MINNEAPOLIS — Waking up to cold in Minnesota, is never a singular experience. Some days are snowy and some days are sunny and freezing. Some days you wake up craving a hot cup of coffee, and some days you crave a dip in the pool.
"I really prefer sunrise--I've always preferred sunrise--to start my day off like this is wonderful," a woman said.
In the morning, she put on her red bathing suit, mittens and a mask and went over to Lake Harriet. With a pitchfork, she crushed the thin layer of ice on the surface of the pool.
Then she lowered herself in, along with a few others.
"We submerge in the cold water, as crazy as it looks and sounds," Rachel Banks Kupcho said.
Like travelers in the desert, these people come for water.
And in what they've started to call the "Harriet Magic Hole," they seek a million different oases. Whether it's peace, quiet or serenity, people come looking.
"I have two young kids and anything I can do without my kids is quite honestly fantastic," a woman said.
"It can be a nice sanctuary from a hectic, crazy, stressful day," Banks Kupcho added.
"Our kids are going to distance learning tomorrow-- so this is just like lets...just leave some stuff in the lake, leave it all in the hole," another woman said.
The allure of the lake...more addicting than it seems.
"We probably have somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 to 40 people-- I would say-- throughout the day," Banks Kupcho added.
Even if it hurts.
"It's really important to keep your extremities covered, particularly your hands and your feet, and then your head, it just really helps with maintaining your temperature," Melissa Sisk said.
"When my hands are above the water the only thing I had problems with was the freezing of the hands other than that-- I throw my jacket over me, and it's warmer outside in 15 below than it is inside here," Derek Jones said.
"It's really just dexterity, so I can get my clothes on after, and so I can drive myself to work," Katy Vandam chimed in.
Alleged health benefits, and mental clarity aside, what the water has to offer is a constant, no matter the atmosphere.
And that constant may just be the thing, the pandemic doctor ordered.
"There's just a lot of fun involved really, this is a place-- people are laughing all the time frankly," one man said.
"What started during COVID and people feeling really isolated, this has brought so many of us together, and a lot of us closer too," Banks Kupcho said. "Constantly meeting new people down here it's incredible. And the friendships I have gained from this community has been incredible and I'll be forever grateful."
Apparently, the longer the stay, the harder it gets to leave.
If you're up for the challenge...the hole in Lake Harriet is open to all-- there's also another one on Cedar Lake.
You must sign a one time waiver before going for a dip...and be courteous and wear a mask.
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