Thursday, January 12, 2017

Spencer Jack Big Lake Frozen Water Adventure

Til this morning I did not realize my old home zone was experiencing an extremely rare bout of extremely cold air, so cold that Western Washington lakes are freezing solid enough to walk on.

This morning's email brought a tale from Spencer Jack's dad of a potential tragedy averted on the Skagit Valley's Big Lake.

Big Lake is a small lake located about 3 miles east of my old abode in Mount Vernon. Spencer Jack's grandma Cindy's primary abode is on the shores of Big Lake.

This morning's email from Spencer Jack and his dad, along with video documentation of Spencer Jack doing some ice sliding....

FUD --

Winter here is the PNW has been quite abnormal.

Grandma Cindy has temporarily returned from sunny California.  She arrived home late last night.  Today, she invited FNSJ and I over to her Big Lake residence this afternoon to play on a frozen lake.

Last time I did this was with you at Lake Padden in the late 1980s. I remember you, FNJ2 and I ventured quite a few yards out on Lake Padden before going to see a nearly frozen Whatcom Falls.  Do you remember this?  I can clearly recall the exact spot at Lake Padden were you tested the waters before giving Joey and I the okay to walk out on the lake.

Frozen Big Lake today was nerve racking.   When we arrived, 3 kids were playing at the public boat launch without any parents in sight.

My first question was a shout out to the children, "Where are your parents?"

The kids were 100 yards from the shore.   I coached two of them back with ease.   The third kid, identified by the others as 14-year-old Nathan way too far out.  He was defiant.  He wanted to see how far he could go.

Spencer and I plus the two others pleaded with him to return closer to shore.

He kept saying, if he fell in, he would just climb out.

I was exploring all options to coach him back.  He wouldn't listen at all, and I knew if the ice broke, he would have no chance of me offering any type of assistance.

Despite all my efforts to get him to come back, he continued to push further out into the lake.  I knew I could not go grab weight would crack the ice that far out.   The ice in the pictures of FNSJ was plenty thick---maybe at least 6 inches or a foot.   But I knew the ice in the middle of the lake was 'ice thin.'

The two other non-supervised kids finally were able to assist me.  I sent one to immediately get another adult.  I knew if I dialed 911, by the time help arrived it would be to late.

Despite all my various attempts of trying to literally save this boy's life, the two other kids shouted out to him to remind him that he had his phone with him, and told him if he fell in it would get wet.

With that knowledge reminder, defiant Nathan returned to shore.

Nathan must have known that his smart phone wouldn't be of use for this dumb kid when wet.

And that smart phone probably saved his life.   Go figure.


I don't clearly remember taking my Favorite Nephews, Jason and Joey, to a frozen Lake Padden, or an iced over Whatcom Falls. However, when those two were youngsters I took them so many different places so many different times it is not surprising that my aged memory would have trouble remembering some specifics.

And now the video of Spencer Jack taking a running slide on a frozen Big Lake.....

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