Outdoor Adventures: Grand Lake’s Swim for Hospice | SkyHiNews.com

Outdoor Adventures: Grand Lake’s Swim for Hospice

Kristen Lodge/Outdoor Adventures
Grand County, CO Colorado
Photo by Jennifer Neumann

Karen Conger was last out of the water at the 2009 Grand Lake Swim for Hospice that benefited Heart of the Mountains Hospice, Inc. But that doesn’t bother her one bit. She finished strong and had a great time; and, she’s doing it again this year.

This summer she has been practicing open water swimming in Lake Granby by Rainbow Bay. She swims along the rocks, not far from shore for about a half mile each time. “It’s the best place to practice open water swimming. It’s beautiful out there.”

She has been told by several bystanders who watch her in amazement that she looks like she’s in her happy place as she swims. She’s been out there several times in July and August getting used to her wetsuit, the water temperature, and just getting comfortable in open water.

This year her motto is: “Just do it and finish strong.” As she becomes more comfortable swimming in open water she says, “There is nothing more refreshing than swimming in Rainbow Bay. I drive to Lake Granby with low energy and I come home full of energy and recharged for the rest of the day. There is something about open water swimming that is so refreshing.”

Her son will often come with her to watch from shore and one afternoon he saw an osprey fly down close to her head to check her out while swimming.

Karen is looking forward to this year’s swim now that she has one open water event under her belt: “There is no other event like this in Grand County. When you tell people you swam across Grand Lake – that means something. When you get out of water on the town beach at the end of the swim you feel like you really accomplished something great.”

Karen says the Grand Lake swim is really about educating people on hospice and the services they offer Grand County residents. Heart of the Mountain Hospice “creates options with dignity and integrity in providing high quality home hospice and respite care for individuals and their support systems within the communities of Grand County.”

While Karen finished the swim last, Grand Lake resident Kirk Oldham came out of the water first and fast. Despite the fact this event is not a competitive event, I hope there is someone reading this story who will challenge Kirk in the 60-degree water for a half mile swim on Saturday.

How to do it: Register online at http://www.grandcountyhospice.org or write a check for $100 on Saturday morning at the town beach in Grand Lake.

What you get: Bragging rights for the next year and a sense that you have given back to an organization that provides a needed service.

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