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Bluebonnet polar bear dippers planning to take the plunge New Year's Day

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Who goes skinny dipping in the winter? The daring members and guests of Bluebonnet Naturist Resort it seems based on a recent wintry event announced by the resort. The brave and the crazy alike are invited to commemorate New Year's Day with a refreshing pool dip at the resort on January 1, 2014 at 1 p.m. as participants in Bluebonnet's "Polar Bear Plunge."

Polar bear plunges are icy cold, scream-inducing events held during the winter where participants plunge into a body of water in spite of frigid temperatures. Polar bear plunges are popular in Canada, the United States and other countries.

In contemporary times, one of the oldest polar bear plunges in North America is the annual affair held in Vancouver, British Columbia. According to the weblog Inside Vancouver, New Year's Day 2014 will mark the 93rd anniversary of the event.

Polar bear plunges in Canada are usually simply New Year's Day celebratory affairs but the events in the United States are often held as fund raisers for charitable organizations like the Special Olympics.

The Bluebonnet event it seems is being held just for the good old fashioned thrill of experiencing the involuntary gasps and involuntary hyperventilation associated with the near heart-stopping shock of sudden immersion in cold water on a frosty winter's day.

[MORE from Dallas Nudist Culture Examiner: Buff guide to Bluebonnet Naturist Resort]

Do you realize they actually have rules for these events? Who knew! According to the Lake Powell Polar Bear Plunge FAQ page, "polar bear plunge participants must submerge their entire body, including the head, into the water. No wetsuits, dry suits or other protective clothing are allowed although footwear is legal and recommended due to safety concerns and the fact that numb feet may not feel objects in the water."

Considering that Bluebonnet is a naturist resort, members and guests shouldn't be guilty of any "uniform" violations. Come to think of it, shouldn't Bluebonnet be calling their event Polar "Bare" Plunge?

Sudden immersion in ice cold water triggers instantaneous cooling of the skin and produces what medical professionals term "cold water shock" which is typically characterized by shock-like heart and breathing responses. The resulting strain placed on the heart medical professionals say is not likely to pose a problem for a healthy, fit person but may be dangerous for those with underlying heart disease or hypertension.

The conventional wisdom then is if you don't have high blood pressure or a heart condition and decide to take the plunge at Bluebonnet on New Year's Day, if it doesn't kill you, you should be just fine.

While I have been known to slog through ice and mush filled streets in sub zero temperatures with freezing rain falling all about me to get in a 5-mile run on a frigid winter day, I don't think I'm either courageous or crazy enough to participate in a polar bear plunge.

Frankly, just recalling the scene from the 1997 film Titanic where Jack and Rose are clinging to flotsam in the middle of the icy Atlantic after the ship goes down is almost enough to send me into hypothermic shock. I'm not a cold weather sort of guy anyway which is why I live in Texas. But if you are a brave, intrepid soul or if despite her best efforts your mother wasn't successful in impressing you with the utility of having common sense, Bluebonnet's "Polar Bear Plunge" might just be the event for you.

Seriously, the event does sound fun, at least in a terrifying sort of way. So if you don't have any plans for New Year's Day afternoon, why not join the good folks over at Bluebonnet for what definitely should be a memorable event. Even if like me you don't feel you are really up to taking the actual plunge, you likely would still enjoy the vicarious thrill of watching from poolside as braver folk do it.

If you attend you can also take advantage of the brunch the resort is hosting which will feature a healthy helping of Black Eyed peas, the traditional southern New Year's Day fare.

If this sounds like fun and you want to participate contact Bluebonnet in advance to let them know you plan to attend. The resort can be reached for reservations or questions by email at bluebonnet@pobox.com or by phoning 940-627-2313.

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