Being at the ranch means swimming, almost every day, often more. In the early spring, before the waters of the lake came up, I would wade waist deep before gathering the courage to duck dive into the turquoise water. Early summer brought warmth for a while, but this was broken up by the time spent up the valley, meaning we had to take frigid dips into both the Solér and the Cacho rivers.
The new dock was completed just as the waters rose, and jumping off the end became a favourite pastime, especially when high pressure systems kept the waters still and the surface warm. The times when you could float on the warm layer of the lake without risking hypothermia seem a long way off now.
Jumping in the lake remains one of the first things on the priority list after returning from a hike, be it the from Cacho, the Chilko, or Valley 1, and the cold waters give the muscles free treatment and the mind a new slate. Recently, with the mornings getting darker, I've tried to develop the habit of waking up with a swim. Mornings are often the most wind-still hours of the day, and the lake looks much more inviting when I can discern the reflections of the Moon and Venus. Only darting like sardines when the ripples from my steps reach them.
Through the calm I wade, shoes crunching on the rocks, the pebbles, then sand. Soon I'm up to my torso and with a short breath take a dive, into the dark green, turquoise, light green, and back to air. Always stumbling out, reaching for my towel, for warmth, and with a little feeling of accomplishment.