Four Lakes, Three Rivers, and a Canal

Four Lakes, Three Rivers, and a Canal


The 2011 open water season hasn’t even started yet, but I have an important announcement to make regarding my plans for 2012.

I call it the “Four Lakes, Three Rivers, and a Canal” Swim.

Mid-June of 2012 I’ll set off from the mouth of the Chicago River and swim 375 miles north to the Straits of Mackinac. From there I’ll swim the 250-mile length of Lake Huron to the St. Clair River, which will lead me (via Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River) into Lake Erie. I’ll then swim 250 miles across Lake Erie (hugging the Canadian shore) to Buffalo, where I will enter the Erie Canal. From there it’s 360 miles to the Hudson River near Albany. Finally, I’ll take a 140-mile “victory lap” down the Hudson to New York City!

“As the current flows,” it’s about 1,500 miles from Chicago to New York. I figure it will take me about 4 months: 2.2-2.5 mph swimming pace, 6-8 hours a day of swimming, with a little extra time built in for unforeseen contingencies and slow canal locks.

I’ve assembled a world-class support crew: my wife, our cat, former president Jimmy Carter (for moral strength), and a local outdoorsman (i.e., street person) here in Chicago, whom I recruited for his scavenging skills. Did I forget to mention? After each stage we will set up camp along the shore. As it’s not feasible to carry four months’ of supplies in two kayaks, we will “acquire” our next day’s supplies at each stop. In more rural areas, this will necessitate scavenging and possibly hunting.

I’m also happy to announce that the swim – which I will be promoting by its catchy acronym “4L3RaaC” – will be a fundraiser for my favorite charity: Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled.

I’m super-excited. I wonder if this will get me on Open Water Wednesday?

N.B. 4/2/2011: This is an April Fools’ joke.

15 Responses to “Four Lakes, Three Rivers, and a Canal”

  1. Rob D.

    2011-04-01T09:04:38+00:00

    seems like a pretty reasonable endeavor, but which cat are you going to bring?

    Can I join you for the Chicago to Milwaukee leg? I’ve kinda always wanted to do that… just let me borrow Jimmy Carter and a kayak for a couple days :)

    Reply
    • Evan

      2011-04-01T09:35:38+00:00

      The one who can light fires, of course.

      Guest stage swimmers are always welcome! On a different topic, I wonder what sort of adventure beard I can grow in 4 months?

      Reply
      • Rob D.

        2011-04-01T10:08:21+00:00

        well I would start growing it now so that you’re appropriately bearded for such an adventure when it begins… I’ve got about a year’s worth of growth in the longest spots in mine and I can hide credit cards and iphones in there now!

        Reply
  2. Katie

    2011-04-01T09:57:58+00:00

    Too awesome. I find kitty support crews indispensable. And nothing like a street person and a former president to round things out a bit.
    p.s. I know it’s April Fool’s Day, but I am really hoping this is true

    Reply
    • Evan

      2011-04-01T10:15:30+00:00

      April Fools’ joke though it may be, I don’t think it’s an impossible swim. Assuming you had 4 months to spare and enough money/sponsorships to cover logistics & support. It’s fun to dream…

      Reply
  3. Garrett

    2011-04-01T11:22:24+00:00

    Outstanding April Fool’s joke.

    Outstanding because it’s 98% believable that you would do something like this, you crazy git.

    Reply
  4. Adam B

    2011-04-01T11:25:23+00:00

    I assume the cat is to keep the rabbits away from President Carter.

    Reply
    • Evan

      2011-04-01T11:45:54+00:00

      President Carter specifically requested counter-measures to avoid a replay of the incident to which you refer. I suggested the cat, and he agreed this was an efficient solution (can hunt own food, sleeps during the day, etc.). As you know this particular cat is quite gifted and we will be training him in spearfishing starting next month.

      Reply
  5. david b

    2011-04-01T16:03:08+00:00

    sweet, may i suggest that you take a small detour between rochester and utica to knock off a few of the finger lakes (length-wise of course). there are 11 of them.

    Reply
    • Evan

      2011-04-01T17:00:37+00:00

      Which are more beautiful – the odd numbered ones or the evens?

      Reply
      • Katie

        2011-04-01T21:46:28+00:00

        Definitely the evens. The odds are just, well, *odd*. p.s. This post is a TRIUMPH

        Reply
  6. IronMike

    2011-04-03T12:42:59+00:00

    Initially I was pissed that I hadn’t been asked to support, then I realized I had too much vodka at the banya.

    Reply

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