Saturday, January 24, 2009

Freedom

After reading this, you may think I am completely crazy, but I assure you, I was quite rational Thursday when I decided to hop on my snowmobile and drive across three miles of frozen lake, with only about 12 inches of ice between me and 120 feet of frigid water. Yes, that's me in my not-so-fashionable-but-possibly-life-saving helmet, perhaps a mile off shore.

The ice bridge offers us complete freedom - no schedules to follow. You want to leave the island - you just go; no waiting or rushing to catch a boat or a plane. Let me tell you, it is a glorious feeling. I suppose "bridge" is a misleading term. The ice surrounds the island and locks in between here and the mainland. The Coast Guard does keep the freighter channel open, but that is on the other side of the island.


My friends tend to give me grief about those orange things (called "life picks") dangling from my wrists in the picture. They go though your coat sleeves like a child's mittens, but at the end is a metal spike inside a retractable cover. If you go through the ice and end up in the water they say it is difficult to get out because the ice is so smooth - there's nothing get a grip on or to push on with your feet. So if you go through, in theory, you grab on to the spikes, jab them into the ice, and then pull yourself out. Hopefully I'll never need to know how well they actually work.

That's "black ice" I'm standing on there. Not too bad to drive over during daylight, but it is a bit creepy at night. You find yourself saying, "Is there really something solid there?" even though you drove over it two hours ago and it was fine.


I've learned over the years that take-out and the ice bridge tend not to work well together, but for some reason I can't resist the temptation. I always seem to end up walking out of the Chinese place in St. Ignace with food. Can you see my backpack? It is stuffed with Chinese food, all carefully packed into ziplock bags to prevent the impending Chinese explosion due to the bumpy trail. Which will result in my husband's general's chicken contaminating my pad Thai and the kid's sweet and sour sauce staining every inch of the inside of my backpack. Just trust me on that one, O.K. My lucky forethought to throw a box of ziplocks resulted in a contained explosion so the clean-up was minimal. However, I can now attest that Chinese food tastes just as good from a plastic bag as it does from the takeout container.


This is the bird's eye view from the drive home. Can you see the line of trees? Everyone in the area saves their Christmas trees and we use them to mark the ice bridge. You really shouldn't be out there in poor weather, but if something did come up, as long as you could see to the next tree you would be O.K.


So, what do you think? Could you do it?

15 comments:

kate said...

I *think* I could do it, in a group. On my own? No way.

Love the picture with the trees.

Kathie said...

no I could not do this!!!!
daredevil comes to mind...tempting fate.....
oh my
guess if I grew up there and they have been doing this for years maybe!!!!
Kathie

Kim said...

How exciting! Like Kate, I could probably do it in a group but it would be a little creepy by myself and my daughter with anxiety probably wouldn't let me do it. She'd worry that I'd die out there.

I love your blog and have enjoyed your adventures. I grew up in Wisconsin so I know cold but this looks frigid cold. But, fun, too!

nicolette said...

Maybe in a group, alone... after some practice...

Lovely pictures!!!

jacquie said...

definitely...i love a snowmobile...the chinese food would be a good incentive!

Mum-me said...

That looks like fun - I'd do it as long as the weather was fine. Just connect the dots, I mean trees, as you go along.

I couldn't help thinking about all the Christmas trees at the bottom on the lake (I assume they just go under when the ice melts?). You know, in 300 years someone will discover that 'bridge' of trees under the water and speculate about the great rainforest that once grew there, before global warming raised the water levels.

The WoodLand School said...

Wow! And ... wow!!!
Could I do it? If I had to ... certainly. Can I imagine such a thing while enjoying today's balmy temps in the 80s here in Texas? Nope!

cinnamongirl93 said...

Cool! Yup, I know I could...as long as the ice is 12" thick!
I bet your food tasted even better after hauling it over the ice!

Manoute said...

I think I could do it on my own, especially if it means I can go where I want, when I want :o)
The only time I drove a snowmobile was on a glacier in Iceland and I loved it!

Christy said...

Nope, I think I'd be sending hubby to get Chinese!

Love the bridge markers! What a great way to reuse your Christmas trees.

kawaii crafter said...

Your life on the island is just fascinating.

I'm not much of risk taker so I don't know if I could do this. Maybe with a group.

stitching under oaks said...

man. i do love Chinese food...perhaps I'd do it for good lo mein! you stay safe out there...no egg roll is worth it!

chimp1cards said...

Hey Liz, remember stupid fudgie question #12..."Do they use the same holes for the trees every year?"

Crystal said...

No way. I would pass out from fright.

Sam said...

I've been catching up! All your posts have been fascinating :-)

Could I cross the ice bridge - not unless I *really* had to! Chinese wouldn't count, lol.