Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pennington Mine Pit

Kay kayaked for us this evening so Margie could swim with me. Thanks Kay! We swam in the Pennington Mine Pit, which was absolutely beautiful! Diving in, I could see the steep sides of the pit littered with fallen trees that quickly disappeared into a wonderful emerald green. Never having been in the pits before, I am now wondering why not? We felt like we were in a different world far, far away from everyday life.

Be sure to mark next Wednesday, August 8th on your calendars. Taco Johns will be sponsoring us - 20% of all profits will go towards our endeavor between 5:00 and 9:00 pm!!!

Tomorrow we will swim in the Huntington Mine Pit.

The first picture is Kay and Margie with #41!
The next is a shot of part of the beautiful lake.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Early morning!

We had a very early swim this morning! I arrived at the public access on Crooked lake at 5:35 am and Peter was already there!  He is a self - professed early morning person, which is evident from his cheery smiles and words of encouragement (Thanks Peter!). Now, if I could only convince him to swim with me!

The sky was starting to show some light when we took off, but it wasn't until we rounded a bend that we saw the beautiful sunrise. It was absolutely gorgeous! I kept lifting my head to see it rather than using good  technique (sorry Coach Hal!). A little way out, I noticed a fishing boat had joined us. It was a very nice couple (Marilyn and Roy) I know from the YMCA who have a cabin on Crooked Lake. It was great to have them along although I feel a little guilty because it was so early and they had a houseful of guests. To make things worse, it started raining sometime on the way back. They stuck with us until just before the landing, however, and I am sure they got soaked! Thank you for the support Marilyn and Roy, it is greatly appreciated!

The first picture is me swimming into the sunrise, the next Marilyn and Roy in their boat and the third is McGyver with Peter holding #40. As you can see in the first picture, I was obeying the Suggested Slow Speed sign, keeping my wake to a minimum. :)

Tomorrow I will be back in the pool and the tentative plan for Tuesday and Wednesday is to swim in  a couple of the mine pits (Pennington and Huntington). Our intention of this is to prepare (in a little cooler temperatures) for the open water competition that Margie and I will both be participating in next weekend. This will be a 2.1 mile swim from Bayfield, WI to Madeline Island. Fun - fun!

Friday, July 27, 2012


Another enjoyable swim! We weren't sure this one was going to happen with the weather system that moved through, but it was in and out quickly making for a beautiful evening. We swam from Janet's dock. Janet and my daughter, Stephanie, swam with us. Janet's two children, Jack and Brook, and her mom, Karen, were cheering us on from the dock. We enjoyed a nice swim out and then the competitiveness came out in my daughter - game on! :) We battled it out most of the way back. Hmm....where does that competitiveness in her come from?? I'd like to say I can still clean her clock with ease, but in reality she makes me work my tail off (and she was probably just being nice and slowing her pace to make me feel good!). All in all, it was very fun. Isn't it always when you share a passion with your kids?

After the swim, Steph, Jack and Brook took off to check out a rope swing that Jack has become an expert on. I saw the video of them - the climb up the tree looked almost as scary as the long sweep out over the lake and the high free fall into the water.
When they got back, we all enjoyed a wonderful meal that Janet had prepared for us. Thanks Janet, Karen, Jack and Brook for a very fun evening!!

Friday and Saturday we have off, but Sunday we will swim in Crooked Lake early in the morning. The Crosby boat races are this weekend at Serpent Lake and I want to make sure I am done swimming in time to cheer my kids on! Go Mike, Jeff, Nikki and Stephanie!

The first picture is the three of us on the way out.
The next shows us swimming under the tail end of the front that passed through.
The last is Janet, Margie, Jack, Stephanie, Brook and I after the friendly competition.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gull and Sylvan

Two more beautiful lakes and another fun day! Despite the rainy morning, the skies cleared and it became warm and sunny. We started on Gull from Kristi's very pretty home.  Laurie and Josh joined me in the water today and Kristi (on her water craft) helped out Margie keeping us safe. Thanks Kristi, Laurie and Josh! This made the swim all that much more fun. Gull was very calm in the bay we were at and no boat traffic at all (although we did see a snapping turtle off the end of her dock).

