June 12, 2018
What better way is there to celebrate the birth of the United States than by jumping out of your comfort zone (literally)? Well, probably relaxing and not having a care in the world. But not for me, not this year. Over the holiday break I went paddleboarding and managed to face my fear by diving head (hands?) first into the deepest part of Portsmouth Pit Lake.
Portsmouth isn’t just any old lake. Portsmouth Pit Lake is the deepest lake completely within the state of Minnesota. It has a depth of more than 450 feet according to the Minnesota DNR. It wasn’t always a lake but an open mine pit, up until it was abandoned more than 20 years ago (see below). Since then, the mine pit has filled with water, submerging trees, piles of waste rock and the rest of the mining pit. Yes, there are TREES underneath the water surface and other signs of past life in the depths of the lake, including folding chairs (also below).
I’m not sure what is scarier to me, swimming in a lake knowing that there is another world at the bottom or swimming in a lake not knowing what’s below. I’m going with both. Both are creepy. Anyway, my friends urged me to face my fear of not just swimming in a lake but diving into one, going deeper than I would have liked. It felt like I had been standing on my paddle board for hours just staring into the lake trying to overcome my anxiety when I finally went for it, knowing I would have regretted it if I didn’t.
Once I reached the surface of the water, I was in a panic scrambling to get back on my board. None of the trees or fish (that the DNR has stocked the lake with) touched me, so that was good. I survived. But it was still scary, OK?