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Digital Subscriptions > Cottage Life > SUMMER 2018 > In It for the Long Crawl

In It for the Long Crawl

No quick dips here! Whether they take on a distance challenge or flutter kick their way around the whole lake, these swimmers go the extra mile (or 30!)
Stride-jumping Tory McMahon (with Ardith Easton, opposite, and at far right on previous spread, with fellow Crane Lake swimmers) says the best part of their swims is experiencing the lake at eye level. “You see it in a different way.”
photography DANIEL EHREN WORTH

To swim OR NOT to swimwas never really a question. It was the audacity of the idea that evolved slowly, a project so consuming that the cottagers planned the finish with military precision. As it turned out, the finish didn’t exactly happen as planned.

But let’s start at the beginning. The location: Crane Lake, about 15 km south of Parry Sound, Ont. Deep, dark, and clean and surrounded by thick pine forest, half of it Crown land, it’s the last lake in a series that flows down the Blackstone River into Georgian Bay. The characters: a core group of about 10 cottagers, now mostly retired and looking for a project. The plan: an epic swim, covering 45 km.

“We’d already swum the length of the lake,” Monica Gemeinhardt explains, and someone came up with the idea of swimming around the lake. They decided to take it easy, in stages, recording their route along the lake’s shoreline on a map and marking off each section of the perimeter as they completed it. At first, there was no hurry, no deadline. (That came later.) “We all like to swim. We were doing long swims anyway. We just had to make it official.”

Not that an “official” swim at the cottage is unusual. The day a child or grandchild makes it across open water to a special rock or other landmark is a right of passage, a cause for celebration. For some, the accomplishment turns into an annual event, as it did for a group of cottagers at Pointe au Baril, Ont., on Georgian Bay, who participate in the White Star Swim every summer. Founder Faye White started it in the early ’90s for her daughters, Brooke and Devon, who were about 11 and 10 years old and looking for adventure.

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About Cottage Life

Summer is the time to kick back and relax in the pages of the Summer 2018 issue of Cottage Life. You’ll read about a unique book club of remote islanders that comes together each year to bond over the love of a good story. Then, take a page out of their book and dive into our summer reading guide with all-star book suggestions and summer must-reads. Plus, do you have the classic cottage bookshelf? Enter to win a prize by taking our cottage bookshelf quiz and sharing your Cottage Shelfie pics. Then, meet cottagers who aren’t satisfied with just a quick dip, and find out how to take on a swim challenge at the lake. Feed unexpected guests with our 7 easy dockside treats: happy hour recipes and solutions to make your next dock party a no-sweat affair. That said, if you’re the type to relax by keeping busy, we have a tool box full of puttering projects to consider: fix a broken cooler hinge, build a marshmallow catapult with the kids, quit stubbing your toes with this clever new dock hardware, get on top of exterior maintenance, and be inspired by a 20-something who DIY’d a sweet little cabin of his own on his parents’ back 40. Plus, read our essential guide to keeping your cottage road in shape—how to finally tackle potholes, washboarding, and beaver dams. Grab our Summer 2018 issue, fire up the old autoreply, and lie back in the hammock. Summer’s finally here!