Monday, January 4, 2010

Polar Bear Paddle january 1th 2010


Let's start a new (for us) New Year's tradition by gathering at the swim beach at Rolling View Recreation Area on Falls Lake (off NC Hwy 98) and testing our cold water immersion gear.

Those of us with wet or dry suits (or just plain crazy polar bear suits) will take the plunge. After checking out our gear, we'll hop in our boats and go for a paddle.

After the paddle, we'll open our thermos bottles and pour a hot beverage (make mine extra dark!). Soup, chili, or whatever warms your innards! Bring something hot to share if you like!

This event is suitable for everyone who has appropriate cold water gear. Remember, the water is extremely cold, now, so dress appropriately.

We'll paddle 6-9 miles, after taking the plunge! And those who roll will get an ovation!

Note from Ginger : " Then reality set in.

Jan. 1 was cool and cloudy headed for a high of 48. An awful lot of us must have said, “Hmmmm. Do I have other plans? Hangover to soothe? Football on TV?”
In the end, many aspiring polar bears found other things to do on Jan. 1. But the hard core bears showed up at Falls Lake: Frank Ladd, Maria Gibson, Tamas Varga and Eva Klein, Ginger Travis and Craig Smith. No one rolled, so let’s call them polar bear cubs, not full-grown bears this year. (Something to aspire to in 2011!) And they did have a good time, paddling a leisurely 6-mile roundtrip from Rolling View up to Cheek Road bridge and back. Craig, at the takeout, came closest to immersion when he did some sculling for support and dipped his head in the water. “IT’S COLD!!!!!!!” he said. After that, it was time to peel off the layers of clothing (Ginger said it had been many a year since she asked a guy to undress her – it’s a drysuit joke; see photos), load the boats, and pig out on baklava brought by Tamas and Eva (and Eva, as usual, was the premiere event photographer). So here’s the wrapup from a couple of cubs the day after.

Ginger, Jan. 2 (after the temperature plunged overnight and did not get out of the 30s for most of the work week): “This morning I attempted to get my kayak off the roof of my truck. It was stuck. I couldn't figure out why it wouldn't budge -- until the light finally dawned. The kayak was frozen to the foam saddles. It's still up there. And it'll probably be tomorrow before I find a sunny place to park in hopes of melting my boat off. Happy new year!”

Maria, Jan. 2: “We did have such a good time – the weather was not too, too cold, the water had enough life to not be boring, and the shoreline was gorgeous in its stark barrenness. On the way back we were treated to a grand show of low and setting sunshine glinting merrily on the water and highlighting the gulls (musta been millions) resting on the water and then simultaneously taking flight. The bald eagle paid us no mind as we glided past his perch, since he also had an eye on the gulls. The heated bathroom and hot water were almost as welcome as Eva's treat of baklava (yum!) and new year’s hugs went all around. Thanks for making day one of this fine new year so awesome, fellow paddlers, what a way to start! And if the old adage holds true about what you do on the 1st is indicative of the whole year...? I can't wait for the rest of it….”

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