Next we headed over to Sylvan Lake. Here we were met by Paul and his three awesome kids who were fishing and playing in the water - I see open water swims in their future! :) This lake was very busy with boat traffic and the wind had pick up incredibly. Once again, Margie got a great workout paddling and I was having a blast being tossed and pushed around by the waves.

The first picture is Laurie swimming in Gull.
The next is Laurie, Josh and I hanging out at the half mile mark.
The third is Josh stroking back.
Next is Margie, Laurie, Kristi, McGyver, Josh and I on the dock after completing lake #37.
The last is Paul and I with his three kids, Taylor, Sam and Braden hiding behind #38.

Tomorrow we will swim in Sibley Lake near Pequot.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Silver Lake, no Bass

Good thing we are ahead on lakes - we only got one in today instead of the planned two. We started in Silver only by accident - unbeknownst to us, we missed the turn off for Bass Lake and followed the next Public Access sign which turned out to be Silver Lake. While the water was nice and warm and the day still beautiful, the lake was very weedy and very windy. I was in weeds the entire way across the lake. Some of the patches were pretty thick. I am getting a little tougher (or so I'd like to think!), but I still do not like swimming through weeds that are all over my face and wrapping themselves around my arms! Fortunately it wasn't that bad all the way, just in spots. The wind, however, was a force to be reckoned with. Margie got in an excellent upper body workout!! Did I mention what a good sport she is?!

After Silver, we found our way to Bass. Pulling into the access, we could see that it may be iffy. On closer inspection, we discovered we would have about a 50 yard wade through muck just to get to the lake (probably only because of the high waters this summer). Deciding to pass on this, we will try for two lakes tomorrow instead. Gull and Sylvan are the ones planned.

The picture below is of McGyver blowing in the wind at Silver.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Clearwater Lake

Today we headed over to Clearwater Presbyterian Forest Church Camp to swim in Clearwater Lake. Thanks Elise (Head Camp Director), Rick and your adorable girls - Elizabeth, Anna and Sophie and thanks also to my son, Mike (Waterfront Director), for a fun swim! Clearwater Forest is a beautiful camp with lots of land, water front and unique old stone buildings. The staff is awesome too! :) Definitely a great place to go to if you are looking for a good Christian setting for you or your children to attend camp. Checkout their website: http://www.clearwaterforest.org/ 

Clearwater Lake is just as the name implies - very clear! Margie kayaked as usual, Mike join us in his kayak and Rick joined us on a Hydro-bike. It's so great to have all this support and always fun to have some time with my son! As you can see from the pictures, it was another beautiful day for a swim.

Tomorrow I am off to Iowa for a family reunion and 95th birthday celebration for my Dad's cousin (whom, by the way, is still sharp as a tack and fit as a fiddle!). Monday we are slacking again on the swims and taking a turn at the soup kitchen. Tuesday, however, we will be back at it in Bass and Silver.

The first picture is Rick on the Hydro-bike, Elizabeth and Anna on the paddle board and Elise and Sophie on the other Hydro-bike.
The next picture is McGyver and Mike with #35 - officially 7/10 done!

Friday, July 20, 2012


We are closing in on $8500 in donations now! We are so overwhelmed by all your support.Thank you! Please keep the donations coming in - our big goal does not seem so far out of reach anymore!!

Two more beautiful lakes today. We started in West Twin and were greeted at the finish by Jill and her kids, Andrew and Rachel. They then led us over to Sojoblads on East Twin. Thanks guys and thanks for your support! Jill is the one who made the AWESOME map that is just inside the front doors of the YMCA! On East Twin we started from Sjoblad's dock and had lots of their family members and friends there. Thank you!

