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Old 05-22-2009, 08:37 AM
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Hi all. Iím thinking seriously of retiring to the State of Washington. Iím looking for a place that will give me access to a lake or body of water that is suitable for distance swimming. I'm open at this point to all towns and cities in the state. Any thoughts? Thanks...Rich
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Old 05-22-2009, 09:30 AM
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Washington State is a big place, and it has a lot of lakes suitable for swimming for distance.
In the Seattle area, some meshugenehs swim year round in wet suits, and there are annual New Years day swims on Lake Washington beaches in Seattle and Renton...Another nice lake is Lake Wilderness in Maple Valley.
In central Washington, Soap Lake is an interesting place. The water has a reputation for it's healing properties, full of minerals and a bouyancy thing so that you float. The water has a silky feel to it, and it's in a much sunnier part of the state than Seattle, and is surrounded by pretty purplish coulees.
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Old 05-22-2009, 01:55 PM
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Look into Chelan. It's a nice smaller town on the dry side of the Cascades in Central Washington. It gets cold in the winter and hot in the summer. It's the lake you'll be interested in though. Lake Chelan is over 50 miles long and just over a mile wide. Towards the southern end the water is warm in the summer. Up on the far north side though, the lake is fed from glaciers and is barely above freezing even in July. The fishing is great too.

It one of my favorite areas in this state.

Map of Lake Chelan area
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Old 05-22-2009, 03:18 PM
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Where you live for this might also be determined by how much of a "polar bear" you are...
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:18 PM
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My mother, circa 1975...

"When I was a kid we swam in Puget Sound. Yes, it was a little cold, but we LIKED it! Sure, hypothermia would kick in at times, but darn it, we LIKED it! And then, have I told you the story of walking to school in the big snow of '50? Three feet on the ground, below 0 temps, but we LIKED it!"

(The same mother who later insisted on moving to Palm Springs)...such is life.
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Old 05-23-2009, 02:24 PM
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Ha! Me, circa 1967...

Yeah, it was early June and we had to break the ice off the lake, but so what, we LIKED it! That's the way it's SUPPOSED to be! Sure, after a couple of minutes you'd go blue, but, at least we had some color! Yeah, after a couple of more minutes, you'd have trouble breathing, but it was good for the ol' heart rate! Good, healthy living!
Later, we'd get the long underwear, the woolens, double up on the wet suits and go water skiing--you know, use the ice chunks for jumps--it was fun and built character!

Well, maybe I don't remember quite so well...

Did I ever tell ya about the winter of '68?
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Old 05-23-2009, 02:24 PM
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There are countless places to swim in lakes and the sound for distance, however hypothermia is a big problem. The average time before it sets in is approx 10 minutes. You would need to swim in protective gear at least and be trailed by someone who could fish you out when you get in trouble.
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:23 PM
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Ok serious answer.
Yukiko11 is right. The state's climate if extremely varied, but there really isn't anywhere I can think of that you'd find any year round swimming without hypothermia being an issue. There are places in the dry, warm east side that aren't really warm enough to swim comfortably until about July. Some lakes in the state are never comfortable enough.
That being said, there are places and ways to do it with proper precautions and gear.
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Old 06-10-2009, 04:51 PM
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I think the best place for distance swimming without worrying about motorized boats and all that is Beaver Lake near Sammamish, but Lake Meridian is also pretty good.
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