The woes of ice floes – 3/28

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A handful of years ago I was in Wisconsin with my immediate family, and some friends and their families as well. Now the place where we went to was and still is a place where I have spent summers camping in the great outdoors, but on this occasion we rented a cabin and enjoyed it provided that the fire kept going because we went there in the winter.

The awesome fact of winter on landscapes that I know well during the summer, is they’re completely different in the winter! While obvious statement is obvious, it is actually something neat (and as someone who is not a fan of winter by any means, I am even surprising myself). One thing that is gorgeous and dangerous (same suffix, interesting) is Lake Michigan. When it doesn’t freeze, the ice creates ices floes, chunks of ice tossed upon the shore, it piles up, and you can walk on it…more or less.

I say less, because on this trip to the Northern woods with friends, my friends and I and the father of one of my friends were on the ice floes, and it so happened I got a bit too close to where ice meets Lake Michigan and the next thing I knew I fell in Lake Michigan, I was actually taken out to sea as it were!

Now I don’t know if I were just cold or confuzzled, but I didn’t vocalize I fell in, but my friend’s father (my former Scout Master no less – you think he’d be use to my stupid/foolhardy antics by now) swooped/scooped me out of there, and I was good! Well, kinda, I was freezing cold, so I ran/dragged myself back to the cabin, and boy! The warmth of the fire within the cabin was the best cold-to-warm feeling I’ve ever had. I changed my clothes, thoroughly dried off, rehashed my stories to those around me who weren’t there for the “fun” of it the first time around, drank cocoa, thanked my former Scout Master, and didn’t venture to the ice floes the rest of the trip.

***

Now a year after this happened, we went back to the same place, same cabin, same season, same group of people… It was a milder winter but no ice floes, but it was decided prior to returning that we’d have a polar bear swim. So my friends, my father, and I returned to the spot where I fell in and went for it! It was cold and exhilarating and our hearts lub-dubbed faster and we ran out of breath. But the moral of my story is this;

If you’re going to go into Lake Michigan in the winter time, make it on your own terms, not nature’s.

~Nathanael~

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15 thoughts on “The woes of ice floes – 3/28

  1. Thanks a lot, Nathanael… now I have to go take a hot shower to warm up after reading this! (My own terms dictate that I am not, under any circumstances, going into any body of water in the winter other than my hot shower or bathtub.)

  2. Over here we usually take the chainsaw and cut a hole in the ice(it’s really quite impossible to swim otherwise), then we heat up the sauna and go for the hot-to-cold-to-hot thing a few times. It’s really quite lovely. 🙂

  3. I remember back in the 80s when they had to get Coast Guard cutters out to clear the floes because they were so bad no ships could pass to bring supplies (food, fuel, heating oil – y’know, the luxuries) to anyone who lived north of the Friendship Bridge. It was an amazing sight but I sure as hell wouldn’t have gone IN it.

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