Everyone must have thought it was the perfect day to be out on the lakes (and it was!). There was quite a few fishing boats, kayaks, personal watercrafts and boats pulling wakeboarders and skiers on both lakes. This kept Margie entertained by waving at them (everyone has been so friendly!) and me entertained by rocking and rolling in the boat waves - very fun! With the extreme heat today, I actually felt warm on my back which was in the sun and cool on my front in the water . Half and half - interesting concept!

Clearwater Lake is the plan for tomorrow.

The first picture is Rachel, Jill, McGyver and Andrew.
The next is Sjoblads, two of their relatives, Margie and McGyver.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gilbert and Rice

Two more lakes down. The first today was Gilbert- thanks Meyers for the use of your dock! Today was the coldest we have had yet and very overcast. We went out into the wind, swam in an arc to get a half mile, then turned around and came back. Once on the dock, it was chilly being wet with the breeze, so I decided to put my wetsuit on for Rice Lake.

Rice was a lot more sheltered from the wind and the water felt warmer too, so maybe the wetsuit wasn't necessary - there is something to be said for being warm though. Karen, with Shirley kayaking, joined us on this lake - they had a head start however, and were almost finished when we began. Because of the iron content and my dark goggles, the water looked like cherry coke on my skin! This was another nice swim out, back and over a little ways to get the full mile in. Margie had to contend with the current, I however, did not even notice it - it helps that I have an awesome guide! Thanks Karen and Hank for your dock and for the shower afterward. I would have looked really attractive going to the Arboretum with an iron-algae "five-o'clock shadow"!

Tomorrow we are taking the day off - we are going to be at 50 lakes way ahead of schedule at this rate! Friday we will swim East Twin Lake and West Twin Lake.

The first picture is McGyver and I relaxing on Meyer's dock after the Gilbert Lake swim.
The next is Margie, McGyver and I on Karen and Hank's dock after the Rice Lake swim. I had intended to post a picture of Karen with us too, but my phone was set to video instead of camera. The video is really humorous listening to Hank's commentary!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Turtle and Partridge

Two more lakes down! Officially 3/5 of the way there - that is very hard to believe! I think this was the coolest day we have had, but the water is so warm this summer that it was not an issue.

The first lake was Turtle Lake. We put in at Camp Holiday - thanks Erickson's! Camp Holiday is a very nice and fun resort and campground nestled onto Turtle Lake. While the lake itself is not so big, we know it has big fish in it. There was a young guest who had caught a good sized one and was very proud of it! Today we swam in an "L" pattern to get the full mile in. Surprisingly enough, this is the first time that was necessary. With the cloudy skies and my dark goggles, the water appeared to be very dark - almost black. This lake is another loon nesting area and there were several swimming around. We kept our respectful distance from them.

Next was Partridge Lake. Between Camp Holiday and the public access for Partridge, we saw a deer with two fawns. They were young enough yet to still have their spots - so cute. Partridge is another small lake, but from the access over to the far side it was almost exactly 1/2 mile. Every now and then the sun would pop out and make everything sparkle. Both lakes were very nice and I never saw any weeds at all. Another fun day of swimming!

Margie was so worn out yesterday from Sunday that she fell asleep before dinner! I was still a little fatigued today, but definitely bouncing back. Maybe I should have fed Margie before she headed home just to be sure she got dinner tonight!

Tomorrow we are swimming Gilbert and Rice Lake.

The first picture is McGyver hanging out by Camp Holiday's sign - keep this place in mind when you want to get away for a while!
The next is McGyver by Partridge Lake.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Peter to the rescue!

Good thing Peter decided to come along with us for support today! He rescued us not only once, but twice. Before we even left Brainerd, the keys to Margie's vehicle got locked inside the truck. Peter bailed us out on that one using his knowledge from his car salesman days. Finally we were off to Upper South Long, but we were not clear on the directions. Again, Peter bailed us out leading the way and he even made a connection for us at a resort on South Long where we would not have to drive so far (or get misplaced again!) for our swim there. Thanks Peter! We owe you!

