It’s been over a week since a young man drowned jumping into Windermere Wells.
Much of my youth was spent trailing behind my father or on my own through thick brush, following creeks and trails to small water holes.
One of the places we spent a great deal of time was Twin Lakes, now renamed Windermere Wells. As the name suggests it was two lakes joined by a narrow area that had a bridge. I often fished the deep lake surrounded by cliffs, where as, my Father fished the bigger shallower lake.
The advantage to fishing the deep lake was the fish could be seen around your hook. Some would swim by, some would nudge and often they would bite.
The Lakes had to be walked into. The road leading to a mine was above the lake. Later a logging road was put in below the lake, but was nearly impassable due to mud and the creek flooding over it’s banks.
It was only when the gypsum mine moved and commissioned and improved the logging road that the walk to Twin was visible, allowing a shorter walk.
During the eighties off roaders pushed roads over creeks and through the brush to the shores of the lake.
It became a party spot. We stopped going. Now it is an area tourists and locals go to jump the cliffs and swim.
When we were kids we described the deep lake as bottomless. A trail ran past the lake to deliver hunters and trappers to the Kootenay Valley. My Grandfather was one who often used the trail.
Natural science labels the lake a gypsum sinkhole. There is many on the backside of Swansea, this is one of the few filled with water from Windermere Creek.
A story was told, when I was a youngster, how a pack horse fell from the bridge into the deep water never to be seen again.
Although the water is clear, once swimmers start pulling themselves up the clay/gypsum sides the water turns murky, not allowing visibility past the surface of the lake.
If a diver hits the surface awkwardly and looses their breath their friends can not rescue them in the cloudy water. Trained divers almost always have to be brought in to recover the body.
Windermere Wells is becoming increasingly popular, however care should be taken, as it is known for more than a few deaths. One every few years now.