Polar Dip!

Trip Start Feb 28, 2010
Trip End Jul 18, 2010

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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Monday, June 21, 2010

My last day in Canada.
I feel the need to make this day special,
I feel the need to make it worthwhile,
I feel the need to do something different.
I feel the need...... to take the plunge. Literally.

This morning i woke up feeling like i was missing something, and i knew exactly what it was. The last month ive practically been living in the water as i discovered Colombia, Galapagos and Mexico, and to suddenly just give it up wasnt sitting right with me, so i looked out the window and with the sun barely beaming in, i made the decision to go for it. I was set to go swimming in the glacial melt of the Canadian Rockies. Sweet.

I was blessed with another sunny day in paradise so i decided to hop on a bike and peddle my way to cooper lake, a famous glacier fed lake where most of the locals go to sun bathe.
The ride was about 25 minutes up a highway amongst the Rockies till i reached a turn off that opened up into a valley where the lake sat there calling my name.

The white silty water glistened and reflected sheer mountain backdrop onto the ripplless glassy surface, she looked cold.
The time is about 12 noon and i decided to circle the lake on my bike a couple of times convincing myself that this is a good idea, and that i wasnt nuts...perhaps a little crazy but not nuts. In the end it all came down to one single thought: When do you get to come to the Canadian Rockies? When do you get to swim in glacial fed water? When do you get to take the plunge into a 4 degree lake? To me the answer was simple: Now!

The time had come.
As i stripped down and began my never ending journey toward the lake, i could sense the gaze of the sun bathing locals around me, at this moment i was under the impression this is what they do, this is normal to them, so i continued toward the water.
My first step in sent a trembling shiver up my spine almost automatically putting a stop to my next step in, but i continued.
Step after step i fell deeper and deeper into the freezing liquid and could feel the soft mushy silt squeeze its way through the gaps between my toes, struggling to keep myself upright i dug in a pushed on as the locals continued to stare.
As i stood there waist deep ice fighting every ounce of common sense my brain had to offer, i took one deep breath and dove in.
Opening my eyes i could see nothing, the heavily silted water from the mountain runoff was so thick that visibility was reduced to about 30cm.
Three seconds later i surfaced, with my lungs in shock and body close to numb i had now experienced what i like to refer to as the 'zing'. Woooooohhhoooooooooo What a RUSH!!!

I was in the water for about 7 minutes in total, where i swam as long as my arms would paddle and legs would kick before they gave up on me and automatically returned me to the shore where the sun was waiting for me.

I lay there on the grass for about 10 minutes, long enough for the zing to ware off.
I then noticed a couple of girls who were sun bathing now making their way toward the water, but also hesitating. Turns out i was the only person these locals have ever seen swim in the lake, and watching me go in made them think it was warm enough to take a dip themselves but as Candace (Scottish) and Skye (Aussie) took their few steps in they found out just how wrong they were.
Not wanting to experience this awesomeness alone, i headed towards the icy torture chamber for a second time, making sure they follow me in....and so they did.

I must admit the second time is less 'zingy' than the first, the body numbed up quicker and allowed me to stay in for about 10 minutes. But soon that was enough and time to bail out, id experienced my polar dip and now so did 2 of the 6 girls brave enough to take the plunge. Time to soak in the glorious rays of the sun.

A few hours later we decided to have lunch and soon went our separate ways. The following day was going to be long as i would have 4am start and set out to travel to Alaska, and there was still a heap of things to do starting off with the dreaded dirty laundry.

My Canadian adventure had come to a climatic end and i walk away having experienced the countries amazing natural beauty and friendly locals. This place is a true adventurers playground.

Alaska, here i come!

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