Flirting with hypothermia
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Today was the end to end challenge paddle on Lake Chautauqua with the local outfitter. The boat I usually paddle is extraordinarily stable, but it is only 12 feet l0ng, and they require at least a 14 foot boat to participate in the challenge. So, I rented a boat. Ummm... didn't work out so well. I tipped into the drink at the beginning of the day. Thankfully I was wearing a dry top, so my upper half stayed dry, but I don't have cold weather gear for my lower half. There I am fighting to stay upright in an unfamiliar boat, and shivering like crazy. I managed to get to shore and change into dry pants after about an hour, but the seat of the boat was wet, so it didn't do me much good. So when another paddler opted out after about 2 hours I chose to call it a day. I was going to try and make it to the lunch stop, but gusts were up over 20mph, and there was significant short frequency chop. I was just feeling twitchy, cold and miserable. I didn't feel all that cold while I was busy paddling, but once I got onshore and stood still in that cutting wind waiting for our pick up I got way chilled. God I was COLD!! Anyway, we got picked up, and drove to the lunch stop, but the folks still paddling would be about 30-45 minutes before arriving, so we went inside and had a bowl of potato soup and hot chocolate. After scarfing down the soup I went to the bathroom and stood under the hand dryer for about 10 minutes to dry out my pants. I was still cold though. The paddlers arrived and I went out to eat lunch with them. The group leader noticed how much I was shivering and made me drink another cup of hot chocolate. My responses still had about a 30 second lag, and I had to use two hands to hold the cup. Jeremy says from my reactions, etc (blue lips among other things) I was probably at Stage 2 hypothermia. Yikes! It was at least another 2 hours before the end of the paddle, but I spent the time defrosting in the truck with the heater running. Hypothermia is exhausting! I think I will be going to bed early tonight. Jeremy and I, and a couple friends went out to dinner after the paddle, so I have eaten too much today since I only paddled just over 2 hours instead of over 6 hours. What fries me is that I would have been fine in my 12 foot boat, and at the pace they were going I would have had no trouble keeping up.
So, guess what is on the schedule for tomorrow? You guessed it... kayaking! (In my own boat this time.) Hopefully I will have finished defrosting by morning. I am going to turn the heat on in my apartment for a little while to speed the process up.