By Ralph Mancini / [email protected]
Hardy locals looking for an exhilarating rush gathered at Offut Lake Resort just outside Tenino to take a leap into the frigid waters as part of the resort’s centuries-old polar plunge on Wednesday morning to usher in the New Year. and help the less fortunate by contributing to the Tenino Food Bank.
Nicole Turner of Tenino was one of the many longtime jumpers on site, who described the feeling of jumping into a 30-degree lake as a “great feeling” from a physical point of view, but also explained nature. symbolic of its winter ritual.
“It’s nostalgic,” she says. “It kind of erases last year and starts with the new one. I haven’t done it for a year and it wasn’t the right one. So every year now I’m going for it.
Likewise, the first time Paula Barton beamed after taking her leap of faith. And while she admitted the waters made her shiver, the Centralia resident said she just felt “extraordinary” after returning to the wooden deck outside the Lady of the Lake restaurant.
Barton, a shivering Miguel Beckford, and another young diver who announced he didn’t feel his toes were all invited to warm up alongside the site’s multiple fireplaces or indulge in a Bloody Mary or sweeter drink at inside the restaurant.
The resort and restaurant are part of a family business run by Becky Pogue and her two sons, Rob and Tom, who have created a versatile leisure destination at the resort, where visitors can enjoy fishing, RVing, fishing, camping and boating. , among other special interests.
But the annual New Year’s Polar Dive – which has been going on for more than 15 years – is an event that continues to grow in popularity, according to the Pogue brothers.
While Tom argued that the activity developed only through word of mouth, Rob joked that the reason why attendance increased from four participants in the first year of the dive was due to the preponderance fires and propane heaters burning across the deck area.
Becky Pogue, on the other hand, pointed out some of the brave “double divers” who witness the dive, as they will catapult themselves two or even three times into a frosty lake.
One of the participants who is always looking for new places to jump is Pullman’s Greg Urquhart, who showed up for diving with his wife, Sara, and 7-year-old daughter, Gabby.
“I jumped into the Arctic Ocean once in November. It started my tradition when I returned from Iraq. Since then, I try to hit things, but generally not in a community framework; I would go for it on my own, ”he shared. “When you jump into the water and the cold hits you, you’re invigorated and recharged for the day. ”