The morning greeted us with a radiant sun rising up over the high Sierras, its rays cutting through the perfect blue sky and shining strong, reminding us that although fall was only a couple of weeks away, its summer warmth was still in store for the day.
The swimmers gathered on the shores of Donner, surveying the water, like a sheet of glass stretching almost three miles across the length of the lake. Some, like me, had trained for this day for months, convincing themselves that the frigid water and the 6,000 feet of altitude wouldn’t get the better of them in their attempt to push their limits and accomplish what had seemed previously unfathomable. Others had decided that they would get into the swimming spirit in any way, shape, or form and be out in the open water, itself a significant challenge and accomplishment. And finally, there were all of the friends and family who would cheer and support from a kayak, paddle board or from the dry, rocky, tree lined shore.
I had been worried that the powerful and relentless winds and waves that Brita and I had swam through when we had trained here a month earlier would challenge all of us and make this feat harder, possibly even impossible for me, but thankfully Mother Nature decided to prove me wrong.
The winds were pleasantly absent, the water was refreshingly cold yet beautifully clear, and the boundless energy and positive spirit of everyone permeated through the smiles and faces of all the swimmers and supporters alike. Even the orange swim caps with our non-profit’s name and logo plastered on the side (a last minute addition to the event that arrived just in time) looked perfect countouring everyone’s heads, marking us all a part of this magical experience which had all started as a crazy idea in my head nine months earlier.
And so it was that after weeks and months of planning and training and visualizing how this would all go down, September 10th was upon me, and this goal within my larger goal of recovery which had consumed and motivated and driven me for so long was now about to be realized…
I could write volumes about this day, I could share way too many details about everything, about the incredible community that gathered together, all the people who volunteered their time and efforts to make it a smooth and seamless experience, of the serenity of the water as each passing stroke of my arms cut through its stillness and propelled me forward, of the astounding sense of accomplishment I felt upon the completion of swimming those five miles around the lake…
Suffice it to say that it was one of the best days of my life, one that I will remember forever, and as I think of the collective energy of that wonderful community who showed up, who took the time to drive up to the mountains and be at part of this first of all firsts, I will draw strength and passion and hope for future accomplishments and conquered objectives. And it looks like there’s a good chance that we may do this all again next year… 🙂
Little video capturing some of the awesomeness:
29 thoughts on “The Donner Party Swim”
Well done! I was just wondering if the swim had taken place yet. It looks like a beautiful day for everyone.
Yeah I was a bit late in posting about it but I got the story out I hope! Thanks for the support! -AB
Yes!!!! Well done Sir!!!
Thank you bro 🙂 -AB
Amazing!! I wish I was there!
Jaye to khali bood cuz -AB
Incredible day…so much positivity and an amazing community. The swim was hard, but I’d do that 100 times over to relive the experience with you, Arash. So bring it on again next year!
I think next year is looking like a must do I admit… Glad you enjoyed it too. I had such a great time. Thanks for being a part of it -AB
Amazing Arash jan. A huge congratulations. You are contagious. I am inspired and motivated today because of you.
Very kind of you, thank you -AB
A beautiful day, everything about it. Congratulations, can’t wait to see what you accomplish next 🙂
Me too 🙂 -AB
So wonderful and lovely!!! Thank you so much for sharing your awesome day with us! You are amazing. Big love!
Thank you for your support -AB
Looks like a superb day for a swim too.
It couldn’t have been a more perfect day -AB
Hey There….I am blown away by what you have done in the short time I have known you…God Bless you…call me sometime as you think about it…
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Saw Chuck in the City for a game in August, what a neat man….
Yeah Chuck came to the day! Was a great time. Hope you’re doing well. Best to you and your fam -AB
You never cease to amaze me! Glad you had such a good time 🙂
You gotta come out next year!! -AB
that’d be a blast!
So glad you did the follow up and video! Such an experience!
Glad you liked it -AB
Awesome (in the true sense of the word) and beautiful. Thank you for sharing this. You’re such an inspiration.
Thank you for your interest and support -AB
Congrats Arash! That’s such a long swim and it’s really impressive that you set AND met your goal. Love the caps and video too.
Thank you bro. We will definitely have to get you out next year for the swim -AB
Arash you are awesome! You are an inspiration to me . I knew you would be successful. Perhaps I can join you next year.
[…] Like everyone else, I’ve been doing my best to remain sane and healthy while staying at home and praying that COVID19 doesn’t get me. For years now, swimming has been my main form of exercise and I’ve never gone more than a couple of days without getting in the pool. The water is my happy place, where I can clear my mind, relieve my daily physical pain, and where I have the most physical freedom. (I’ve written about it many times like here, here and here). […]