The ice bridge this year is amazing - thick, smooth, and covered with snow. In some ways it is kind of a waste not to take advantage of it! It's the only time of the year we aren't bound to some kind of transportation schedule - we can just hop on the snowmobile and go. That said, the kids (now seven and nine) have never been out on the ice...
until yesterday. K was super excited, but S was about as unexcited as possible. He was very worried, "Remember what happened to Mr. George's son? I don't want that to happen to us!"
On the one hand, I was glad S was treating the ice with the respect it deserves, but on the other I wanted to reassure him that both his father and I felt it was completely safe. (Or else we wouldn't have even considered it.) We reminded him that we planned to cross with clear heads, in good weather, during daylight, and that the ice is the thickest it has been in years. We also pointed out to him, "You've never been out on the ice before because we've never felt it's been safe enough - until now. We would never take you out there if we didn't believe it was safe."
That made him feel a bit better, and he thought it would be OK to go part way across. K and Allen planned to go all the way across so they could ice fish up on Brevort Lake.
Of course, I insisted we stop to snap pictures. At that point, about 100 yards out, S decided he was done and asked to head home. So he and I said good-bye to Allen and K, turned around and headed back to shore.
Since it was their first time out on the ice, I thought it might be fun to show the kids exactly where they went. When you're out on the ice, it's hard to fathom that you're really driving over several miles of Lake Huron. Luckily Allen had picked up a little GPS tracker at a thrift shop recently. He clipped it to his coat and it worked perfectly; charting our way down to British Landing and across the ice. (Some years there is a second trail, the "Beeline," which leaves the island at the end of the Boardwalk (near the school) and joins the British landing trail part way across.)
The path of the ice bridge changes from year to year. Ice thickness, pressure cracks, and pack ice can all alter the route of the tail. It would be interesting to map the route over several years and then plot them all on one map.
The fisher-folk had a great day;
they stayed warm, brought home 14 delicious perch and had some great fish stories to share.