Luring a Lake Monster

On September 7th, I am going to be participating in the 25-mile “In Search of Memphre” swim across Lake Memphremagog from Newport, VT to Magog, QC.  I will begin the swim at midnight and carry over until the afternoon.  I will have a GPS tracker, so keep an eye on the blog for further updates on how to keep up with me as I search for that elusive lake monster.

For more information on the swim check out this link:

And check out the great introduction of the Swimmer Scouts here:


As this is a scouting expedition, and not just a swim, I have come up with some strategic methods and tips  for maximizing search efforts.  They are as follows:

  1. Swim with your eyes open.
  2. Have your crew armed with fishing poles and carrots; I’ve heard Memphre loves carrots.
  3. When stopping to feed, make sure to make the Lake Monster mating call.  It’s a globally recognized sound that will attract any and all Lake Monsters universally (As long as they are within earshot, and everybody knows Lake Monsters have poor hearing.).
  4. Tell the fish what you’re doing.  Fish are notorious gossipers.  The news will get to Memphre that you’re looking for her.
  5. Smile, sing, laugh.   Memphre doesn’t like to be found by grumps and miserable folks.
  6. Practice your French.  Memphre may be on the Canadian side, and the fish up there speak French.
  7. Swim near or on the surface of the Lake.  Memphre can then approach you and will not be threatened by you infringing on her territory.
  8. Disguise yourself as another beautiful, exotic/endangered/extinct creature (i.e. a centaur, a gryphon, a mermaid, a woolly mammoth, a cherub, a Swimmer Scout).  This will make Memphre more at ease with your company, if she thinks you are a similar type of creature.  Do NOT, however, disguise yourself as a mythical creature (i.e. a vampire, a werewolf, an honest politician).  Memphre will totally see right through those shenanigans and be all like, “What the WHAT?”
  9. When night swimming, whisper.  Nobody likes to be woken up in the wee hours, especially not Lake Monstsers.  Also, still keep your eyes open so that your eyeshine can be detected by Memphre’s headlights.
  10. Once found, Memphre will not pose for photographs so be ready to get her autograph on something or agree with your crew ahead of time (by playing rock, paper, scissors) who will be sacrificially bitten by Memphre to validate the encounter.

So there you have it!  I’ll keep you all posted on the Search!  Here’s to the success of my longest adventure yet!

Guri’s First Race: Lake Willoughby 5 Miles

We were just going swimmin’.  That brown dog and I.

It’s just a swim.  I won’t push you too hard or too far.  I won’t take you any place we can’t go together.  I promised somewhere in my heart that I wouldn’t ask too much of you, and I wouldn’t let you ask too much of me.  Just enough.  Just enough to do this life together, to be with you.  Just enough: you and I.

And today, like so many other days, we’re just going swimmin’…

That brown dog and I.  Read more

Adirondack Adventure Swimming: The Swim of No Return

The long, circuitous route of the West Branch of the Sacandaga.

The kayak/canoe route for the West Branch of the Sacandaga River just north of Arietta, NY is approximately 9-10 miles long from rapids to rapids.  The twisty, winding ride downstream takes you from one access point, under only one other bridge about 1.5 miles down and then leads you the rest of the way into marshy wilderness.  The only way out is the way you got in.  In our case, that would be swimming.  We’re pretty sure nobody had ever thought to try swimming the route before, and we fully knew that once we started, we were committed.   Thus, whenever we referred to our plot to adventure swim the route, it fast earned the name, “The Swim of No Return.” Read more

Open Water Dog

Sometimes when you just get into a mode, you can forget how amazing things are.  I’d kind of forgotten that swimming with my dog isn’t typical and isn’t something most people would think of, or do, or know anything about.  For those of you who haven’t heard, I regularly train with my dog, Guri (pronounced GRRRR-ee), and we were just invited to participate in our first ever race together.  TOGETHER!!!  The two of us!  So, on August 17th, Guri and I will be tackling the 5-mile swim across Lake Willoughby in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.  Guri even made the Daily News of Open Water Swimming, because she’s just THAT amazing.  

I know that there are tons of questions out there, so I’ve lined up an interview for you and Guri and me.  We’ll do our best to answer all of your questions about what it takes to be an open water dog.

Cutest dog in the whole darn world...
Cutest dog in the whole darn world…

You:  Tell us how this story began.  How did you select Guri? What kind of dog is she, and did you want to have a dog to swim with you all along?

Me: I wish I could say that I had planned this.  That I, somehow, chose my chocolate labrador retriever based on the breed’s affinity for water, and I selectively picked Guri to be my dog because of her obvious ability to learn to swim alongside of me for miles and miles.  Ha ha!  It was not so complicated as all of that.  The truth is, I wanted a brown dog… to match my eyes.  So I got one.

Guri: Hey. It’s me, Guri. You know, you could throw this ball right here.  You can throw it, and I’ll go get it for you.  That’s a fun game.  It’s really fun.  You could throw this ball.  If you want.  Please, please, please throw this ball?  See how cute I am?  This ball.  It’s a really, really fun game.

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