Before the 2017 edition of the Puddle Jump, held during Winter Carnival on Jan. 20, there was the torch run.
Starting in Greene at the Bates Outing Club lean-to (where longtime BOC supporter Judy Marden ’66 greeted the BOCers), the torch run arrived at Lake Andrews around 3 p.m.
With torch-bearer Audrey Puleio ’17 of Saco, Maine, in the lead, the runners rounded Lake Andrews before lighting the traditional Puddle Jump bonfire next to Page Hall, a blaze that has more than just an aesthetic purpose: It had to warm all the shivering and soaked jumpers.
Historical note 1: For many years, the Bates Winter Carnival torch was lit by the Maine governor, a tradition begun in 1958 when Bates alumnus Ed Muskie ’36 was in the Blaine House. That year, Muskie lit the torch in Augusta, and 18 students relayed it to campus.
This year’s Puddle Jump was on a gray day (but mild: 36 degrees!), but student costumes offered a colorful counterpoint.
Number of paces from the Jump staging area along the shore of Lake Andrews to the hole in the ice: 50
Size of the hole in the Puddle: 12 feet by 12 feet
Thickness of the ice on the Puddle: 7 1/2 inches
Number of paces from the hole to the bonfire outside Page Hall: 106
Historical Note 2: The Puddle Jump, founded in 1975, was for many years a St. Patrick’s Day tradition. The impetus for the first dip was “exuberance at the end of a hard winter,” said Chris Callahan ’78, one of the founders.
Check out these video clips from the 2017 Puddle Jump.