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Monday, January 31, 2011

The Ice Bridge (column for the Northern Pioneer)

Here's a column I wrote for the January 10, 2011 edition of the Northern Pioneer, I thought you might enjoy it.

Insider Reflections With Ashley Foley
My first time across the Ice Bridge
After an almost tropical holiday back to Ontario, where I celebrated a green Christmas at ten degrees celcius, I began my 23 hour trek home to La Crete at 3:30AM: a two hour drive, 4.5 flight, a 45 minute flight, a 9 hour drive and a whole lot of waiting.
The last part of my journey home involved my first crossing of the ice bridge.
It was about 11:00PM when we got to the Peace River La Crete Ferry Crossing, which I am thankful for. I fear the crossing may be a little more terrifying if I could see it fully.
Surprisingly, it was nothing what I thought it might be. It wasn’t like driving on Beaver Lake in my hometown and asking Dad to do doughnuts around the ice fishing huts while mom frets with white nuckles: one hand on the door and the other pulling her hair.
My mother doesn’t enjoy driving on ice and as a child, I never understood why. But as we were approaching the ice bridge, I realized I had inherited a little of that fear from my mother.
We slowly approached the river and exchanged an uneasy smile and laugh. I sat up high in my seat, and it made me a little less anxious; as if it were a safer way to be seated in case the ice broke.
I was surprised it was sanded and in just looking straight ahead, I might not have known I was on the river. Aside from the three-foot jagged ice on each side of the cleared bridge.
We saw a sign that read 10 km/hr, we debated whether driving 10km and making it across in two minutes would be wiser than driving 100 and getting off as fast as possible.
We stuck with the safer route, 10km/hr. I think I held my breath the whole time.
We bumped along at one point, wasn’t sure whether we were still on the river or across yet. Until we nearly bottomed out on a large pot hole (if pot holes are even possible on an ice bridge).
I was riding passanger and my friend who was driving my car had never driven on ice before. Luckily, I did not learn that information until after the crossing.

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