Taking a New Years plunge

Brad Works
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Wallace River polar bear dip a memorable experience for all

Taking a New Years plunge

Wentworth -

It is, apparently, an experience hard to explain, but worth repeating.
"I watched everyone else do it for so long that I decided to try it for myself," said Rick Langille, moments before wading into the icy Wallace River on New Year's Day for his second polar bear dip.
The dip has become a tradition, if not an institution, around here.
"I remember I've never been that cold before," the 53-year-old Wallace native said as he described his first experience three years ago. "But you could stay in for a little while."
That first plunge took place three days after his 50th birthday.
"It was cold going in but the worst was coming out," he said. "The snow stuck to my feet, but having just turned 50 it was something I wanted to do.
"There's no pain, it's hard to explain really."
April Dares, a 10-year veteran of the dip, has no problem explaining it.
"It's exhilarating.
"What you anticipate can't really compare to what it is," she said. "It's not as bad as you think."
Maybe she's right.
When a snowstorm cancelled last year's polar dip, another of 2010's participants, Tatamagouche's Tabatha Keating, donned her swimsuit and rolled around in the snow anyway.
According to most of the eight shivering on the side of the river on this day, a quick run or dive is much better than a slow wade.
"There's no tip-toeing," said Langille.
"I always feel better afterward," said Keating. "And it's over so quick."
So, how did a first timer feel when it was over?
"I thought it would be a lot colder," said Amherst native Laurie Stevens - still standing outside while most of the others had already headed for the warmth of the nearby house. "When I got the feeling back in my legs it was good. I feel great."
Would he do it again?
"Yes, it's really refreshing."
Ernie Wilson, the 74-year-old organizer of the Hunter Road event was pleased with how it went.
"This was one of the best," Wilson said. "We had eight participants and about 50 spectators."
Wilson, who started the polar dip 25 years ago and who, until health issues forced him to stop, took part in it every year, said it is a great experience.
"It's quite a thing. Even though I can't take part any more I still like to host it - I get a kick out of it."

Geographic location: New Years, Wallace River, Hunter Road

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  • Susan
    March 09, 2010 - 09:30

    Thats my crazy bro Laurie Stevens ........silly bugger .........

  • jason
    March 09, 2010 - 09:30

    Way to go, Ricky! You've got bigger cajones than me.... Well, you did have until you jumped in that water!