Simon waded through frigid glacier runoff water to balance on this little rock on Day One of the Family Canada Outing of June 2004. This started a trend of making each other submerge body parts into cold water for 15 seconds or more, a game called The 15-Second Challenge. It doesn’t seem so difficult in the sunny, clear pictures, but most of our hikes through Banff National Park included walking through snow. It was an unusually chilly summer, prompting black bears (fact: these bears are omnivorous and 80% of their diet is vegetation) to forage for food lower down the mountains than usual. Here is one eating dandelions. Aaaawwwwww!!!!! Signs everywhere say, “If you see wildlife, consider not stopping.” I’m sure they had good reasons, and those good reasons were dumb. If we hadn’t stopped I wouldn’t have gotten this adorable bear-in-dandelion-fluff picture. Aaaaawwwww!!!! Anywho, back to the Challenge. This racing river that plunges over the cliff to form this waterfall in Johnson Canyon was actually the very first time the 15-Second Challenge was named and timed. We all stood around while one by one all the kids (and maybe the parents) were peer-pressured into freezing his or her hand off. I think the worst was here at this lake, which is featured on Canada’s something-dollar-bill. Vertical three-inch ice crystals packed together at the shore moved under our boots the way sand does. Along the water’s edge the crystals tinkled like wind chimes. There were also lots of dead ants in the water. Only Simon and I braved the 15-Second Challenge here! …but we’re all winners on the inside, right guys? My parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary that January. Yay! This family portrait is at Peytoe Lake. The first group picture is Emerald Lake. My siblings do not stop at simple temperature challenges, however. Please note the rock bridge over the below waterfall. Luke decided to walk across it, followed by Hannie. Then a tour bus of Japanese tourists pulled up and unloaded, filling the bridge the photo was taken from with onlookers. I am afraid of heights. And I don’t like cold water. So my understanding and gracious oldest brother showed mercy by…oh wait, I meant showed NO mercy by bobbing his head and flapping his arms like a chicken, clucking loudly at my failure until I inched across it to the snaps of many cameras while Luke laughed so hard he almost wet his pants. Later in the parking lot an elderly Japanese man with a camera around his neck smiled at me and gave a thumbs up: “Nice job!” Looking at that now, it’s interesting how things come full circle, eh? Now I’m in Japan with a camera.
BUT WAIT!! There was a point to this ridiculous post! So Chris and I were at Oshino Village Sunday afternoon when I saw THIS sign:
“Just try to put your hands in the cold water for 30 seconds.” Thirty seconds!?!? Outdone?? Oh my. This spring water is fuji-snow-fed and people were filling up water bottles of pure delicious water to drink later and dunking their hands in the pool below. Chris and I drank some, then of course stuck our hands in the water for a mind-numbing (make that hand-numbing) 30 seconds! Beat THAT, siblings!!