Tour of Lakes - Report

"Tour of Lakes" swimmers.  L to R: Nathan, Gary, Josh, Gordon, Karl, Joelle, Jim, Kaitlin, Goody

Yesterday we finished up the first annual "Tour of Lakes".  It was a whirlwind trip of swimming and driving that took about 12 hours to finish.

5:00am at my house.  L to R: Karl, Josh, Nathan, Kaitlin, Gary

Most of the eight swimmers met at my house early Saturday morning.  We were loaded up and on the road a little after 5am.  Gordon had left his 12-passenger van at my house the day before and I drove it up to Layton to pick him and Joelle, the last two swimmers, up.  We ended up at the first stop 30 minutes earlier than planned and, by the end of the day, ended up over 2 hours ahead of schedule.

Following is a breakdown of each of the eight lakes and my experience there.

1 - Causey Reservoir.  This place is awesome!

1 - Causey Reservoir - 6:35am to 7:38am
Temperature: 70 degrees
Distance: 1.41 miles
Water: Very clear, blue-green water
Weather: Slightly overcast
Suit: Flower Power
I had never been to Causey Reservoir before and was excited to try it out.  This place is awesome!  The water was 70 degrees and felt very nice once we got in.  Causey is popular for cliff jumping and we swam over to some cliffs to start of the "Tour".  Most of us took a jump off a small cliff before beginning our 30 minute swim.  We swam down one of the "arms" of the reservoir until we ran out of water and then swam back.  Joelle, Gordon, Kaitlin and I were all pretty close to each other.  Gordon and I had talked about how it would be cool to do a documentary about the day and, on our way back to shore, he asked if he could interview me.  As we were getting out, I notice a ton of small little fish near the edge of the water.  I told a few people afterwards that I already knew this was going to be my favorite swim of the day.

2 - Pineview.  Warm water, lots of boats.

2 - Pineview Reservoir - 8:00am to 8:55am
Temperature: 76 degrees
Distance: 0.93 miles
Water: Clear, green-blue in color
Weather: Partly cloudy, dark clouds developing as we finished
Suit: Polka Dot
There were already quite a few boat on the water when we pulled in to Pineview.  The water felt much warmer than Causey.  We swam out from shore to the line of buoys, followed the buoys to the opposite shore and then turned back.  My arms were feeling tight until we got to the first buoy, and then I started to loosen up.  On the way back, I noticed Karl still swimming out towards the far shore.  He missed the turnaround time by accident and Gary and I waited for him to finish at the shore before heading off to the next lake.  Gordon interviewed Joelle before we left.

3 - East Canyon Reservoir.  Mud and rain.

3 - East Canyon Reservoir - 9:45am to 10:45am
Temperature: 72 degrees
Distance: 1.12 miles
Water: Somewhat murky
Weather: Overcast, rain as we were leaving
Suit: Square Leg
We decided not to in to the State Park to avoid the crowds and also to save time.  Instead we pulled off into a dirt parking lot and walked down a pretty steep hill to get to the shore.  All of the lakes are much lower than normal, most at about 60% to 70% of capacity.  We had to walk through quite a bit of mud to get to the water to start swimming.  There were a few paddle boards in the water, but all the boat and jetskis were out in the main part of the lake.  We swam out to the wakeless buoys, followed them across the bay and then added a little extra distance before heading back.  As we were getting out, it started to rain.  Gordon interviewed Nathan before we climbed back up to the van.  I had brought along a cooler of water and we used it to wash the mud off of our feet before loading up in the van.

4 - Echo Reservoir.  There's water here somewhere...

This about sums up our experience at Echo.

4 - Echo Reservoir - 10:59am to 12:04pm
Temperature: 72 degrees
Distance: 0.97 miles
Water: Very murky, visibility of a couple inches.  It was a little better when the water got deeper.
Weather: Overcast
Suit: Utah Open Water
We knew ahead of time that this was probably going to be the worst swim of the trip.  The water level is extremely low.  In fact, when we pulled up to were we were supposed to start swimming, there was no water there.  We had to walk a ways before we could even get to the water.  Once we touched water, we had to wade quite a ways through shallow water and mud before we got to swimming depth.  The water was extremely murky and I could barely see my watch two inches from my face when I checked the time.  The wind was blowing against us on the way out, which didn't help with my already tight arms and shoulders.  The visibility got a little better when we got out into deeper water, but not much.  I think we were all happy to get that one out of the way and were hopeful that Rockport would be better.  We were supposed to meet Karen here, but we were so far ahead of schedule that she missed us.  Gordon interviewed Jim for the documentary.

Lunch Break - 12:08pm - 12:52pm
We stopped for lunch at the Subway in Coalville.  Nathan got a pepperoni pizza that looked way better than the sandwiches I had packed.  It was nice to take a bit of a break, charge my phone, and use their wi-fi to update our progress online.  Goody called while we were there and said he would be joining us for the second half.  He was already at a gas station near Rockport, so we decided to pick him up there.

5 - Rockport. Windy with lots of boat traffic.

