What do you get when you add one day, 1,001 kilometers, and five Great Lakes? One jam-packed adventure.
On June 27, Derek Atchison and his 14-year-old son, Josh, and Derek’s brother, Darren, 39, set out on the crazy challenge of swimming in all five Great Lakes in just one day.
Armed with their swim trunks, a tight schedule, and a selfie stick, the trio took off from St. Mary’s, Ont. at 4 a.m. for Hamilton’s Confederation Park. Two hours later, they jumped into Lake Ontario.
“We were the only ones of the beach,” Atchison said in an interview with CBC Radio. “But the water was warm.”
Next, it was Lake Erie. They darted over to Port Dover and by 7:23 a.m., they were taking a selfie on the beach.
From there, they headed west to check off Lake Huron. Passing through London and Sarnia, they arrived six later hours in Linwood, Mich.
By 1:30 p.m., the family had already visited three of five the lakes. Despite a hold-up at the border, they were making good time.
After a short dip, they headed north towards Petoskey, Mich. to swim in Lake Michigan. After snapping their selfie, they just had one more lake to go.
The last stop on the journey was Lake Superior. The trio darted over to Brimley State Park and by 7:15 p.m., less than 15-hours from after they left, the trio was running into Lake Superior together.
“What an amazing feeling jumping into Lake Superior at the end of the day, after all that driving. It was pretty exciting,” Atchison said in an interview with the National Post.
With no time to spare, the trio only spent between 30-seconds to one-minute in each lake. That said, they did have time to stop for Tim Horton’s.
Atchison first devised the adventure after hearing a story about an Ontario father and son who attempted the challenge on a motorcycle in 2005.
“As soon as I heard that, I thought, ‘I’ve got to do it,’” said Atchison to the National Post. “It was an amazing adventure and we’re going to have memories that last a lifetime out of it. The experience of being in all five Great Lakes in a single day—I can’t explain it.”
With their mission accomplished, the family celebrated with three huge steaks and a big campfire. Not a bad way to end a long day.
What’s next for the trio? Swimming in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in one day.