Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hot and Cold Rivers

One of the things that we are looking forward to on our trip back east, is swimming in the river. The rivers on the east coast are quite warm. Last time we were there, we went in May and I could have stayed in the water all day. This year, we are going in June, and Grig says the water can be as warm as a bathtub.

Conversely, the river water where we live is very cold, especially since the snow is still melting in the mountains. The run-off makes the rivers quite chilly. This weekend when we went to visit the geese again (see this week's video), we decided to go swimming since it was fairly warm the week before. However, when we showed up at the dam this time, the water was much deeper and chillier.

Though Kevin and I waded into it a few times, Grig found it much too cold. We enjoyed ourselves though.

I'm used to swimming in cold water. I've never had anything else. As long as you keep moving, your body adjusts to it. It is rare that the water doesn't eventually feel warm to me after a while.

When I was a kid, we used to go to this swimming pool where they had a cool tub and a hot tub. The cold tub was freezing and the hot tub was pretty hot (thus the names), and our favorite game as kids was to run back and forth between the two and see if we could stand the temperature change.

Now I know that's not very good for your nerves, but we found it pretty fun as kids for some reason.

Grig and I were discussing why it is that water feels warmer after you are swimming around in it for a while. I tried to research to see if my theory was correct, but I haven't found anything to confirm or deny it yet.

My theory is that as you enter cold water, you blood kind of pulls inward to keep your core temperature warm. So, your limbs are allowed to cool down a bit. As your limbs cool, the temperature of the water doesn't change, but your arms are cooler and so the water feels warmer simply by contrast.

That's my theory anyway. If anyone finds anything to prove or disprove that, I'd be happy to read it. Sometimes I just go through life guessing why things work.

That's pretty much it for today. We're just super-excited for our trip!

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