Upper South Long was a nice swim although I could tell I had put a little more effort into the race yesterday as I had some fatigue . The water may have had some iron in it (just a guess). We were joking at how orange my skin looked underneath it - like I had a really bad fake tan.  The temperature for the first quater of a mile or so was unbelievably cool considering all the hot weather we have had lately. Felt good on this 100+ heat index day. Margie probably wanted to trade places with me. She sure is a good sport!

South Long was not as orange or as cool in temperature with the exception of  the starting point. There was creek flowing in there with quite a strong current. We went out into the wind, but it was letting up by this time and was fairly calm when we finished. This lake had many floating weeds and lots and lots of snails floating way out in the middle -  the snails were a new encounter. Fatigue had really set in by now and I was glad to be done. Margie told McGyver "It took 28 lakes to wear her out, but we finally did it!" Hopefully, I will recoup quickly as the plan for tomorrow is Partridge and either Turtle or (Aitkin County) Round. 

The first picture is McGyver, Margie, and Peter at Upper South Long.
The next is McGyver hanging out by a rather intimidating sign at South Long.

28 done, 22 to go!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Awesome race day!

We had an awesome open water competition today! Margie got to swim rather than be my safety guide as usual. The competition was at the YMCA Camp Manitou near New Auburn, WI. The following is Margie's swim report:
"A two mile lake swim is the way to start off one's morning! The course was layed out with 7 buoys all about  1/4 mile apart. My goal was to bilateral breathe for the whole swim. The first 1/4 mile, the sun was on my right side, just over the tree line and directly in my eyes. My initial thought was I should just breathe to the left (my natural side) and not have to worry about the sun. Oh-oh... straight out of the gate, I was already coming up with a reason not to accomplish my goal! Then, out of no where, a voice says 1-2-3; 1-2-3; 1-2-3... I chuckled to myself and went with it. I got to the 1st buoy and turned left which immediately took care of my sun issue. After spotting the 2nd buoy and several swimmers around me, I hunkered down heading mostly west for 3 more buoys. I really tried to focus on my rotation thinking how great it was to not have walls that would break my concentration. Getting to the 4th buoy, I turned left again so that I was heading south. The suns rays streaming through the water were very cool - too cool in fact as I forgot to sight. Oops! When I  finally looked up, I had strayed off course and was heading into shore.With one loud "darn it" that I am sure scared all the fish away, I got back in line with buoy #5. The thought of Jane already being on shore and changed into dry clothes made me laugh, but onward I went. Buoy #6 came up and I turned left again now heading east. 1/2 mile to go and I am having a blast! With my rotation still feeling good, I shifted my focus to my hand entry and the start of my pull. Gosh this is fun! Passing the last buoy (#7), I headed into shore (the correct shore this time!). The swim was over and I accomplished my goal of bilateral breathing the whole way. It was a very fun morning!"

Now for my swim report:
I started off behind - my own fault - I was lolli-gagging gettting in the water and was not ready for the race start. Oh well, my total attitude for the day was "just swim and have fun". I had only gotten about 2 1/2 hours sleep and we left my home at 3:45am to get to the competition on time, so I had no great expectations! I let the first group of swimmers get a little ahead so I would not be mixed up in that "washing machine' of arms and legs. The water tempurature was perfect - way too warm for some - but for a freeze-baby like me,  it was wonderful. I felt relaxed and smooth. After a little ways, I noticed I was starting to catch up to some of the swimmers in front of me. This started my competitive juices flowing so, still feeling good, I just tried to keep my stroke long and efficient. The buoys kept ticking off and now I could see the lead pack in front of me. Each buoy they were getting closer but I never did quite catch them. I was very happy with my time however, placing 1st in my age group and 4th overall. It was great to have Margie in the water with me today. I missed her guiding me, but her "going- straight" kayaking abilities have helped me to tweak my stroke, so I believe I was swimming mostly in line with the buoys today (obviously a huge advantage in open water swimming!).

