It's a hot and dusty day on the McCarthy Road and you're starting to think of things in terms of relief. You may be imagining the end of the drive, or maybe it's the vision of a cold beer sliding down your throat that gives you comfort. Long Lake provides you with another, more immediate, option.
As you near the end of the lake closest to McCarthy you may see a car or two parked on the side of the road. If not, you may see a spot where you can pull over and walk down to shore. There is a rudimentary dock used by locals to park their canoes/boats for getting home to the other side. The challenge is jumping in without making so much noise as to startle the neighborhood. You'll see residences across the lake—please be respectful . Although there are plenty of small ponds to jump into along the McCarthy Road, this is the easiest place to get in without sinking in muck.
Although chilly, this is not a glacially-fed lake, and the temperatures on a sunny day are reasonable enough to take a dip. Long Lake drains into the Lakina River, into the Chitina River, into the Copper River, into the Pacific Ocean. There can be up to 30,000 salmon returning each year to Long Lake for spawning. This salmon run is not open for fishing, although there are plenty of stories of large bears taking their share. If salmon in the lake deter you from swimming, just remember that they stopped feeding long ago.