While Evergreen and other places around the country kick off every year with a Polar Plunge, some Goldenites have taken it to the next level with daily plunges in Clear Creek. Yes — even in the wintertime.
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While Evergreen and other places around the country kick off every year with a Polar Plunge, some Goldenites have taken it to the next level with daily plunges in Clear Creek.
Yes — even in the wintertime.
The recent icy conditions along Clear Creek haven’t deterred Will Hanlon, Tom Hilsabeck, Rob Kehoe and others over the past three weeks. Rather than visiting Parfet Park in the mornings as they usually do, they’ve been plunging near the Golden History Museum in the afternoons instead.
“It can be addicting,” Kehoe said of daily cold-water plunges. “Eventually, you start to crave it.”
They call their group the Golden Plunge Club, which they started in late 2020.
There are about 12 members, although not everyone plunges daily. There are a few core members who visit Clear Creek almost every day, but some days draw more members than others. Even some of their out-of-town relatives have joined them during their visits.
Eight members have earned matching club sweaters by doing 10 or more plunges in water 50 degrees or colder.
Anyone completing a cold-water plunge, whether once or regularly, is advised to do so with caution. The members are very careful not to spend too long in the water and are prepared with towels and extra clothes afterward. Plunging when it’s sunny outside also helps a lot, they said.
On Jan. 6, Hanlon, Hilsabeck and Kehoe — who founded the club — took a quick dip in Clear Creek, with Hanlon measuring the water temperature at 36 degrees.
The three described several health benefits associated with cold-water plunges, such as reduced inflammation, improved circulation, better sleep, and more. They added that it’s a great way to get the body ready for the day, which is why they typically plunge in the mornings.
Hanlon described it as a great daily ritual.
Between March and September, members sometimes jump in the creek multiple times a day. In the summer, they might sit in the creek for 30-45 minutes during the heat of the day.
January is undoubtedly the worst time for a daily plunge, they said. Hanlon commented how a one- or two-minute immersion is very doable when the water’s 40 degrees or warmer. But, when it’s colder than 40 degrees, it’s miserable.
On Jan. 12, the water was still icy, although the sun was shining overhead as Michelle and Hunter Sport and John Souther braved the cold waters with Hanlon, Hilsabeck and Kehoe.
Souther said he met Hanlon when he was tubing on Clear Creek in January 2021. The Sports said they were house-hunting in Golden last February when they met some members.
“They were some of the first people we ever met when we moved here,” Michelle said. “ … We spend five to 10 minutes with each other every day. It’s great bonding time.”
Souther and the Sports, all of whom have earned their club sweaters, said they try to plunge as often as they can. They appreciated how Golden has a creek that they can visit daily for cold plunges in the winter and cool-down visits after summer runs.
Kehoe felt likewise, adding, “It’s a gem to have in your backyard.”
Anyone interested in joining the Golden Plunge Club can contact Will Hanlon via @goodwillrunner on Instagram.
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