Thanks Pam for all your hard work in gettnig this race organized! Thanks also to the lifeguards in the kayaks keeping their watchful eye, and congratulations to Josie, the 10 year old and youngest in the race, who completed her first 2 mile open water swim!!

The plan for monday is South Long and Upper South Long.

The first picture is Margie on the home stretch.
The second is part of the group of swimmers who competed and helped Margie and I celebrate the completion of lake #26! Nice job everyone!
The 3rd is the excellent support staff keeping us all safe!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Half-way there!

I am not sure if it is coincidence or if the murkiness (from run-off caused by the massive amounts of rain we had earlier this summer) is finally clearing, but the lakes in the last couple of days have been so clear - just beautiful for a swim!

We started in Lower Cullen today and Margie's dog Espn joined me in the water! I got tired just watching her legs go a million miles per hour underwater, but she just kept going!! She got to take a nap afterwards though- it truly is a dog's life! Swim - sleep - eat - repeat. Well.... I guess in a way that sounds like me too. :)

The second lake today was Lake Edna. The wind was kicking up pretty good by now. We headed out from the access right into it. Margie got a great workout! She is going to have the strongest shoulders, arms and abs by the end of this! Coming back, she could relax and I could just ride the waves - it took about 100 strokes less to get back than it did going out!

Both lakes were absolutely beautiful- I am beginning to sound like a broken record on that, but it is so true!

Tomorrow and Saturday we are taking the days off due to prior obligations. Sunday, we will be driving the long trek over to the YMCA Camp Manitou (New Auburn, WI) to compete in a 2 mile open water competition. We'll count this as one lake even though we will be "over acheivers" swimming twice as far.

The first picture is Espn and I in Lower Cullen Lake.
Next is Espn sporting #24 and Margie.
And the last is McGyver doing cart-wheels after finishing #25! No clue what I am doing?!?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Very fun day!!

Today was a blast! We started out on Edward Lake at Jevnings Cozy Bay Resort. The resort is just as the name implies - very cozy and some place you'd want to come back to year after year! Thanks Suzette! Joining us there were some of the YMCA members and daycare staff. It is so awesome to have a cheering section!- Thanks guys! Lake Edward was incredibly clear - as in 16' of clarity. Amazing, especially this year with all the rains and run-off.
In hind-sight we made a tactical error and took off with the wind, meaning we had to swim back into the wind. One of Suzette's guests pointed this out to us - you'd think we haven't done this before! :) Oh well, no worries, we made it back just fine.
On a side note - another of Suzette's guests said he had a grandpa on Roy Lake. When we asked if it was a possibility to use his beach, the guest said his grandpa would probably make us mow his lawn first! Hmmm.... we'll have to put some thought into that one! :) You gotta love those guests at Cozy Bay - what a great bunch!

The next lake was Lougee Lake - another very clear lake with a very entertaining bottom. The water was so clear that I could see many different kinds and sections of weeds. Some were tall and narrow with short fuzzy 'leaves", others were shorter with wider "leaves" and many different variations of colors ranging from pale green to bluey-green to bright green to all shades of brown. Most of the lake was shallow, but every now and then there would be a drop-off for a short ways, then the weeds would be back. I was so into watching the underwater world unfold, I almost over-shot where we were to land. Thanks Sandy for joining us on your paddle boat and thanks Curt for cheering us on from shore.

The third lake was Pelican. Here we were joined by 16 other swimmers and two other kayakers! Thanks Lakes Area Multi-Sport group for your support - it was very fun to swim with you! Thanks also to Marva for letting us use your beach. I hope your neighbors have recovered by now from the vehicle invasion!

On the way out we got turned around and took a scenic drive at least a half hour out of our way. But after such a fun day, even that was not a downer. This is such a beautiful area with so much to see and explore. We passed by many public assesses that we may use in the upcoming days, but then again, we may never know -  I am pretty sure we could not find them again!

