Friday, January 1, 2010

Walkers and polar bears

 Some of the Fairhaven walkers, January 1, 2010

To start my new year, I went on a walk with the Fairhaven walkers, a group of (mostly) women who meet in various places around Bellingham to walk along the boulevard, around a lake, or to the marina. While they were gathering our breakfast treats after our walk, I lined up a few of them to snap a picture. That's Cindy, the organizer, looking down. They take a brisk walk every Saturday between 3 and 7 miles.

Every New Years Day they meet an hour later than usual (today at 9:00 am) to begin the new year with a walk and a shared treat. Cindy brought hot chocolate and coffee, someone else brought cookies, and another brought homemade breakfast burritos. Cindy brought enough hot chocolate for twice as many!

The group is a small one of 8 to 13, according to Cindy, with some occasional walkers and other hard-core ones (like my friends Linda and Peggy). Since it was very windy, we walked around Lake Padden on the less windy side and then turned around and walked back, for about 3 miles. I had to jog every once in a while to keep up, but otherwise it was a truly wonderful time. It never rained, but the wind was whipping up whitecaps on the lake.

After they left, I stayed around to take pictures of the Polar Bear Club, which also meets at Lake Padden every New Years Day for the annual plunge. I wasn't sure how many people would show up, but it was a huge crowd. I tried to make sure I wasn't in the way of the bathers, and I got this shot of them lining up waiting for the stroke of noon:

It doesn't look like so many people, does it? The picture below, however, shows maybe half of the "swimmers," and you can see some are already heading out of the water while others are going in. I would say it was definitely in the hundreds. Bellingham Polar Bears, indeed! I had no idea I was in a town of so many crazy people. No wonder I feel so at home here...

This picture is worth enlarging to get a flavor of how many people were actually happy to be doing something wild and crazy to start the new year! But I stayed nice and dry... this year at least.


  1. The temperature was what? Add wind chill. lol

    You are right -- they are a little on the nutty side.

    The only water I will go into beside my bathtub is the Carribbean. It is warm. :D

    You certainly started the new year off in a good way. Happy New Year.

  2. I can never figure how those people can do that! Bad enough to be in a bathing suit at this age, but with goose bumps on my bumps to boot?

  3. Wow ! Those are some brave swimmers, brrrh.
    Hope you had a wonderful start to the New Year, and look forward to visiting in 2010.

  4. Loved that photo of them all going know, without ice on the lake, they aren't getting the full experience! Folks up here go out in Lake Superior, after clearing the ice away...!
    Nothing like a little hypothermia to test your heart. ha
    Thanks for the great pictures of your local event. They really look like they are enjoying it!

  5. Thanks for the photos..the Polar Bear Plungers all look so happy! :)

  6. They must have a strong heart to plunge in cold water like that – I wonder how many heart attacks there are after such exercise? I see from your pictures that many go into the water, but how many really take a swim I wonder. Well, that is not for me – I have been in the Deep South too long. It is an interesting picture though.

  7. The new walking group sounds like fun. The Polar Bear Plungers are a bit on the nutty side but they seem to enjoy it.

    I saw your blog title are remembered a youtube video I saw not long ago. Thought you might like to see how some Alaskans plunge for a good cause:


  8. I thought this was supposed to be a retired peoples blog, you are pretty gutsy and not at all like an old retired person like you are supposed to be!!

  9. Wow! you are a busy lady and have had quite a life. I have browsed both your blogs and must say I'm impressed by what you've accomplished. Glad you visited me; hope you'll come back again.

  10. I saw your comment on Eva's blog and came on over. I admire all your physical activity!

  11. Oh, my gosh...I think I'd stick with the New Year's walks!!!! That looks positively frigid!!! Er...just noticed...I'm doing it again...yup, something sticky about my exclamation point key...LOL...I love your not only capture beautiful scenery, but you also capture snippets of REAL life...and such personalities...and all with so much panache! (Trying to use some restraint here...oh, it's killing me...) I LOVE YOUR POSTS!!!!!!!!!!! it out...I feel better now ;-)...Love you so much, dear friend...~Janine XO

  12. Do you think you're going to join this group on a more regular basis? All your activity is amazing!

    AllI can say about those crazy folks is brrrrrr! Wind chill here tonight is around -1 so I'm dreading going back out to take the dog out...It sure does feel nice and cozy when I come back in.

  13. No No No! not for me. I think your 'looks of happiness' are really 'gasps of horror'. What was the water temperature, I wonder?
    Blessings, Star


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