As a teenager; long before it became sort of a ‘destination park’ for people to hike the trail, see the sights and then add it to their bucket list; we used to come here to escape the heat and the world we knew. Close enough to be a day trip, no matter how hot the weather, the water was always deep and clear and cool.
Harsh light on a harsh landscape. Shoulders and head bobbing on the surface, arms outstretched and floating, your feet sink down below the thermocline to the chilly water stuck below. A flick of the head and a quick churn of limbs and you are propelled towards the shore to float between rocks and their giant fractures. Your body rising and swaying on large gently rolling swells arriving from the deep.
You join a world of constant motion like a jelly-fish, turn over and floating face down, soar above a vast underwater escarpment like an airship from another age. Lost in that special combination of youth and imagination, borne aloft on buoyant water while trying to imagine whether one day you’ll really fly.
Less than 100 metres off this shore, the depths of the water reach down more than 60 metres.
With 20-25 metres of visibility underwater this area is a phenomenal place to swim. While the water at the surface may reach 20C in the summer heat, the mean temperature year round is an enormous 4C. Stretching 320kms north and south and 80 kms wide, it acts like a giant cooler along with the other great lakes.
I grew up along it’s shores and return to it often in my mind and heart.