According to Google Maps, there are multiple Silver Lakes in the Adirondacks. Searching for Silver Lake does not bring you to our quarry. Instead, google Twitchell Lake and move slightly to the west and you will find our Silver Lake. Nestled in the middle of nowhere, about half an hour from Inlet, NY with no road access, Silver Lake was the perfect introduction to a weekend of Adirondack Adventure Swimming.
We were drawn to Silver Lake by the promise of its fantastic clarity, its remote location, and the absence of people. It was our plan to drive to the Twitchell Lake parking area to leave the car. From there, we would backpack up the trail to find Silver Lake. We would swim around the lake and enjoy lunch on a rock in the sun and then hike back out. That was the plan.
We finally wound our way along Route 1 and up Twitchell Road until we came to the parking lot. We located the hiking trail, however, we couldn’t find any signs pointing to Silver Lake. A little unnerved by this and thinking we were in the wrong location, Deb pulled out her GPS. We confirmed that we were in the correct spot and boldly began our hike into the wilderness.
Good walking or hiking shoes, Backpack, Water, Lunch, Towel or Robie, Swimsuit, Cap, Goggles
Camera, Bug Spray
The hiking trail led us along a muddy path that was, at times, so wet that it was indistinguishable from a stream. We continuously checked in with the GPS as none of the signs indicated the way to Silver Lake. We had to duck off of the main hiking trail down a less obvious path when we got near enough that we thought we might be able to see the lake.
We arrived at Silver Lake after approximately a mile and a half hike. It was tremendously satisfying just to be there – at this remote and obscure pristine setting. There was no sound of cars. Or airplanes. Or people, anywhere. Nobody and nothing. There was only the hushed sound of nature creaking and sighing and humming a nameless and foreign tune.
I loved it.
We changed into our suits there in the wilderness. I definitely recommend a robie or supertowl for adventure swimming. It’s basically two towels sown together with a head hole and arm holes that loosely hangs over you, so you can change underneath it. It’s the best thing in the whole world!
Once appropriately attired, we left our rock and swam off into the mid-morning. We made it to the island in no time and paused to check in. We were all a bit disappointed that Silver Lake was not as clear as we were promised. Bob and Deb had several theories – perhaps it hadn’t turned over yet, perhaps it wasn’t as acidic as it had been 30 years ago, or perhaps the heavy rainfalls had contributed to its turbidity. Whatever the reason and regardless of the clarity, it was a beautiful place to swim.
We swam around the back side of the island and up to one of the two lonely cabins on Silver Lake. I wasn’t sure how anybody had ever built anything there or why. There weren’t any fish in Silver Lake, so fishing was out. Perhaps it was for hiking? I wasn’t sure.
We paused at the docks and as we began to swim away, I caught sight of something floating ahead of us.
“What is that?” I asked, unable to make it out. “Is it a stick?”
I couldn’t take my eyes off of it and didn’t understand why. I was somehow able to realize that it was moving too fast through the water to be an inanimate object, yet I couldn’t quite place what exactly it was.
“It’s a snake!” Deb declared.
“Really?” I asked.
I had never seen a snake swim before! We watched it swimming away from us as fast as it could go, commenting that we had frightened it. We were all intrigued and wanted to get a closer look, but at the same time, a little too uncertain to get too close. None of us had ever met a snake in the water before!
“That just increased the Peril of this particular adventure swim,” Bob determined.
Once the snake had made his way toward the shore, we continued our swim. Fighting off a horde of deer flies, we swam over to check out a beaver hut. I have seen beavers near areas where I swim and they make me nervous, so I opted to be the photographer of this excursion and not to get too close.
At that point, we made our way back to our little alcove with the rocks and the sun and the happiness. Deb and I floated and took in the plant life on the bottom of the lake. I snapped some pictures and learned about carnivorous plants, which was pretty awesome.
We changed out of wet suits and into dry clothes and sat in each other’s company, enjoying the sun and our lunch and watching the water to see what we could see. In a lake where there are no fish, there are a lot of bugs and other things! We marveled at the abundant life and Bob and Deb were quick to identify the different plants and creatures about us. I sat and absorbed it all.
For the hike back, we hung our wet suits on the outside of our backpacks so they could dry. We left Silver Lake for what felt like a much shorter hike back to the parking lot. Some part of me felt like I was leaving a gemstone behind. I wonder if I will ever get the chance to go back and to share the adventure with others.
How many adventures can fit into one life? I’m not sure, but I sure hope some of them happen twice.