Friday, August 17, 2012

We did it!

We met the challenge! All 50 lakes are completed now in the 50 days! The final swim capped off a very fun adventure and today was no exception. We were joined by 13 other swimmers and one other kayaker along with many, many people on the beach. All the support has been overwhelming and so very much appreciated!

We swam in a triangle pattern tonight due to the size of the lake. This worked out very well and kept us all relatively close together increasing the safety factor - always a good thing.

I haven't heard the total dollar amount raised as of today, but I know we are VERY near our goal. Thank you to those that have donated! If you haven't yet and would like to, it is not too late. Please help us reach our goal and in return see how our endeavor benefits the kids in our community.

I've said it before, but this has been an amazing experience. From learning about our beautiful lakes area up close and personal; from meeting wonderful people along the way; from personal growth and challenging ourselves; from receiving so much generosity in so many different ways; from support of numerous people from a myriad of walks of life; etc.... I could go on, but suffice it to say that this entire project has been a blessing from day 1 to day 50.

We are hoping the story doesn't end here... Margie and I are dreaming of "road-tripping" out to Colorado to pick up the alligator and the safety pads (this would save literally a few hundred dollars over having them shipped). That could be another adventure in itself! Timing and other responsibilities are the issues we are trying to figure out before we can make this a reality. Look for more blogs to come on this and a final grand total in the future.

The first picture is all the swimmers in action at the start of the mile, the second is some of us at the 1/3 mile safety check mark. Unfortunately, no pictures of all the supporters on the beach purely because none were taken with my phone. I will post some if they become available to me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One to go!

Only one lake left! We completed the 49th in Serpent Lake. Today we were joined by Margie's cousin, Judy from Vermont in another kayak, Mickey, Ben and Pete. It is great to have others cheering us on! After the swim, Margie, Mickey and Judy went out for dinner to celebrate Margie's birthday - Happy birthday, Margie!

It is probably a good thing we are almost done - Margie is getting so buff from all the kayaking that she broke her paddle today. That made it very difficult. Good thing Judy was along so they could trade off who had the broken paddle - thanks Judy!

While we didn't see the Serpent, we did see something playing around that may have been an otter. It didn't act like a muskrat or a beaver - the two most common water animals we have seen. After the otter attacks this summer, it made me a little nervous so we gave it a wide berth!

All these cool nights of late have made a significant difference in the water temperature. With the air in the 70s, mostly cloudy skies, light breeze and the chilly water, I never lost my goose bumps for the whole swim. It was still fun though as always!! :)

Thank you to all of you who have donated - we have received over $11, 000 dollars now!  If you haven't donated yet, please do so. Any and every amount is greatly appreciated. Just 50 days ago the big goal of $12,400 seemed very farfetched, but now, thanks to our generous community, we are almost there! Simply amazing!!

This Friday, August 17, will be the 50th swim on the 50th day. We will be swimming from Whipple Beach at 5:30pm. If anyone would like to join us watching from the beach or paddling along in a kayak with us (or other mode of water transportation), you are more than welcome! The more the merrier!

The first picture is Ben (nice shirt, Ben!), Margie, Mickey, Pete and Judy. The next is the serpent (glad I did not run into him in the lake!).

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bay Lake

Another fun swim - this time in my favorite lake! Margie's family reunion was at Ruttgers this weekend, so we left from there. What a great place to have a reunion or vacation! It was a very calm beautiful morning. Quiet on the lake with no wind, very few boats and just the loons calling. Margie and her nephew, Robert, swam with me today. Margie's cousin, Tim/Tom (yes there is a story there) paddled in a kayak along with us - thanks! Thanks also to the entire Enright Family for letting me "crash" your reunion with a swim! Hope I didn't make you get out of bed to early :). It was fun to have you all as part of our adventure!

The first picture is me, Robert, Margie, Tim/Tom and Mickey (Margie's mom) holding #48. I cannot believe we only have two to go. This has been such a fun thing to do that I am sad it is almost over. Time to come up with a new adventure!
The other picture is the Enright gang with beautiful Bay Lake in the back ground.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Upper and Lower Mission

Margie's sister, Jane, made the adventure with us again today. She is a lot of fun! I think I have laughed more in the last three days than I have in the last month.

Upper Mission was the first lake today. The air was a lot cooler (low 70's) and the lakes are not as warm. Margie and Jane were comfortable, but I was chilled. I miss those 90 degree days when the water was in the mid-80's! Upper Mission was another beautiful swim with the exception of a pontoon boat over-loaded with people. Maybe they thought I was a big fish - they had 6 lines in the water and kept driving nearer and nearer to us increasing their speed. Not sure what that was about? Anyway, we did not get run over and I did not get hooked, so all is good.

Lower Mission was next. On the way there, I put my wetsuit on and was glad I had it along. The wind was starting to pick up and the dark clouds that were floating around all afternoon were increasing. Lower Mission had many random, thick, tall weed patches that caught me by surprise every time. Between the dark water, dark clouds and dark goggles I never saw them until I felt them on my hands and face - not pleasant, but at least they were not throughout the whole swim. On the way back in, the wind had picked up considerably and I felt like I was getting a free ride as they pushed me along. I enjoyed that! Margie and Jane were serenaded by many loons flying overhead - they make such a beautiful sound! Once on shore again, we noticed the sign that said "Infested Water". A good shower for me and a good rub down of the kayaks is in order. It's sad to think many of our beautiful lakes could be taken over by invasive species. Just a reminder to everyone to be extra careful to de-weed and empty any water wells before moving on. We live in such a beautiful area and hopefully we can keep it that way for generations to come.

