18 February 2010
Our Island Story Part 4~Crossing a Frozen River
This probably looks scarier than it really is!! Remember, our 1st objective with our family was always safety. Getting to know the river was the job of daddy and he did a fine job of it. Never did any of the children nor I encounter any danger with the frozen waters. In the beginning of the freezing periods, and at the beginning of thawing daddy would inspect the ice. He did this in several spots along each side of the river. Mainly by taking the flat bottom boat out a ways and jumping up and down in it to check the durability. Or, he would take an auger and check that way. Sometimes he would stand with one foot in the boat and the other outside the boat and stamp the ice really hard. This proved to work well to tell us the thickness of the ice. There was a time or two that he went in but grabbed himself by the boat. Having one leg inside the boat was a huge help in his safety!! And mostly, the depth of the water where he was checking wasn't usually over 5 or 6 feet deep.
In this photo it may seem things are not safe. It is true that there is open water but the path that you see in the picture below was safe and we always followed our path. When we would get heavy snows that would cover in our trail daddy would shovel it out, just as you would shovel your sidewalk!! Otherwise the boat would not slide as it needed to when our family was in it. He would put everyone in and pull the boat over the ice as you would pull a sled and wrapping the rope around his waist in case he fell through thereby giving him a way to climb out.
Here again, no matter what the river was like the children always wore their life jackets. Running water or frozen ice it didn't matter.