23 lakes down in 13 days. Never thought we'd be this far this soon into the adventure. We have been blessed with a long string of perfect weather, so we are taking advantage of it -after all, this is Minnesota and you never know when it is going to change! We are still planning on the last swim to be in Whipple at the beach on Friday, August 17th (weather permitting, of course). It would be awesome to have many swimmers, kayakers and supporters there, so keep it in mind!! We will post a time when it gets closer.

Tomorrow we'll swim Lower Cullen and Lake Edna.

The first picture is of guests and YMCA friends at Cozy Bay on Lake Edward. Doesn't it look like a great place to stay?
The second is Curt, Margie and Sandy at the access in Lougee.
The third is the LAMS gang both in and out of the water at Pelican.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Graves and Nokay

Today we started at Graves lake. Heidi invited people over to cheer us on from her beautiful home. We were accompanied on the water by Christa and Anita in kayaks and Jennifer and Morgan in the paddle boat. Heidi thought Margie’s kayak looked like it was on steroids compared to hers! Graves is another of our area’s beautiful lakes. There are so many – who knew? They are all unique and pretty in their own way. The water temp was really warm, but cooler down deep. While I was swimming, others went for a run around part of the lake. I think I got the better deal as it was perfect in the water and pretty hot to be running! After Graves, Margie and I took off for Nokay Lake. This one was a little cooler and we saw loons, great blue herons and bull frogs. We also saw a farm on the lake - first time we have seen that on our adventures. Margie wore a Go-Pro on her head, so we hope to have a link to that video soon. It will be fun to see my kayaker’s point of view (mine is pretty repetitious: weeds, then no weeds, weeds, then no weeds)!
After Nokay, we headed back to Heidi’s for some food and socializing. It was an absolutely beautiful evening. Good friends, good food on a pretty lake - with no bugs - in a park like setting - watching the kids play, tube and ski. It doesn’t get much better than that! Thanks Heidi for a fun afternoon and for all the donations from people who came!

Officially 2/5 done!!
Tomorrow the plan is Lake Edward, Lougee and Pelican. I look forward to swimming with some of the Mult-Sport Group in Pelican!

The first picture is Tammy, Morgan, Jennifer, Heidi, Christa, Lori, Teagan and Tali (the dog) at Heidi's house on Graves.
The next is Margie by the Nokay Lake sign with the Go-Pro on her head looking very determined about something!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

3 more done!

Three more fun lakes today! Steph and Margie’s mom, Mickey joined us – Steph kayaked again and Mickey enjoyed the scenery from the docks.  We started from Point Narrows Resort.  A beautiful resort  nestled in a very unique location. On one side is Upper Gull Lake, on the other Bass Lake. There is a channel that connects these two and more channels that lead to Nisswa Lake and Spider Lake. Thank you for letting us start today’s adventures  at your quaint resort!
Upper Gull was the first today. This lake was filled with many springs and was the probably the coldest we have been in. We were entertained by a wake boarder once we got out farther.
After Upper Gull, we went over to Bass. Bass was much quieter boat wise, but we saw some wildlife. There was a long channel  with lily pads on either side that we swam/kayaked through.  A great blue heron was watching us from the lily pads as we meandered along our way. Margie and Steph were dive-bombed by a swallow – evidently we came to close to its nest!  Mickey visited with one of the residents at the resort who gave us a donation! Thanks Ann!
Next we were off to Debby’s house on Nisswa lake. This was a really fun time as both Debby and her dog (Chloe) swam with us! Afterwards, Debby treated us to homemade zucchini  bread and watermelon and gave us a tour of her beautiful  vegetable and flower garden. Thanks Debby and Chloe.
Tomorrow we are taking the day off for some much needed rest and relaxation before we venture off to Heidi’s house on Graves lake on Tuesday. We may possibly go to Nokay Lake after if time permits.
The first picture is Mickey, Margie, McGyver and me after Upper Gull and Bass.
The next is Debby and Steph with Chloe wearing the number for lake #18.
The last three are Debby (orange cap), Chloe, Margie and I.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Rabbit and Clinker

Two very nice lakes to swim in today in two totally different ways. Rabbit was first. Thanks MacKay’s for letting us use your dock! The water was very clear and cooler than most we have been in lately. For such a large lake, the boat traffic was very minimal – surprisingly so for a 4th of July weekend! Steph joined Margie and I on our adventures today. It was fun to have her along!

