Sunny with a chilly breeze. Estimated air temp: ~78°? Water temp: COLD, estimated lower 60s, visibility, ~4 feet, shallow with water plants up to my face.
Crew: Jill and Aurora on shore.
Route: Across the lake and back
Observations: Echo Lake sits at an altitude of 10,000 feet above sea level. Things feel different up that high. The air is thinner. The water is colder.
This tiny lake (24 acres) formed after some glaciers retreated around 10,000 years ago. Aurora assured me that people swim in it later in the summer, after it has had a chance to warm up, but she was afraid it might be too chilly to take a dip without a wetsuit. I decided to go skins anyway, feeling tough from my brisk swim in Cayuga Lake the day before.
But oh my, was it cold! Echo Lake had the added challenge of being extremely shallow. Like, so shallow that there was no way to do the crawl stroke without becoming completely insnared by water plants. Breast stroke, best stroke, then. This was actually great for a few reasons: I got more oxygen than I would have with the crawl. I never had to completely submerge my head in the icy waters. And I could sweep the plants out of my face as I moved forward.
This was a short swim on account of my starting to feel really warm after about four minutes in the water. And not warm in a good way, the way you feel when you’re working out your muscles. Warm in a way that something might be going wrong in cold water. So I turned around and came back to shore. Eight minutes total of cold water swimming. But it was worth it. The scenery was beautiful, and the waters were unique.
On shore, I stood in the sun to warm up. As I was regaining feeling in my extremities, something odd happened. I felt my core become cold. I was being chilled from the inside out. In the water, my blood had stayed close to my vital organs, leaving my limbs to fend for themselves, but when it became apparent that I would eventually warm up, all that blood made its way out. Odd feeling. Awesome feeling.
Thanks Aurora for suggesting this crazy swim!