Jan 20, 2011

Sub Zero Swimming at -35

Brr... it's been dipping below zero lately around here. This sub zero weather reminded me of our honeymoon.  We got married in our home while living in North Pole, Alaska.  It was Jan 11, 2002.  In early Feb we took a ride up the road about 125 miles to Circle Hot Springs in Central Alaska.  When we arrived at the lodge, there was only a handful of other people there. They headed out the next morning and we had the place to ourselves.  The lodge is no longer running and is listed for sale by owner.  If only I had a million bucks to spend on buying and refurbishing that piece of history ... oh well.
The service and food was fantastic. Our chef was a former cook on a ship that hauled loggers that worked off  the southern coast of Alaska. She was also a former NY City "Rockett" dancer. She was super friendly and shared some very interesting stories. And beleive me, we never left the table hungry. 
We went swimming when it was 35 degrees below zero. Let me tell you - you DIVE into the pool, no tippy toeing here.  Once in the water you are just as comfortable as can be. BUT your hair freezes.  It was kind of fun because you can style into peaks like a punk rocker and it  freezes in place. I looked like a crystalized angel - really!  This is a natural hot spring that runs into an olympic sized pool. It's fed by a natural constant flow of hot water from the springs were the temperature is 139 degrees.  It has a natural flow and a complete turnover of water every 18 hours.

Once we had done all the swimming we wanted, it was time to head to the showers.  Thom got out first and ran like a rabbit to the mens side.  I climbed the ladder, grabbed the already damp hand rails and stuck to it. So here I am with my hands super glued to the rails and as I stepped into my flip-flop sandals and attempted to move, down I went. Crashed my knee into the ice that had set up, and my sandals froze in place. Here I hung with my hands still on the rails of the ladder, on my knees and at this point I looked like the Karate Kid waiting for further instructions from his master! I screamed for Thom to come help and it seemed like time stood still. I know it was only a matter of minutes, maybe seconds in reality but at 35 degrees below zero with a wet body, I was freezing!  By the time he came to my rescue my own body heat had loosened my hands from the rail and I high tailed it barefoot across the ice and hit the shower.  That had to have been the best shower I ever had in my life.  In the meantime Thom had chiseled my flip-flops loose from their ice grip and we headed back to our room.  Just another one of my Alaskan experiencesSomeday I'll have to share how a canoe beat me up! 

Please note these are pics I found on the net and not my own. I appreciate their use. There was a lot more snow when we were there.


jack69 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jack69 said...

jack69 said...
Ah ha, like most tourists we OWN part of North Pole, Alaska. We gave it to the grand kids for Christmas! Someone up there was selling North Pole land for $10 a sq. inch. hahahahaha!

The story of the Hot Springs is funny but scary. It doesn't take long at 35 below to get to us humans, even the tough ones from Wisconsin. I had to delete my first comment , I was including something from Darla's post that your mom had said. I read it and it didn't make sense here.

Oh well, I think that would be great to experience that much difference in temps. We were at some hot springs in the Yukon, but it was a provential park I think.

Yeah, you would be cute with punk hair.

texwisgirl said...

OMG! That's pretty hard core! First the iced up hair (brrr!) then the hands stuck to the railing like the kid in "A Christmas Story"'s tongue, then the froze down flipflops! Ha! Yikes!

Fred Alton said...

OMGoodness! How frightening that would be. I can't imagine what terror you must have experienced - no knowing whether your husband could hear you and set you free from that ice-trap! It is a beautiful picture. Too bad the owner has to sell it.

~mel said...

I remember way back when ... you told me this story when it first happened. What a gold mine piece of property though ~ seriously! Just think of the potential of that place ~ seriously ~ I wish I could buy it and share it with all my friends!!

Dar said...

Mel is right, what a gold mine...you have the bucks, Cher...go for it. I, too, remember you telling the family about this experience, it was funny then and still is, but in a sympathetic kind of way. I remember what it's like to stick my hand to the merry-go-round. Not so merry!
Share more of your ALASKA experiences...I don't recall hearing about the canoe beating you up.

Remington said...

You are brave! That would be scary! Did you see Santa Claus while you were there?

Cathy Clementz said...

You certainly have led an interesting life!! That's quite a place to honeymoon! And the rest of your story is a HOOT!

Arlee Bird said...

Are you guys nuts??!! I get cold when the temperature drops below 65. Frozen hair? I don't know about that--well I wish I had enough hair to freeze.

Tossing It Out