Seven lakes* in seven days

Saturday at Strawberry: Here’s where we spent our time at Strawberry Reservoir.
Saturday at Strawberry Reservoir. This water was cold!

*Rules: A reservoir counts as a lake…So does a creek.

Saturday: Drove to Strawberry Reservoir with Lynn and his son, Michael.

The lady at the park station told me that I’d die if I swam in it. She pretty much made it impossible to turn down.

Yes, it was very cold. But once I got used to it, I was good to go.

Sunday and my re-upped State Park pass.

Sunday: Drove to Utah Lake and, being that it was Sunday, swam reverently on West side of the marina, in a little bit of chop. I swam a slow 27 minutes for a 1/2 mile.

Monday: Drove south with every intention of swimming in Chicken Creek Reservoir (funny name.) I was shocked to see that the entire reservoir was dried up and that all that was left were little mud patches with some grass. I’d like to know more about CCR and if they are just controlling the flow of water.

It didn’t rank up with Bouys, but it was still eerie and spooky to look at.

So I left, dejected and considered driving North to Mona Reservoir, but saw a sign for Yuba Lake (10 miles south) and took it up on it’s offer.

When I arrived at Yuba Lake, I saw that there was an eight dollar fee for a day pass. I knew I’d only be there for an hour or so, so I blew by the station and prayed no one would catch me.

Just kidding. Actually I agonized over the fact that all I had was a ten dollar bill. I looked all over for more change, but gave up, only coming up with 7 dollars. I paid the ten dollars (I mean, it’s for the lakes, right?) and drove over some of the finest sand I’ve ever beheld.

I walked past some rough-looking people, who seemed a little amused when

Monday at Chicken Creek Reservoir- all dried up.

I clipped on my Swim Safety Device and entered the water.

The first thing that was obvious was how much warmer the water was than Utah Lake or (especially) Strawberry Reservoir.) It probably has something to do with the elevation of The Strawberry (almost 8000 feet!) Here at Yuba, it was only 5000 feet (btw, Utah Lake sits at 4500 feet.)

Monday at Yuba Lake Entrance


Monday at Fee station for Yuba Lake
Monday at Yuba Lake: Water rolling over the softest sand your feet have beheld.
Monday at Yuba Lake: This water is slightly clearer than Utah Lake’s drink. You can see (if you squint) the buoy that I swam out to.
Monday at Yuba Lake: To the left (and out of frame) are some of the rough-looking people. I didn’t dare let them think I was shooting their pictures, because, after all- it was only me.

So I swam out to what has become a symbol of all that I fear and must conquer- a buoy.

One of the great things about Yuba Lake, compared to Utah Lake, is that I can actually see my hands a bit. It was actually weird to see my hands plunging into the water and disappearing behind me. In Utah Lake, I can’t see my hands at all. It is so dirty (not contaminated) that my world goes dark each time I swim that body of water.

The cool thing about this, is that, there is no body of water that I can’t swim. I’ve swam blind in some very choppy water, so not a lot surprises me, anymore.

As I made my way around the buoy, I sort of freaked out, again. I try to keep about 10-20 feet between me and a buoy at all times.

In the last two days, I’ve learned that there are many people who have the same irrrational fear.

But I made my way around the mark and headed back. This is one of my favorite swims, so far. Beautiful water and nice rolling waves- nothing too difficult.

Tuesday: After work, I managed to convince Lynn, my trusty brother in law, to go to Jordanelle Lake with me to complete my forth open water swim in four days.

We drove out to the lake, parked and immediately identified some major chop.

The water was pretty intimidating for us and I’m not sure how I would have approached this swim if I were alone. There is always strength (or stupidity) in numbers, and we had both at the time.

I jumped in, first against the waves coming in. The buoy we had identified as a goal didn’t look too far from shore, but once we were in, it was easy to lose in the waves.

And by the way, that’s sort

Tuesday at the Jordanelle Reservoir: Right before Lynn’s first open water swim. This was one of the choppiest swims I’ve done.

of the point. My thought process (yes, I have one) is that if I can handle bad chop and tricky conditions, it won’t throw me off so much when it’s time to compete (or in my case, attempt to finish a race.)

We rounded the buoy and had a quick conference. It was decided that we’d swim paralel to the lake to the next buoy, then head back in. This was some slow-going swimming. We had to time our breaths with the rise and fall of waves, adjust bilateral breathing to only one side, to the other side, etc. I find this kind of swimming fun, because you have to really think and keep making adjustments to your stroke.

When we got back to shore, we’d only gone 1/2 a mile. But we were exhausted. The wind had whipped up the lake and we’d had a good challenge.

If cornered, I think Lynn would admit it was fun, too.

Me, struggling to remember where I am.

Wednesday: Arrived to Deer Creek reservoir and walked, barefoot, through the gravel and rocks to the shore (my plug for barefoot running- it’s weak, I know, but it’s all I’ve got right now.)

I observed my audience on the beach as I walked into the rolling water. I’m getting used to these looks. It may not be so much me or my swimming, as it is the blown up orange bag floating behind me.

Of course, straight out in front of me, the buoy awaited. The reason that buoys are are handy for open water swimming, is because they make excellent sighting marks. This, combined with my fear of them, makes for wonderful TV (or watching from shore.)


The water was cold enough and I got going to warm up. The waves were rolling over my head, just as they did at Jordanelle, yesterday. It wasn’t nearly as intense as Jordanelle, so I pressed on without too much concern.

Very nice view, facing west.

I rounded the buoy (with the traditional 20 feet of buffer) and headed back. I ran almost into a group of children, so I veered south, down the shoreline and then back to finish.

Analysis after my fifth swim for the week: My left shoulder hurts a bit. I’m going to have to be careful over the next couple of days. No need to get injured before the season really gets going.

BTW, I should mention that I loved this swim and the creek. There were some jet skis out there, but they stayed on their side of the buoys and I stayed on mine (save it be for the 20 foot arc.)

Thursday: East Canyon Reservoir after work.

The drive to East Canyon Reservoir is beautiful.  Apparently, so are the clouds.
The waters were much calmer at East Canyon Res. Not glass, but good enough.
Finished, but a little disappointed that .67 miles wasn’t 1.2 miles.  6 days in a row of open water…it’s starting to wear on me.  After tomorrow, I’m taking a break.

Decker Lake

Drawings from me and Court in 1985, in the Neal Dow Newspaper

May 9, 1985 drawings from me and Courtney, depicting our father’s business, Kirby Co. of North Valley, Chico, Ca.

Courtney was always a great artist.  I can remember, vividly, how disappointed I was in my drawings after I got a glance on one of his.

However, to be fair to myself, I should have received points for being somewhat wordy and getting Dad’s vacuum cleaner business’ phone number in the ad.