We spent yesterday in Anchorage watching a bunch of crazy people.
How do I know they were crazy?
Well, see, they were jumping into Goose Lake.
For those of you for whom the craziness is not immediately apparent, allow me to explain: see it’s Alaska, in winter. Yesterday in Anchorage it was about –6F. The top four feet of Goose Lake itself is frozen. Solid. The water underneath is about 31 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to jump into it, a large hole had to be chopped through the ice with saws. Then, these crazy people showed up in bathing suits, and gorilla suits, and clown suits, and so on and so forth, and variously jumped, dove, and bellyflopped into the water.
It’s called Freezin’ for a Reason at the Polar Plunge. It’s an annual event in Anchorage.
It’s a heck of a lot of fun – as long as you’re not one of the people jumping into the water – and it’s for a good cause. This year the Plunge raised over $271,000 for Alaska Special Olympics. A couple of folks from my wife’s company were participating, so we bundled up and made a day of it.
I thought you might like to see some of the pictures I took.
It’s not quite as an insane as it might first appear. Ok, scratch that, it is completely as insane as it appears – but there are a lot of safety precautions taken too. There are warming shelters and free hot soup for everybody (both those who take the plunge and those who don’t), there are specially trained paramedics on hand with special equipment for dealing with hypothermia – something Alaska paramedics know a bit about. Those guys standing in the water are Anchorage fire/rescue dressed in arctic survival suits and there are more AFD guys on the ice to assist folks out of the water. Those step ladders are placed at the edge of the hole to make it easy for the plungers to get out of the water. Volunteers hand out giant towels and help people to the warming tents if needed.
Still, you get cold just standing on the ice. Dry. Fully covered. Wearing an Iditarod jacket. In snow pants. With a Blue Fox neck warmer. Seriously.
My Wife, Becky
Imagine being soaking wet.
Still, they appear to be having fun. Like I said, insanity.
After it was over we went back to the truck and turned the heater to full blast.