BELLINGHAM - What compelled Sumas resident Desiree Daniels to plunge into the frigid waters at Lake Whatcom in the late-winter cold?
The oldest reason in the book: Someone dared her to do it.
Daniels and two of her friends were dared to do what is known as the Winter Challenge: Jump into a lake, ocean or stream, submerging your head. You then get the opportunity to challenge another person.
The Winter Challenge has been buzzing around social media in recent weeks. A search of Twitter with the hashtag #winterchallenge shows plenty of photos of drenched, towel-wrapped people, some with a look of regret. Many Whatcom County residents are among the plungers.
Daniels and her friends decided to get dunked together at the Bloedel-Donovan boat launch at 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 17. Sporting jerseys from their favorite team, the Seattle Seahawks, they looked over the chilly lake.
The brisk breeze didn't help their hesitation.
Daniels, who owns Hey Cupcake! bakery in Sumas, had accepted the challenge from a high school friend. But it was someone else who most inspired her to go through with it.
"My husband was challenged, and he chickened out," Daniels said. "I want to one-up him."
Katie Angrisani was the most hesitant - for good reason. As a unit coordinator at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, she couldn't go back to work with her hair wet. She aimed to fall carefully into the shallow area.
Kristina Black had no qualms with the challenge.
"I'm full of life," Black said, "Let's do this."
They yelped and flailed, reacting to the temperature in much the same way other Winter Challenge takers had done shortly before their leap.
The general consensus was that it wasn't as bad as they expected, but that didn't stop all three from scurrying out of the water in search of the pile of towels they brought along.
Daniels' hands slipped on the slick dock as she was trying to get back up, so she stayed in the water longer than most.
Angrisani was the quickest back to shore.
"I wasn't going to wait." Angrisani said. "I'm not that good of a friend."
Who did they challenge? In addition to several of their friends, the three women planned to issue a challenge to Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and head coach Pete Carroll.
Gentlemen, you have 24 hours.
Reach James Kozanitis at 360-715-2249 or firstname.lastname@example.org.