Adirondack Adventure Swimming: Rock Lake

We were all tired and probably hungry.  July 4th had been a long day of swimming, yoga, walking to swims, driving to swims, driving to food, packing up our stuff, and etc.  We had already swum in two lakes and now we were parked in the pull off for Rock Lake, the third.

This is your treasure map.
This is your treasure map.

Nobody wanted to admit it, but none of us really wanted to swim.

“Do you want to go down and just look at the water?” Deb asked.

The trail to Rock Lake.
The trail to Rock Lake.

I didn’t even feel like walking down to the water, but did not confess this.  I knew that as soon as I saw the water, I WOULD HAVE TO SWIM.  No choice.  Instinct would kick in.

“Sure,” Bob said.

And that was it for me.  I knew I was done.

“Let’s bring our suits in case we become inspired,” I said, reluctantly.

The chances of me actually getting into Rock Lake were not chances, they were certainties.  I had made far too many deals with myself when training to swim the Channel.  When I didn’t want to swim on a particular day, that was my number one deal with myself, “Well, just go look at the water.”  Riiiiight.  Sure.

I didn’t feel like swimming and wanted to take a nap, but I was going to go swimming…

Rock Lake is positioned along Routes 28 and 30 just up from Indian Lake, NY.  There is a 1.5 mile walk/hike to the water.  It might be shorter than that, it didn’t seem like it took us a long while to get to the lake.

With every step, I felt myself begin to recharge from my post-exercise, not-having-slept-well coma.  We passed a family with three blond little children bouncing up the trail.  What a great way to spend a family holiday, hiking to a lake or camping or adventure swimming.  We crossed a bridge built to support the winter snowmobile traffic and stumbled our way into a campsite.  It was pretty big and had a little path right down to the water.  I looked around the campsite and treasured it in my heart.  It was another place I wanted to come back to – this trip was full of them.

Rock Lake
Rock Lake

I looked up at the water and the last cold tendrils of resistance to swimming I had felt let go.  Dear God – had there ever been a body of water so beautiful?  That was always the way I felt when I looked at water – rivers, lakes, pools, ponds, the sea – I was spellbound and struck and impressed and humbled and smitten.

I longed to be a part of the unblemished, natural beauty before me.  If only for a moment.

I began to put my suit on.  Bob and Deb turned around from where they had been admiring the view to see that I was already beginning to get ready to swim.

“Are you going to swim?” they asked, surprised.

“Of course!” I replied, surprised by their surprise.

It wasn’t long until we were all in the water swimming.  The water was almost black, it was so darkly colored.  But it was clear- I could see my hands in the darkness.  It was just black.  It was just dark.  I especially loved it.

A perfect swim!
A perfect swim!

My back hurt pretty bad and almost immediately.  I only made it about halfway across Rock Lake.  Bob and Deb continued on as I took my time swimming back, too.  I snapped pictures as I leisurely navigated toward the shore.  I came across some fishermen and waved.

“Do you do this a lot?” One of the four young, burly fishermen asked.

“Yeah,” I replied.  “We find random bodies of water that people haven’t swum in before and we swim across or around them.”

“You couldn’t pay me enough,” One of them said.

“Do you know what’s in that water?” Another one said.

“We saw a snake swimming in one of the lakes,” I replied.

One of the fishermen, intimidating in appearance with sleeves of tattoos, shook his head.

“That’s hardcore.”

He looked like the kind of guy who would know about hardcore.  It struck me as strange that they were afraid of the water when under most circumstances, I would be afraid of them.  I mused to myself that this exchange would be entirely different if I had met these same four guys in an alley somewhere.   I briefly imagined several scenarios of them trying to catch me in the water… all of them made me giggle.

I’m hardcore!

The opening in the shoreline for our campsite access was very nearly impossible to see from out on the water.  The only way I knew where it was, was because Deb had left her neon yellow jacket on a tree.  I was grateful for that.

Note: It’s good to take a look at the landscape behind you when you are adventure swimming.  Swim a couple of minutes, turn around and note the treeline and the mountains behind it.  Pick a couple obvious markers so you can find your way back.  Or mark your spot with something bright.

I made it back to the shore just after Bob and Deb.  We changed back into our regular clothes and hung our suits from our backpacks to dry.  I told them about the fishermen and we all laughed.

We headed back to the car triumphant.  Fourth of July 2015 – we had swum in three different lakes in one day!  Our trip had encompassed four different bodies of water, some walking and hiking, logistics and, of course, a measure of peril.

Every single adventure swim is the best one, but this was definitely a trip to remember and to visit again, soon.

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