Polar Plunge a hot time at Evergreen Lake

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By The Staff

Drive Smart Evergreen-Conifer’s first-ever Polar Plunge into Evergreen Lake on New Year’s Day was a triumph — a triumph of human will over brute nature; of soaring optimism over winter blues; of warm hearts over icy waters; of madness over reason.

Starting at noon, a thick crowd of spectators coldly looked on as, one by one and two by two, Evergreen’s most spirited maniacs walked to their watery doom — and loved it.

“It was really cold,” grinned 17-year-old Erin Smith, regaining her composure in the Old Warming Hut. “I lost a shoe because I couldn’t feel my feet.”

Launched by Drive Smart’s executive director, Jackie Mohr, the first Polar Plunge partnered Drive Smart, the Evergreen Park and Recreation District, Evergreen Fire/Rescue and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in a wild and wet fund-raiser benefiting, among other things, EPRD’s special needs programs.

“Dick Wulf’s been floating the idea of doing some kind of lake jump for years,” said EPRD deputy director Pat Callahan, standing perilously close to the giant hole in Evergreen Lake’s icy chapeau. “Drive Smart just jumped on it.” Or, rather, in it.

The sheer weight of onlookers depressed the ice around the hole and brought a goodly portion of Evergreen Lake into the sunlight, until a chilly, shin-deep pond threatened to encompass the entire cheering mass. They loved that, too.

For the full version of this story, see the UpSlope cover in next week's Canyon Courier.