Just after our Salish Sea swim I was sitting by Seton Lake near Lillooet, the battery on my iPod was dead and I had finished reading my book. With nothing to occupy me I found myself daydreaming and wondering how many lakes could I swim in one day. Five? Seven? Ten?
“Yeah OK. Ten is a nice number, let’s go for ten”
Living in the Okanagan we are surrounded by beautiful scenery and an abundance of lakes. So swimming my way along the Okanagan Valley seemed like a great place to attempt to swim ten lakes in one day. I knew there would be a fair amount of travel involved to take in ten swimmable lakes, I didn’t want to start driving off-road and too far off the beaten track so I planned a route that would keep us close to highway 97 and take in lakes along the length of the Okanagan Valley. I knew it would be a long day and thought it would be difficult to persuade Angelique to come along with me. I mentioned it a couple of times, I’m not sure if she took me seriously but when I mentioned that September 22nd may be our last chance to try it in 2012 she shrugged and said “OK”
I kept my plans quiet from almost everybody, including some of my closest friends. I invited Leora to join me but she came back saying “Hahaha. You’re too damned ambitious”.
OK. It looks like I’m swimming solo.
After a few changes the route was finalised and we were set to go. The first two lakes Shannon Lake and Rose Valley Lake were close to home in West Kelowna, I would swim these unsupported beginning at 6am in complete darkness.
I had checked out these swim locations earlier in the planning stage and was relying on the silhouettes of the mountains in the distance to sight off as did a two-way swim across Shannon Lake. Swimming in the dark is something that used to give me nightmares, but as I have now done several night-time swims this summer this is now something that holds no fear. It was a fairly uneventful swim as I headed towards the far side of the lake. As I reached the far side and turned to head back, the slightest bit of daylight was breaking and I could pick up the path of bubbles I had made on the way out. I used these to guide me back to the opposite shore.
Day break as I completed Shannon Lake
A quick change and a ten minute drive saw me parked up at the end of the trail leading up to Rose Valley Lake. There is no vehicle access to the lake so I rode in on my bike. By this time it was light, the water looked so peaceful, but not so inviting. Not the cleanest body of water I will ever swim in. I had pre planned my swim route to take me part way along the shore before crossing the lake to a rocky outcrop. From there I would retrace my path, again following my trail of bubbles. Two swims done before 7.30 and I was ready for breakfast.
Two down, eight to go and time for breakfast.
Wood Lake, Oyama would be my next target. Again, with a swim route already planned out I swam along the shore enjoying the clear water, avoiding the early morning water skiers while Angelique took pictures and enjoyed the early morning sunshine on the beach.
Three lakes down, seven to go and a quick two minute drive to Kaloya Regional Park on Kalamalka Lake.
While planning this swimming adventure I didn’t want to do mindless swims along the beaches. Kaloya Regional Park is on a peninsula that juts out into the southern end of Kalamalka Lake. My swim route here was the shortest of the day and took me around the peninsula.
Of course the day was the One Man (and his wife), Ten Lakes, One Day challenge
The swim legs were coming in fairly quick succession now as we headed a little further north up the highway to Swan Lake just outside Vernon. Earlier in the week I had contacted one of the campgrounds on the lake shore to ask if it would be a problem accessing the lake from their property. I had told the all about the challenge and that I was hoping to raise funds and awareness for the YMCA in the process. They promptly ignored my email. We arrived there to see signs posted banning public access to the beach so we went for plan B. There was a recreation site marked on the map, on the opposite shore. Nice place but no beach just a wall of bull rushes. Plan C the RV park at the southern end of the lake. This time we took no chances and cheekily drove right into a vacant campsite. I waded through the stinky, ankle-deep mud to get into the lake and complete the quickest swim of the day.
Five swims done by 12.15 and I was ready for lunch.
Coming soon: One Man, Ten Lakes, One Day swim challenge | Part two. Just Keep Going! and One Man, Ten Lakes, One Day. The movie