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Nine Lakes, One Day: the Plan
General News · 19th August 2014
Carrie Saxifrage
People have asked me about what nine lakes we will swim and how we will do it in one day. So here is the rough plan as it now stands.

The swimmers will meet at Mansons Lagoon dock at 5am on August 24 and Jason Andrews will take us up to Robertson Lake. Madhurima will be on board to help with the boat. It’s a five minute walk from the ocean to Robertson Lake. Once there, we will make our way across the log jam to jump in. We hope to be swimming by 6am. At the end of Robertson Lake, we will clamor through the swampy connection to Wiley. There are submerged dead trees so we will have to be careful not to injure our feet on branch stubs. It is a very slimy, muddy passage. Then we will swim Wiley. Robertson and Wiley Lakes combined are roughly a 2.7 km swim, the second longest of the day. Madhurima will meet us at the old log raft at the far end of Wiley with our shoes. We will hike out to Von Donop (1-2km) where Jason will be waiting with the boat.

Jason will take us to the outflow of Cork Lake into Sutil Channel. There used to be a decent trail to Cork Lake from Von Donop but when I scouted it this summer, I couldn’t find it. It took me two hours to hike to Cork by way of the outflow into Von Donop and two hours back by a different route, also a bushwhack. It was extremely difficult, even by my standards. By comparison the outflow to Sutil seemed much better but it is still about an hour of bushwhacking. The other swimmers went up on Mark’s boat a few weeks ago to check it out. This was a big relief for me. Some people think I overemphasize the fun parts of adventures and underemphasize the difficulties. Now everyone on the team has seen it for themselves and knows what we are in for. And they are still into it. Yay, team! It will take close to an hour to hike in. We might swim Cork Lake together and in silence because it is such a wild, beautiful place. We will swim across to the floating peat swamp. It’s about 1.5 km round trip and could take close to an hour if we breast stroke as we plan. (The rest of the swims will be mostly crawl). Then we will hike an hour back to the boat.

From there Jason will zoom us down to Carrington Lagoon where Christine Robinson will be waiting. She has been a part of all of the big ocean swims that Chloe, Noel and I have done. She will guide us to Blue Jay Lake (2.7 km unless there are new trails, I haven’t scouted this and am relying on Christine). There was some talk of biking this portion but we have decided to walk it. Christine will carry our shoes as we swim Blue Jay (.7 km) and then guide us to Delight Lake, aka Little Barretts, a 1 km hike and less than a .5 km swim. Then she will guide us up to Nutshell, about 1.5 km of walking and a very short but very lovely swim.

Deva or Mira will take us in the Braaten’s van back to Mansons Lagoon where Mark’s canoe will be waiting. We will paddle to the cove from which you can walk into Anvil Lake. We will swim all the way across Anvil and back (.5 km hike, less than a .7 km swim). Then we will paddle back and be driven to the public boat ramp on Gunflint for our longest and last swim of the day, about 3.5 km to the Sandy Beach.

My time estimate, which I hope and think is generous, is 14 hours. So we may arrive at the Sandy Beach at about 8 pm. We will let Leah know of our progress when we reach cell range on our way to and from Anvil Lake so if people are tracking us, they will have some idea of when we will arrive.

I think our challenge will be to fully enjoy all the amazing places where we will be swimming and not rush through them because we feel worried about whether we can complete the swims or not. I think swimming all nine lakes in one day will be epic and memorable and we will be entirely exhausted. But it is quite doable and we will be inspired how much we love the lakes and by the honor of creating a rallying point for people to give money for the good of the lakes.

You can make a donation at

I also want to mention that Leah Seltzer is a huge part of the team, helping get the word out, managing the donation part of it and generally uplifting our efforts with her hard work and good spirits. At the same time, she is doing everything necessary to get the lake sampling started which is not an easy task given that the samples have to be delivered on ice to a lab on Vancouver Island within a very short time after sampling. Yay, Leah!!!