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On the bright side, it wasn’t crowded.

Staycations from Hell: I Got Hypothermic at Lake Erie

Spring Break 2016: “Go to the Beach”

On the bright side, it wasn’t crowded.

By Anne Ertle, John Carroll University


I arrived on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio, with my friend Megan reluctantly in tow.

Thanks to the top meteorology technology available (the weather app), we saw it would be a balmy 34°. It was even colder when you figured in the lake’s strong winds, so we bundled up in our best gloves and jackets. Life’s a beach!

We set the tone for the day with some beach yoga, which is normal yoga on a beach. I resorted to the moves that I learned in my middle school gym class: Sun salutation, downward dog, tree pose. I took off my boots to better connect with my surroundings.

Staycations from Hell: I Got Hypothermic at Lake Erie

The Lake Erie sand was frozen. It felt especially spiteful and, much like Cleveland’s sports teams, very determined.

Also, yoga is hard. It’s hard to do even when you’re dressed appropriately (oh, is that what yoga pants are for?), and even harder when you are shelled in layers of fleece. Unfortunately for my limbs and chi, I found it difficult to be completely pliable. My form really suffered because of this. Again: it was the clothes. Not me.

Such a demanding workout meant we needed to recharge, so we had a picnic. Since I’m balling on a budget, our meal was comprised of trail mix and granola bars.

We spread out the packaged foods on a blanket and it looked outdoorsy as hell.

Between the efficiency of the snacks we packed and the water lapping onto the sand, we could’ve been in an ad for North Face or a camping lantern.

Following our meal, I was very excited to hit the water and go swimming. There were two problems, though. First, any obedient child knows you have to wait an hour to swim after eating, or else you’ll be so weighed down by all that undigested garbage that you’ll sink to the bottom and fish will eat you.

Problem number two: The beach had a sign that explicitly forbade swimming. Due to the aforementioned obedience, I sighed dejectedly and realized there was no way I would be wading in the water today. (Fun fact: Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes. Don’t say you never learned anything from me).

Of course, where there’s a will there’s a way, and where there’s an errantly thrown Frisbee, there is an idiot chasing after it. Due to this loophole, I was able to go into the water to retrieve the Frisbee, which meant Swimming AND Frisbee. Done and done.

The peak of the trip occurred with the peak of the sun, when we finally got to relax, reflect on the day and “catch some rays.”

Sunbathing is the best because you get to lie down and the name of the activity makes it sound more elegant than purposely harnessing the evils of the Sun to burn your skin.

I’m very good at this. Of course, my legs, arms, stomach and the lower half of my face were all covered. However, there was just enough wind that I did get some color.

That flush of stunned nerves was what kept me smiling the whole way home. Once we packed up and got to the car, it started to rain, an obvious reminder from the spring break gods that all great times must come to an end.

There is still sand in my boots.

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