Wednesday night, I took my family down to Utah Lake, where we spent some time at a nice beach area. I’d seen this place a couple of times on my last two swims and finally decided to venture to the south side of the marina.
On my way home, I knew that this could be an interesting trip. I’d been hit by a gust of wind, while commuting southbound on I-15, that pushed my truck to the east by about two feet and had to recover, quickly. So I knew that things at the GUL (we’re going tomake this stick) could be…exciting?
We packed the van and I secured my Equinox 10.4 kayak on top of our Toyota Sienna. I definitely prefer taking the ‘yak in the Tacoma, because I don’t have to lift the kayak above my head- I just sort of slide it from the tailgate, up to the roof of the truck and strap ‘er down. With the van, it’s a little more of a trick, because (for those of you who have been playing at home) I have been dealing with a broken hand. It’s mostly healed, but is tender, still.
So when we arrived at our designated place, the wind was really blowing. My wife was doubtful, but we piled out, anyway. We ate the sandwiches Wendy (my wife) made and concentrated on not letting the ziplock bags fly away.
I gave each of the girls a ride on the kayak. The wind turned out to be a blessing in two ways: First off, it made the kayak ride a LOT more fun for the girls. They like waves and going up and down on the water, so this was quite exciting (We stayed in the marina, so it wasn’t unmanageable.) Lucy can still fit down in the cockpit with me, but both Roxie and Reagan have to sort of go “crow’s nest” and sit on the deck with their feet inside of the kayak. It makes things a little unstable, but it’s probably more exciting for them, because they sway from left to right a little more than they would, lower to the water.
Ah, right…the second way the wind turned out to be a blessing- After we all got out and I’d strapped the kayak back down on the van, I noticed that everyone was starting to get either cold or a bit anxious to get out of the wind. So I jumped into the water for a quick swim.
The water was cold (I’d sort of had this inclination, since the girls and I were splashed quite a bit as we hit waves, etc., but water always feels different when you’re submerged in it.) I swam out toward the middle of the marina (there was hardly any traffic) with my Safe Swimmer’s Device.
Just like the last swim in Utah Lake, the waves were piling over my head. I swam against current for the first half of this swim, concentrating on spotting and keeping calm (even after a full year, I’m still a newbie in this open-water thing.) I should also note, that, I’ve located my greatest stumbling block in open water. It’s not the cold, current, waves- it’s my worry of boats. I am hypersensitive about this. I never swim consistently, because I’m constantly turning about to spot traffic. I think I’m justified in this worry, but also- I probably overdo it a bit.
I also remembered something from last year about choppy water- it’s exhausting. Swimming when waves are falling on you requires a bit of skill. It takes timing your breaths so that when you come up for air, you quickly make an adjustment of how far you must turn your head. The water levels are inconsistant (up and down with each wave), so you must get used to feeling your body rise and take that breath. When your body is down and waves are falling, you might have to wait a cycle for your air. Sometimes, the water is just flat out inconvenient. Since last year, I’ve learned to breathe on both sides of my body.
Here’s what it might look like: Right hand stroke, left hand stroke, right hand stroke and breathe on the right side- Left hand stroke, right hand stroke, left hand stroke and breath on the left side. These are nice, long (and slow) strokes. BUT if the waves are crashing down over me from the right-hand side, I might have to just opt for breathing on the left. You change with the water and circumstance. All of this will affect when you spot (and how often.)
When I finally turned around, the waves were behind me, so it was a fast trip back to shore (I should have mentioned that swimming out against waves is slow going.) I reached the shore and actually felt pretty good. My body felt better than it did before I got in the water. Not too many sports can provide that kind of feeling after a hard effort.
All in all, it was a nice trip to The Lake with my family. I hope that, over time, this becomes a favorite spot for us. I have some great memories of my parents taking us down to the Butte Creek, which was within a quarter mile of our home, growing up. There was a rock that we’d swim to and jump off of. I remember the water always being a little cold, but it was where I learned to swim and play in natural water (pools at friends homes would come later.) Hopefully my kids will get the sense that we live in an amazing place and have so many incredible natural resources to use and need to take care of them…
…but that’s another post.