Lake George was working hard on Labor Day. I know because I was working just as hard. A stiff breeze from the south and swarms of motor boats had stirred up a chaotic chop. It had been calm at Mossy Point when we launched our canoe and headed up lake. But with Cooks Mountain hovering on our right and Rogers Rock starting to peek over a low shoulder things began to get interesting. A long north-south fetch (30 - 40 miles) with steep mountains on either side creates a wind tunnel effect that can range from challenging to capsizing for small boats.
Today it was just right. The waves didn't have me reviewing my nonexistent life insurance policy, but they did bring a little surge of adrenaline to our adventure. Besides, when your destination is the best beach ever, a little rough water isn't going to stop you.
In this age of large dump trucks I don't know if the beach here is natural. The sand could be brought in or it could be built up by the lake. The beach faces south into the prevailing wind and waves, which would tend to pile up sand against the rocky projection of Black Point. The topo map shows a wetland across Tiroga Point road in back of the beach and this seems to be common pattern for natural lake beaches in the Adirondacks and Vermont. It's as fascinating a place for naturalists as it is for swimmers.
Before our beach vacation we had made a quick paddle down Ticonderoga Bay to Diane's Rock. This small, unremarkable island is visible looking north from Mossy Point in the middle of the channel. The rock's namesake was my mother-in-law and Gwenne wanted to see how it was doing. Diane Struble stood on the rock on August 22, 1958, got greased up with the (over) eager help of several men, and began swimming south. She didn't stop until she reached Lake George Village, 35 1/2 hours later at 10 p.m. the following day. Thousands of people were waiting for her there and when they hoisted her onto the dock she had become the first person to swim the length of Lake George, some 42 miles. There are plaques at either end of the lake commemorating her achievement and we wanted to see the one at the start. It's easily visible once you get close and reads:
For a nice story and photos of Diane's swim check out Barney Fowler's Adirondack Album, Copyright, 1974, published by Outdoor Associates, 1279 Dean St. Schenectady, New York 12304.
Gwenne is currently working on an oral history project of her mom's accomplishments collecting memories of people who knew her.