UPDATE: Dozens of people started off their new year with a freezing splash into the Lula Lake Land Trust atop Lookout Mountain. 

Today is the only day people are allowed to swim in the private lake for conservation purposes. 

"January 1st, It's my birthday; my 74th birthday," participant Susan Spurgeon said. "I'm going to jump in the lake today as a present to myself."

Spurgeon was one of the first to jump into the freezing waters at Lula Lake on New Year's Day. In all, about 50 people braved the cold to take this year's polar plunge challenge. 

"Oh, I can't feel my feet, and my back has a burning sensation," participant Emory Evans said.  

"Yes, everything hurts," participant Tallie Williams said. "It's like icicles are stabbing me right now." 

Williams tells Channel 3 she's doing it to overcome her fear of the water.

"Yea I've been scared of water since a kid, so I was like this is the way to conquer it," said Williams.

After the plunge, only a few people said they weren't quite sure why they did it at all. 

"It made me wonder what I was doing," participant Shane Ashley said. "I swam faster than I've ever swam in my life." 

"I've always wanted to do it, but it is as terrible as you think it's going to be," Chrissy Clark said. "When you go in, it's just like ice, and you have to swim all the way to the top." 

Temperatures dipped below freezing into the low 20's on Monday, but officials said the water felt like 37 degrees. 

Many jumpers said the shock of it all made them feel alive like they could accomplish any challenge the new year brings. 

"It's a baptism, a re-birth, a new me for the New Year," participant Tyson Chandler said.

"I would definitely do it again," another participant said

Tickets were 50 dollars a person. Officials said all proceeds go towards land conservation efforts like building and rehabilitating trails so that the land trust can remain open for the public to enjoy. 

This is the second year Lula Lake Land Trust has hosted a polar plunge. They hope to continue the tradition for years to come. 

Participants were treated to hot chili, hot chocolate, Bloody Mary’s and spiked cider after taking the leap.


PREVIOUS STORY: With New Year's Day high temperature predicted as 26 degrees, a group of hardy souls decided to test their fortitude in the Lula Lake Polar Plunge.

The event marks the one day of the year where people are allowed to swim in Lula Lake. Monday's Plunge marked the second time the event has been held.

Participants bought a ticket for the privilege of jumping into the icy waters, which also entitled them to all-you-can eat chili, bloody marys, spiked cider, and hot chocolate.