5YAT: First Attempt at Crossing! [part 1]


18 December, 2004 – Cold & Sunny -12º

[This post is part of the 5 Years Ago Today Series]

Got up very early because I’m going to test the river and attempt to cross this morning. Made sure the fire was good, the animals fed, and got ready to cross the river.

I was fully equipped wearing 3 layers of clothes, 2 layers of socks, a big parka, mitts, a hat and a life jacket. 

In my pockets were a chisel and a very sharp crochet hook (because I couldn’t find the screwdrivers).  I case I fell through, I could use these to punch into the ice and pull myself out of the water.

Spiked HeelsI embedded drywall screws into the heels of my boots so I didn’t slide on the ice or blow away in the wind… (it brings a whole new meaning to “spiked heels”)

I carried an axe – for testing the ice thickness, a 10′ pole, and was harnessed to a canoe which I dragged a foot behind me – just in case the ice broke and I had to jump into it. 

I called the Calvins, who own and rent these cottages in Moss Glen, and they offered to watch me with binoculars as I attempted to cross to make sure I was safe.

These were all precautions. I wasn’t really worried about the ice since I’d been testing it for almost a week.  If I were even the littlest worried, I wouldn’t be attempting to cross.  I’d just wait another day or two until I was confident.  But confident or not, it’s foolish not to be prepared when you are doing something like this.  Especially when you are alone, and the closest help is a mile and a half away onshore. 911 is not really an option.

Heading out onto the Moss Glen side was pretty safe at this point. The ice has been in on this side of the island for well over a week now.  I’ve tested this ice daily for 5 days, walking out on it further and further to see how it’s forming and how thick it is.

I headed out onto the river at 9:40 am. The sun shining, the ice glistening, me very happy I have 3 layers on because it is cold!  

Lots of cracking and ice-talking but no water, no shifting and no thin ice. The ice ranged from 4-8” thick where I tested it. It was slippery though, even with the screws in my boots! It felt almost like skating at times because the ice was so pristine. It was beautiful but no time to take photos.

I got safely across to Moss Glen in about 40 minutes.

Continue reading “5YAT: Crossed! [part 2]” » because it was a long and eventful day

Alexa Clark

Alexa is a digital marketer and author with over 20 years in digital & interactive communications in the food and tech industries. Alexa's CheapEats Restaurant Guides, for both Toronto & Ottawa, were Canadian best sellers. She is a recognized authority on social media and has been named one of Canada's 20 Leading Women in Social Media.

One thought on “5YAT: First Attempt at Crossing! [part 1]

  • December 20, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    5YAT: Crossed! [part 2]

    As you know from the first half of this story, I successfully, and safely, crossed the river and was able to leave the island for the first time in 10 days. [cont… 18 Dec – still cold & sunny] I think the Calvins may have had a more stressful time of m…


What do you think?

%d bloggers like this: