Sunday, January 14, 2024

Ringing in the New Year with a polar plunge

woman in fur coat and hat on a balcony

My friend and I rang in the new year by polar plunging! I started [polar plunging] in 2007 in Lake George and continued for 4 or 5 years.  Then a friend and I started plunging in Caroga Lake. One year we were in Old Forge for New Year’s Eve. When we woke up, it was a true 23 below [zero] before the windchill.  The hotel parking lot was full of trucks, trailers, and snowmobiles, none of which would start. Many cars were lined up at the gas station to fill tires with air. We called the Caroga plunge coordinator all the way home, hoping it would be cancelled. By the time we got there, the temperature had warmed up to a balmy zero degrees…so in we went!

Last year, my friend Rosemary, a first timer, wanted to brave the water at Grafton State Park on January 22, so we did that. This year, she wanted to do the “big” plunge in Lake George. I stayed overnight for New Year’s Eve and enjoyed the light displays in the parks and viewed the fireworks from my balcony. The next day, Rosemary and I dressed up in zany outfits, registered at Duffy’s [Tavern,] and got in line to plunge in the “second wave.” We met entire families, including babies, dressed up in polar bear onesies.  Everyone was so friendly! The air was 30 degrees, [and] the water [was] 44 [degrees].
Woman posing in zany outfit on a balcony

Rosemary Armao clowning pre-plunge. Photo by Laura Bellinger.

Polar plunge 2024 t shirt

Polar Plunge 2024 T-shirt. Photo by Laura Bellinger.

Christmas lights display.

Christmas lights display in Lake George. Photo by Laura Bellinger.


Fireworks show in Lake George. Photo by Laura Bellinger.

Duffy's Tavern in Lake George

Duffy’s Tavern in Lake George. Photo by Laura Bellinger.

Proceeds benefited the fire department as well as the Shriners–both worthy causes. So, gather up your zany outfits, some friends (and your courage) and plan next year’s New Year’s dive!
Here are some photos from last year’s Grafton State Park polar plunge:
three women dress up for a polar plunge

Photo provided by Laura Bellinger.

two women dress up for a polar plunge

Photo provided by Laura Bellinger.

two women pose before a polar plunge

Photo provided by Laura Bellinger.

Photo at top: Laura Bellinger in a fur coat and fox hat with Lake George in the background. Photo provided by Laura Bellinger.

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I am a retired teacher who enjoys the outdoors, especially the Adirondacks. My parents took us camping when we were kids, then we attended 4-H Camp in Speculator (a former CCC camp). As an adult, I served on the Camp board for 8 years. I went to my friend's camp in Bloomingdale (Saranac) for 10 years. We enjoyed cross country skiing, canoeing, fishing, snowshoeing, etc. I still hike, cross country and downhill ski, snowshoe. I bicycle and ride a Harley. I play the organ at a 300 year old church.

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