5 - Rockport Reservoir - 1:00pm to 1:56pm
Temperature: 71 degrees
Distance: 0.96 miles
Water: Similar to East Canyon, very choppy because of the wind
Weather: Very windy and overcast
Suit: Got Salt?
As we came up the hill near the dam, we saw that the lake was PACKED with boats.  Half the van uttered an "oh crap" at the same time.  There was a lot of wind and the water was really choppy.  This was right up Joelle's alley, she likes choppy water swimming.  We all agreed that the water felt colder, but it was only a degree cooler than the last few stops.  It was a struggle swimming against the wind for the first 15+ minutes.  There were a couple boats and jetskis that got a little closer than I was comfortable with and I was happy to get back to shore, out of the heavy traffic. Gordon interviewed Gary before we left.

6 - Jordanelle Reservoir.

6 - Jordanelle Reservoir - 2:21pm - 3:17pm
Temperature: 72 degrees
Distance: 1.01 miles
Water: Fairly clear, pretty calm
Weather: Overcast
Suit: Argyle
I was happy to get to Jordanelle since I was familiar with the lake and swim course.  It was pretty busy, with a lot of paddlers out near the wakeless buoys.  Swimming out to the end of the buoys, we were not quite at 15 minutes so we went the rest of the way to the shore.  On the way back, we had to loop back to get the 1 mile distance.  I was feeling pretty tired at this point.  It is much harder to swim six miles split up into one mile segments than it is to swim a straight six miles.  My arms and shoulders were pretty tight and felt heavy in the water.  Gordon interviewed Kaitlin before we got back into the van.

7 - Deer Creek Reservoir.  Second best swim of the day.

7 - Deer Creek Reservoir - 3:43pm - 4:53pm
Temperature: 74 to 76 degrees (I didn't get a good reading)
Distance: 1.22 miles
Water: Very clear and calm
Weather: Overcast
Suit: Yellow and pink checkered
The van was really quiet on the way to Deer Creek.  I think we were all getting tired.  I actually started dozing off several times on the way.  I was hoping for a good swim and Deer Creek did not disappoint.  The water was very clear, second only to Causey, and was extremely calm in the bay.  I didn't get a good temperature read on my thermometer, but the water was definitely warmest since Pineview.  I kind of got into a groove (maybe it was the gel I took before we left Jordanelle).  Joelle and Gordon kept going well after the 15 minute turnaround time.  Goody, Kaitlin and I turned back after about 20 minutes.  On the way back, I felt very tired.  For the first time I started to doubt if I could finish the whole challenge.  I'm telling you, it's MUCH harder to split up 8+ miles into short swims with long rest in between.  I kept plugging and eventually made it to shore.  When I got to shore, I was told that Etsuko and her boys were there.  I missed seeing them.  Sabrina and my boys were there and it was good to see them after a lot day.  I boosted my spirits quite a bit to see them.  Gordon interviewed Goody in the parking lot and we left for our last swim.

8 - Utah Lake. Done!

8 - Utah Lake - 5:25pm - 6:39pm
Temperature: 76 degrees
Distance: 1.05 miles
Water: Very murky, poor visibility
Weather: Very windy
Suit: SLOW
We were hoping for warm water (we were guessing in the 80's) and calm water when we got to Utah Lake.  What we got was 76 degree water, a lot of wind and chop.  We decided to swim straight into the wind so that on the way back it would push us to shore.  It was a tough swim.  My arms were already tired and going into the wind was rough.  It was really weird, when you dove down just a couple feet, everything around you went black (I assume because of the fine mud being kicked up by the wind and waves.  When I finished the swim, I was done.  I couldn't have done another lake if wanted to.  Nothing sounded better than going to Chili's to get some dinner.  I had been eating all day, but was starving.

Done! 8 lakes in one day!

Karl's wife had called ahead and got us a reservation for dinner.  We couldn't get there fast enough!  I ate everything in site while talking to Karl and Gary about swimming.  After dinner we drove back to my house and everyone unloaded their gear and got in their own vehicles to head back home.

9 swimmers (Josh, Gordon, Goody, Jim, Kaitlin, Joelle, Karl, Gary, Nathan)
8 lakes
8.67 miles swam (this was according to my GPS.  Some swam more, some less)
264 miles driven (thanks Gords for volunteering your van and for driving!)

This was a crazy experience!  I have never been more tired from swimming in my life.  I am convinced that it is much harder to swim this distance in chunks with rest in between than it is to swim the whole thing straight.  Something is wrong with my math, because by the end of the trip we ended up over 2 hours ahead of schedule.  We spent almost exactly 1 hour at each stop, but we did start early and took a short lunch break.

Thanks to everyone who came along for the ride, and for everyone who followed our progress online.  This is something that I think we will definitely do again.  I'd really like to do this again next year.  Maybe a southern Idaho/northern Utah version or a southern Utah version.  The other thing that would be fun would be to do it over a couple days and include a night swim for one of the stops.


Search for #TourOfLakes on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates and photos from the road.  Photo album here.

Gordon Gridley's experience (blog) (video)
Goody Tyler's experience (blog)
Nathan Nelson's experience (blog)

1 comment:

Kathy Green said...

Awesome job everyone!