The Seattle Times

10 of 17
GREG GILBERT / The Seattle Times

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 Pictures of the Year

Jan. 1
Several thousand swimmers showed up at Matthews Beach for the 11th annual New Year’s Polar Bear Plunge into the chilly waters of Lake Washington.
Almost every year we cover a “polar bear” swim somewhere in the Seattle area. I knew the one at Matthews Beach on Lake Washington has a big turnout. I always want to put you, the reader, into the action as I see it, causing you to say “Wow!” This time, I put waders on and positioned myself in the water. I knew there would be splashing. Then, just before the start, the sun came out to add side lighting and contrast. My one fear was getting knocked over by the crowd, soaking me and my digital cameras. I braced myself, and I got bumped a few times, but stayed upright. In my excitement, I realized I had backed up a little too far and lake water overflowed into by boots. I had to park several blocks from the beach; walking back, I could hear the slosh, slosh, slosh of the water in my boots. — Greg Gilbert