A couple of people have asked me in the past few days why I didn’t participate in the Polar Bear Jump. After all, I’m always looking for something new and exciting to do.
Actually, I had thought about doing it. But all of a sudden, it was here. I’d missed it again.
It’s not that I’m afraid of jumping into water that’s about 33 degrees. I’ve been wet through the ice many times over the years, but none of them were intentional.
One spring when I was young, my friend Charlie and I decided to go out onto the ice that was floating on his pond. It had melted several feet from shore, but we sailed on some childhood adventure with the help of homemade paddles.
We used a plank to get out on the floating ice boat and then paddled it from one side to another. The trouble is that sometimes when you try to paddle, you get too close to the edge.
All of a sudden, there’s a crack and you’re waist deep in the water. The edge of our icy raft gave out.
Now a normal kid would have headed for the house to change clothes and warm up, but I climbed back onto the ice and played a little longer. After all, that frozen vessel might not be there tomorrow.
It was, but a stern warning from our parents kept us grounded for a while.
Over the years, I have spent many a winter day cutting holes in the ice to trap beaver. It was quite easy.
I’d chop a hole big enough to put a pole with some branches for bait and a conibear trap in under the ice near their den. The next day, I’d re-cut the hole and remove the animal. (Now you anti-trapping folks needn’t get all in a huff because it’s not going to do you any good to contact me.)