There’s something about this job that makes me feel a bit like I’m at summer camp: the shared meals, kitchen and bathroom, the youth of most of my co-workers, and most of all, the weekly ritual of jumping into Rock Creek Lake.
The large lake is just a 3 minute walk from the resort, and several “clubs” exist simply for the, er, ?pleasure?, of a regular plunge into ice-cold water. The most hardcore is the Polar Bear Club, which jumps in at 5:30am every Wednesday morning, regardless of the temperature or presence of snow. This is not a club for the faint of heart, because if you miss even one week (so what if it’s hailing…what are you, a sissy!?) you will be heckled unmercifully and excommunicated. Next up is the Polar Bear Cub Club, which has much looser requirements for its members. They jump in on Wednesday evenings after the resort is closed, just before dinner, around 7:45, and only on fair weather evenings. And if you miss a week, or four, no big deal–you’re still in. Finally is a club that hasn’t actually met yet this season, the Penguin Club. This option allows the minimum amount of contact with the lake, because all you do is float through the lake outlet drain tube on a float. (How you avoid then plunging down the Rock Creek falls, I’m not sure, but it must make for some great entertainment!)
So, can you guess which one of these club meeting we attend? At the risk of sounding like a complete fuddy-duddy, I have to admit that we haven’t participated in a single one! While the lake often looks inviting in the middle of the day, (and especially when we’re returning from cleaning cabins and are hot as the dickens!) everyone takes their plunges at awfully cold times. It’s quite comfortable here during the day, and sometimes gets into the low 70s, but as soon as the sun is below the mountains, a strong chill sets in. We frequently see lows in the 30s overnight, and these crazy people are jumping into water that’s not much warmer! A couple of our co-workers have begged us to join them before they leave to return to college soon, so maybe tomorrow will be the day we finally do it. I have a plan of eating dinner before we go, taking a huge towel and dry clothes, and then racing back to take the hottest shower ever, before hypothermia sets in!
We did go along on last week’s meeting of the Polar Bear Cub Club, and I got to see my concerns about this endeavor first hand as our co-workers stood on the rocks over a deep part of the lake, psyching themselves up to jump. The only one who looked happy about the outing was Luke, the Golden Retriever, who paddled around contentedly. I tried my best to get pictures of the actual leaps, but only a few shots were fast enough to capture the action. Maybe for next week I will have photographic evidence of my own bravery, and my co-workers will be satisfied that I almost froze to death for their benefit!
It’s strange to say, but in some ways the work season is nearing its end. Many of our co-workers are leaving in the next couple weeks to return to school, and the number of employees will be much lower. We, on the other hand, are only at the halfway point of our gig here, midway to our late-October final date. I know the Sierra summer is a fleeting thing, and we might start to see autumn weather in late August. We’re making the most of the nice weather, getting out for walks and hikes, and working on the roof maintenance that we need to do before winter.
We’ve been so happy here that we told the King family we’d like to return next season. I originally said that I wanted to be in a different place every year, but we just don’t see a need after we found a job we love! Plus, there is just so much to do in this area that we could come back for years in a row, and still not get to all the hikes I’d like to do. Most of all, I simply fell in love with this part of the world, and I want to come back to keep enjoying it!