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Oh no kidding, water that cold is just something you have to experience.

I was trying to ford a river once, to retrieve a canoe I'd put into a logjam. Had two friends with me, holding one end of a long rope from shore while I had the other end looped under my shoulders.

Got maybe halfway across before the current was just to strong (and I was too exhausted) to keep my footing anymore - it's just unbelievable how quickly being submerged in cold water and fighting against the current like that sucks the energy out of you.

It was all I could do to keep my head above water and kick myself back to shore, I doubt I'd have been able to drag myself out of the river if I'd been by myself.

And that river (north fork of the Chena) wasn't even glacier fed, like a lot of rivers in Alaska are...

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