I realized last week that DUH I have a 50 degree water source (no ice necessary) 24/7/365 1 mile from my house - the Chattahoochee River! (water is released from the bottom of the dam = 47 degrees when it comes out, and according to the NPS, rarely exceeds 50 degrees through our area any time of the year)
So I finally was able to do it today ... was feeling hot after a hike, even though it was 63 degrees with an icy wind ... took the plunge!
My feet were shocked when I walked in, but quickly - REALLY quickly - felt fine. My legs were fine from the start, and never felt anything but warm right after getting in. I sat down quickly (amazing, since I haven't even done that in my 65 degree baths!) and my arms felt pain for about the first minute, then fine. Forearms and hands grew sluggish. I gradually moved deeper, ended up shoulder deep. I had dh time me for 10m, b/c we had to go somewhere afterward.
I could have stayed in forever. I quickly felt warm almost everywhere. If I were going for an extended stay, I would have covered hands & head, but for 10m, it was easy. A boat came by and asked for help getting out b/c their battery (?!) had just died. I think they were pretty stunned someone would be swimming on any day in the Hooch, much less one like this!
I actually felt warmer than dh who was dry and clothed. The wind didn't make my head or shoulders cold, even though they were outof the water. Hikers going by were in pants and some long sleeves. I was swimming.
I felt like SuperWoman.
When I got out, I felt warm. I dripped all the way to the car (no towel), and felt warm, even in the wind. It felt like my core & legs were made out of heaters. Awesome! I felt warm in the car, and exhilarated, like I just got off a roller coaster and couldn't wait to do it again!
I'd LOVE to do it every day. I think it's wisest to do it with dh, since it is COLD, and the water sometimes rises or speeds up rapidly when they release water from the dam. So I'll try to do it several times a week, at least. A heck of a lot easier than buying ice or lugging frozen water bottles all the time!! And no water bill increase! And birds flying by!