Some years ago, when we lived in Vermont, I got it into my head to swim across Lake Champlain. It seemed easy; there was New York just a couple of miles away. But it turned out to be pretty complicated:
--One needs to train, this wasn't hard. I swam at the UVM pool the Winter before and I got a beach pass and swam at North Beach every day after work through the Summer. By late Summer I was ready.
--One needs to find a place to start and a place to end and they need to be roughly across from each other and neither too far apart nor too close.
This second one was very hard. There were not a lot of public beaches or other access points across from each other. I found only one route that I thought would work: Essex NY to Charlotte VT.
Now 16 years later, I was searching for information on current ice conditions for Lake Champlain and found an article from last Summer in the Burlington Free Press where a group of 14 swam the lake. Their route: Exactly the same as mine--except they went in the opposite direction. This was very gratifying. I thought that my choice was systematic and rational but I had nothing to compare it against. Seeing that somebody with no connection to me came up with the same solution makes me think it was a pretty good solution.
I believe that my direction was better though. From the NY side, you cannot easily tell where the Charlotte beach is located. From the VT side, you can easily see the buildings of Essex. So my route makes navigation much easier.
Added: Images from the event (I took digital pictures of the photographic prints in an album)
Here I am with my mom and oldest girl (the other two children were not born yet).
Here I am with Andy. We swam "together" which means we started together but he was much faster and so was dressed by the time I came to shore. He was a monster and probably would have finished an hour ahead of me even without his wet suit. I went the Speedo route.
A shot just as I prepared to get out of the water. My daughter on the shore, nonplussed at me showing up and asking why I was swimming.
Kate Walsh O'Beirne R I P
41 minutes ago