Friday, February 21, 2014

No Ice Crossing Today

As you can see, conditions on the ice were pretty awful today. Visibility was so poor (and there was a rumor about a slush hole,) the fire department was advising people to stay off the ice. It makes me wonder if the St. Ignace Fire Department was out on their end of the bridge.

If you need a reference point for the photo above, look at the second picture in this post. The red box on the shore behind us is the same box that is in front of the truck.

As I was taking pictures I noticed a line up of snowmobiles behind the truck. They didn't look like locals, so that means they probably came over before the storm hit. My husband says the visibility was much better this morning. One of the cashiers at Doud's told me one gentleman stopped in the store this afternoon and actually asked if they sold compasses. Yikes!

According to one of the fire fighters out by the ice, a number of folks ignored their warnings and crossed the ice anyway. One pair of guys, (I'm assuming they were men,) went out attempting to drive from tree to tree. The next thing they knew, they were  back on our shore. The scary part was  - they hadn't intentionally turned around. Pretty darn scary if you ask me.
Needless to say, except for snapping these pictures, I stayed home!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lantern Lit Ski for Kids

Earlier this week Sue arranged a lantern-lit ski for the island kids. It was so cool. She had "real" oil lanterns every few hundred feet all the way from Greany Grove to Arch Rock.

There was a great turn out!

You may be surprised, but almost all the island kids in kindergarten through third grade have skis. They were purchased with grant money and are provided to the kids by the school. During the week the skis "live" at school, but on weekends they can go home. Gym class this time of year often involves a quick ski, and our city recreation department regularly arranges hour-long after school skis as well.

My daughter, K, has been skiing all winter long. She loves it and has gotten pretty darn good. She actually did this particular ski with two right boots. (There had been a small mix-up at school, so one of her friends skied with two left boots.) My son has been involved in the school dance team and hasn't been able to go out skiing - until this week.

I tried to get him to tell me what he thought of skiing, but all I could get out of him was, "It was fun," which was very strange because usually he's quite the chatterbox. Apparently, tonight, he was a man of few words.

The ski was a great success - I'm sure in part due to the roaring fire, hot cocoa and marshmallows that greeted the group when they returned to Greany Grove. Quite a few of the kids  are already asking Sue when they can do it again; although, next time they want to do it in the dark.

Monday, February 17, 2014


Photo: Jason St. Onge

I wasn't on the plane this morning, but I bet it was
one of those, "Thank goodness" moments.

Photo: Tracy Quinter

Thank goodness the pilot was awesome,
thank goodness the ice was so thick,
thank goodness all seven people aboard walked away

You can watch the news story here.

 Photo: Tracy Quinter

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ice Crossing

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.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Winter Sun Dog

Yesterday, after school, the kids and I were treated to a beautiful sun dog while we ran to Doud's to pick up a few things. I haven't seen one in a long time. We saw a nice one back in 2008  and another one in 2009, but nothing lately.

Of course, the only camera I had with me was my cell phone, which doesn't take the best pictures. Since I've had my phone, I've gotten lazy. I use to carry my good camera with me pretty much everywhere I went. I need to get back into that habit...