Step 1. Struggle into wetsuit.
Step 2. Drive to lake in wetsuit, because nobody needs to see Step 1.
Step 3. Find a place free of boats, novice stand up paddleboarders, and kids on floatee toys.
Step 4. Gather up courage.
Step 5. Swim!
This is a deep glacial lake, fed by snowmelt. As I swim I imagine that I absorb small pieces of mountains through my skin. I glide over rocks that the glacier left behind thousands of years ago. The lake is shot through with golden sun as sweet as brown sugar, but a primordial cold lingers beneath the surface, enough to let me know that it is not as tame as it appears. Wildness is trapped beneath.
I learned a trick from another solo swimmer: take off your wetsuit in the water. It is much easier. All that is left is a quick two step to shore. The coolness in my body lasts for hours; inside I am a column of ice, slowly melting.
Now for the pack giveaway! There were 8 entries. I used a random number generator (random.org) and the number that came up was #4, Ingunn! Ingunn, please send me an email to maryellenemerick AT gmail.com with your address! If the pack doesn't work for you, you have plenty of other people here who want it!
Everyone else, don't despair, there may be cool giveaways coming soon. I have way too much outdoor gear, some barely used. Thanks for playing!