My Problems Swimming in Wyoming

Wyoming, as most campers and outdoor adventurists know, is a state rich with adventuring opportunities. When I went to Wyoming this past summer, I was amazed by the diverse wildlife and beautiful sights. I saw all kinds of wildlife, like buffalo, beautiful birds, elk, bears, wolves, and amazing trees. Since I went with Boy Scouts, we went to a Boy Scout camp back in the woods.

At every camp, you have to take a swim test if there’s water around that’s available for you to play in. Last time, we went to Catalina Island, off the coast of California. Let me tell you, that water was pretty dang cold. Anyway, I was thinking this swim test in the lake might be a bit warmer. The sun was shining and the water looked sort of refreshing. However, this feeling of comfort soon started flying downhill when I heard what some people were saying.

One of the kids down the line in front of me asked if the water was cold. A lifeguard nearby said that he thought that it was pretty cold. The ICE THAT COATED THE LAKE had only finished melting a couple of months ago. So wait. Back up there. There was a coating of ICE on the lake. And I’d be taking a swim test in it? Sign me out! Now I know why it was called a glacial lake. Unfortunately, though, the test was mandatory, so I took the get-in-get-out fast thought process.

As I jumped in to the water from the dock, time seemed to slow down for a second. Too bad it didn’t stop. I plunged into the ice-cold water in a rush of bubbles and it felt like a giant hand was slowly crushing my chest. I came up gasping for breath and then noticed that my vision was more blurry than it had been before I jumped in. That’s when I remembered I had my contacts on. Oh crap, I thought. Now I’m going to lose my contacts. I braced myself on the dock as I blinked. A contact came out, but I put it back in. A lifeguard came over and asked if I was ok. I said I was having contact trouble. She volunteered to hold them for me, but luckily my eyes were less watery and my contacts decided to stay in place. I said “no thanks” and continued on with the swim test.

By the time I got out, my head felt like it was splitting in two and I felt like I’d drop dead any second. As I walked back to my towel and shoes, I noticed that I was very light-headed and my ears really hurt. Luckily I knew this was from the cold or I might have really panicked. I got dried off and soon felt better.

Going to Wyoming is really cool, and the sights are amazing, but if you aren’t into cold water, don’t try swimming in a glacial lake. Also, here’s my advice for the day: do NOT wear your contacts while swimming. It will probably not end well. Now, wearing them on a really dusty hike…well, that’s another story.

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