Happy year of the Water Tiger! I’m feeling pretty chuffed that I’ve now gone a full month of swimming every day. It seems somehow appropriate that today’s swim was truly peak commitment to this goal. I drove 627 miles from my beautiful niece’s house in Portland back home to Berkeley and I still managed to swim. Pretty proud of that.
Last spring we had a family vacation in Shasta where Kevin and I took lovely relaxing hikes while Eliza and Hazel skied. I was newly intrigued by open water swimming at the time and I brought my bathing suit everywhere we went in case there were places to go for a dip. There were many. My favorite was Lake Siskiyou and, when planning this road trip, I knew I’d have a slog of a last day and I also knew that Lake Siskiyou was on my route.
As soon as I saw Mount Shasta in the distance, I started getting excited and nervous. I knew where to find a beach at Lake Siskiyou and I knew I enjoyed swimming there last April, but I didn’t know what it would be like in early February, and going alone was daunting.
There was snow on the ground as I pulled into the parking lot and the temperature on my car read 39 degrees F. The wind was whipping. Lulu and I hiked down to the beach and I was pretty cold by the time I got there. I hesitated for a couple of minutes, took a few pictures, and then admonished myself to get undressed and get in. It wasn’t going to get any easier as I stood there getting colder.
It was cold (under 40, according to the Lake Monster website), but I felt surprisingly okay getting in until I submerged my hands and felt shooting pain up my wrists. I kept my hands out of the water after that, treading water and enjoying the view. There was a fairly strong current, which was fine for me, but I was afraid for Lulu. She was shivering on the shore, gazing anxiously at me and I worried she’d jump in to rescue me and be whisked away. So I stayed close to the shore and didn’t stay in very long. But it was gorgeous and I did it.