Clinker was next. This lake was completely different than Rabbit in that it had very few homes (I only saw one on the whole lake) and the lake looked very small from shore with a “boggy, lily pad peninsula" in the middle. When we got out further we could actually swim part way around this peninsula making it a very scenic swim/kayak ride. This lake is a loon nesting area; while I did not see any loons, I did see a huge beaver dam and we were chorused by bull frogs. Fun experience, but I must admit I am very tired from the swims yesterday! The big waves in Hubert, although a blast, really beat me up! Margie’s arms were sore today too from battling the winds.

Upper Gull, Roy and Nisswa are on the agenda for tomorrow.

The first picture is Steph and McGyver getting aquainted on MacKay's dock; the second is Margie, McGyver and Steph at Clinker. Officially 3/10 done!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Thunderstorms or not??

I woke up to a lot of thunder and lightning this morning. After checking the radar, I thought a lake swim might be iffy today, so I got into the pool. Even though I have only been out a week, it felt strange. The walls came up awfully fast and off-strokes were..., well....off! I think the fact that I have not been swimming anything but freestyle has been the hardest part for me. I am usually used to mixing it up with kicking, pulling, IM sets, non-free sets and, of course, flip turns and push-offs! It was fun to splash around with my "pool pals" again and now I have an even greater appreciation for how sparkly clear Ed and Rich keep the water in our pools! Thanks guys!

The bad weather took a break, so we got to swim! The first lake today was Hubert. Cherri came to see us off - thanks Cherri! The lake was by far the clearest one we have been in. Even though the water was warm, with the brisk winds and the cooler air temps today, I decided to wear the wetsuit. This turned out to be a really good choice - it was VERY windy in Hubert and riding the waves was SO MUCH FUN!! :) Better than a ride at Valley Fair. Once back to shore, I realized that it was raining. Evidently it had been the whole way back- I was just having too much fun to notice. We were taking the kayak out of the lake when Cherri showed up again. She had run home to make a salad and then came back to see us finish. Thanks for the support Cherri - still waiting forthe invite for dinner though.... just kidding!

The second lake was Clark - Lucky lake #13! We pulled up to the boat landing and see a weed cutter parked there - BIG red flag!! It turned out fine though. There were some weeds but most were beneath my hand reach. What a pretty lake! Margie had to paddle like crazy to keep up with me on the way out (directly into the wind), but she got a free ride all the way back. She really enjoyed that!

Overall a much better experience today than yesterday! I am sure I will be sore tomorrow though - 2 miles in the pool, 2 miles in the lakes and being slammed around in the waves. Oh ...it hurts so good!!

Rabbit and Clinker tomorrow.

The first picture is McGyver hanging out on the weed cutter by Clark Lake.
The second is Cherri at Hubert wondering what the heck McGyver is?!?!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Disappointment Today

The plan for today was Borden Lake and Mille Lacs. We went first to the public access on Borden. A kind elderly gentleman in his fishing boat told us that the water was very dirty (and we could see that) until you got out past the weeds....I can handle a little disgusting water, but the weeds he was talking about were at least a quarter of a mile out - no thanks!!

So that was failed mission # 1.

