But for the 25F air temperatures, you would have almost thought it was summer again. We arrived at Ladder #1 where we were greeted with clear skies, calm water, and yet another amazing sunrise.
The official mercury reading for the lake temperature was a balmy 36F (yes…that’s just four degrees above the freezing point). Chris, Amber, and I suited up and gingerly navigated the ice chunks around the edge of Ladder #1. I did a few dive reflex drills while clinging to the ladder half submerged, and then plunged into the abyss.
I was a bit taken aback by the immersion shock. It was much more intense than I had expected, and I could feel my heart rate accelerate while my breathing became very shallow. I had to force myself to completely relax and take long, full breaths of air. This was real tough because the 36F water was very shocking to the exposed parts of my face and mouth. In fact, I recall taking in an unanticipated mouthful of frigid lake water and being astonished at just how painful this was on my tongue.
It took about 7-10 minutes to finally get my swim groove going and fully acclimate to the water. By that time, my respiration and heart rates had stabilized, and I could actually focus on swimming (versus surviving). Luckily, the calm water made for easy swimming, so I managed to reach Oak Street Beach rather quickly. I started to feel my core cool down during the last 100 meters of the swim, so I opted to walk back the 1/2 mile versus swim it. Chris, however, did the full out-and-back and is now the current record holder for the “coldest mile” by a Lake Monster!
Chillin’ out at Ladder #1