Thanks to Taco Johns and all the people that came to support us yesterday. It was a very successful evening!

Our next swim will be in Bay on Sunday morning.

The first picture is McGyver and Jane at Upper Mission; the second is at Lower Mission. Only three lakes to go!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kayak ready to blow???

Today we were joined by Margie's sister Jane for another fun afternoon! Jane has a blow up kayak identical to Margie's. Looking at the picture below, you can see Margie's has grown - considerably!! It must have been getting larger and larger every time it was pumped up and we just never noticed. Now we are wondering when it is going to blow - when it does, I want a video tape of Margie flying around the lake like a balloon does when the air goes out! I'll have a tough time keeping up to her if that happens!

Both of our swims were in Aitkin County today. The first lake was Round. I could really tell we have had some cooler weather lately - the water temperature has gone down considerably. This was especially evident in Round as it is very shallow. It is also very clear - I could see bottom  (a beautiful, relatively weedless, sandy bottom) over a quarter mile out.

The next lake was Farm Island. Being bigger and deeper, it was quite a bit warmer. Amazing what a significant difference that makes! Word must have gotten out that I love swimming in waves because we sure had a lot of them in this lake. Between the wind, a jet skier, a pontoon boat and another boat pulling two tubers around us, we were really bouncing! And, yes, it was fun! :)

The first picture is the two "identical" kayaks. Anyone want to place bets on when Margie's is going to blow?!
The next is Jane, Margie and McGyver at Round.
The last is Jane, McGyver and I at Farm Island Lake. 45 down, only 5 to go!

We will take the day off tomorrow so we can be at Taco John's. Don't forget! 5-9p, 20% of all sales go to the Aquatics department. Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Taco Johns!

Thanks Marcie and Taco Johns! We really appreciated your support!
Hope to see everyone there between 5:00 and 9:00pm this Wednesday (Aug 8)!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

We survived the big lake!!

This morning we tackled Lake Superior. It was a very fun race- 2.1 Miles from Bayfield to Madeline Island complete with lots of big waves!! It was so awesome to have other Brainerd competitors there with Margie and I. They all swam well and so did Keith, our friend from Ashland who, along with his wife Judy, generously opened their home to us. Thanks Judy and Keith- we had a blast with you!

I should have gotten reports from others, but forgot in the excitement after the race. For now, I'll just give you mine. There were two waves for the start (450 competitors!) - a men's wave and a women's wave. Starting 8 minutes after the men, we had plenty of time to watch our fellow male friends take off. Sean, with his unique stroke was easy to pick out as he pulled away from the large group with the lead pack. After seeing them fade into the distance, it was our turn. The water temp was 72 - perfect for in a wetsuit. The course had buoys set out every third mile, but somehow I managed to miss all but the first and last. With the big waves, it was hard to sight - probably 80% of the time when I took a peek, all I could see was water. There were plenty of support kayaks, so I put my trust in them to steer me back on course if I strayed off too far (which they did!). I felt pretty alone most of the race with the exception of the person who tapped my feet every 300 yards or so. That was kind of annoying (after all, it is Lake Superior, there should be plenty of room for two to swim without hitting each other!), but I tried not to let it bother me. I only hoped they would not go flying past me in the last stretch to shore - thankfully, they did not. I felt very relaxed and comfortable in the water today and found a good rhythm that seemed to work okay in the waves. For a long time, I just keep swimming enjoying every moment before I really had any sense of where I was going. Suddenly, however, on a chance sighting, I saw the finish drawing near. The race was coming to an end already - I was almost disappointed because it was so much fun being tossed around in the rollers. At the finish, I learned I was the 2nd woman there and first in my age group - that was just the icing on the cake of a very fun swim! Soon Matt and Matt were there too and we cheered on the other Brainerd swimmers as they came in. Everyone swam well and seemed to have fun. Matt R. placed third in his age group - what a great way to celebrate his birthday! Happy 26th Matt!!

The first picture is Margie, me (don't I look great with bunny ears?- thanks, Margie!) and Laurie after our swims.
The next is of Keith, Margie, Matt R (with #43), me, Matt D and Amanda in the back; Sheila and Laurie in the front. The only Brainerd swimmer missing in the picture is Sean.

We will be slacking - or recovering :) until Tuesday when we plan on swimming Round and Farm Island both in Aitkin County.

Please keep those donations coming in - we are getting VERY CLOSE to the big goal for both the alligator and the lily pad crossing safety pads. THANK YOU to all those who have sponsored us so far. We are so blessed to have so many generous people helping us do something cool for the youth and others who use the aquatic facilities at our YMCA!

And...don't forget to have dinner at our local Taco Johns this coming Wednesday 5-9p. 20% of all sales will go to our endeavors!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Huntington Mine Pit

Another beautiful lake and fun swim. Tonight we were in Huntington Mine Pit. This one has no boat access, just canoe and kayak access. Kay accompanied us again and she had fun exploring. (Thanks again, Kay!) We were the only ones on the lake, so there was no need to worry about boats running us over.

It just amazes me how the pits are so close to Crosby, but yet, they feel a million miles away. It is so serene and peaceful there - a place one never wants to leave. Sometime in the near future, I would like to kayak on them and see them from that point of view too.

Both pictures are of Kay preparing for our adventure.

We have no swims scheduled for tomorrow and Friday, although I will probably get in the pool or a lake just for fun. Saturday is the competition in Lake Superior from Bayfield, WI to Madeline Island.