Next we headed to Lake Mille Lacs. I was very excited about this lake. The last time I swam there, it was clear with a beautiful sandy bottom. Today was a different story. The overwhelming odor of dead fish permeated the air and the "clear" waters were a thick soupy green. On top of that lovely scenario, the lake was filled with floating globs that reminded me of the junk that collects on the bottom of the lawn mower. They were not sporadic either, they were EVERYWHERE! Not wanting to have another failed mission, we decided to take the plunge – literally. We were hoping it would clear up the further we got away from shore, but that never happened. With pretty strong winds out of the NNE, the waves got bigger and bigger. Normally, I love the challenge of big waves. Today, however, not so much. Because of all the floating globs, I wanted to make sure that my airway was completely clear of the water before breathing in (the thought of sucking one of those in makes me shudder!! – Yuck! Not sure I could've even gotten air in if that had happened). To compensate, I kept my head much higher and rolled probably 30 degrees more to each side before breathing. With the modified stroke and the big waves, this was tiring. Once done, I was very happy to be back on shore. I felt creepy and itchy all over. So that was not a failed mission, just disappointing and one I am very glad to be done with!! Margie too – she got a workout with the wind and waves and probably got a little high from the odiferous smell!!

Driving past Kenney Lake on the way back, we thought I could “clean up” a bit in hopefully nice water. That plan was put to a quick end though too. I had checked the site just a few weeks previously and it was very doable. But, with all the warm weather lately the lily pad bed had grown immensely and it would have been very tough to get out to the clearer water.

So that was failed mission #2.

By now my “itchys” were getting worse – time to give up and head home to the shower. I had to hold my breath to keep from gagging when I took my swim suit off. My body and my normally white shower floor were slimy green – ew! I scrubbed and scrubbed!

Note to anyone who is thinking of trying to swim in 50 lakes – START EARLY in the spring before the “nasties” take over.

As we go on, we may need help finding swim-able lakes. I’ll post more about that later if needed. As before, please give us a “heads up” if we have posted a lake that you know is not so great for our endeavor – it would be really appreciated. I really don’t want to contract some funky disease this summer!! J

Tomorrow the plan is Hubert and Clark; Rabbit and Clinker are the plan for Saturday; and Upper Gull, Nisswa and Roy on Sunday.

Below, McGyver is smiling, but the cheeriness was just for the picture. On the inside he was screaming "get me out of here!" If you look closely, you can see a few of the globs in front of him.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July!

What better way to spend the 4th of July than coaching a workout and then swimming in our beautiful lakes! As Margie says "We really do live in God's country, don't we?!"

First on the agenda to day was North Long. Headed out into the breeze expecting to have it push us back in - no such luck! It changed direction on us. But the sun was coming up and it was a beautiful morning; not near as hot as yesterday afternoon (yet!).

Next was Round Lake. Thanks to Janell and Ed for joining us in their kayaks and for their generous donations! Another great swim, feeling cool (temperature-wise anyway!) and good in the water.

THANK YOU to EVERYONE who has donated – please keep them coming! We are overwhelmed and blessed with the positive response for this fun little project!

Third was Gladstone. Another gem of a lake. Perfect temperature and the breeze cooperated this time. Out into the wind and back with a little wave action helping us along. Once we were back Margie asked me if I wear dark goggles so I didn't have to look at the weeds.....then she tells me we swam very close to a large turtle (glad I didn't know that at the time!). I still have all my toes, so snapping turtle or not, all is good! By the way, I wear dark goggles so no one knows when I go into "sleep swim mode" :).

Margie went off to work and me home to mow the lawn. I got just as wet, but swimming was much more pleasant! For some reason, the mower seemed a lot heavier to push around the yard today....hmmm....I wonder why?

Sadly, lakes 11 and 12 are not going to happen tonight. Margie says "no - too much fun at Janell's". Thanks for the fun day , Janell.

Tomorrow the plan is to go east of Brainerd and tackle Mille Lacs and Borden.

The first picture is lake 10 (officially 1/5 of the way done!).

The second picture is Round lake with Ed, Margie, McGyver and Janell.

The last picture is North Round with McGyver doing a little kayaking on his own.