Ice Skate The River

    I thought I pulled off this stunt with my buddy Dave Hooker, but fifty years later he doesn't remember it.  Anyway, the day was perfect in the spring of the year, and of our lives.  The winter had been a cold one as evidenced by the totally frozen Lake Cooper on the Mississippi, formed above the dam between Hamilton and Keokuk.  After some discussion, we tossed our skates over our shoulders and headed to the river.

    Although the day was perfect the weather had been warming and the ice a little less than perfect.  We progressed across the first 2/3 mile which was rough but for the most part firm.  As we neared the channel of the river though, we began hearing occasional cracking noises and had to begin avoiding several areas of open water.  A decision had to be reached soon, and we increased the distance between us to distribute our weight over a wider area.  Progress is slower now, and we wonder if turning back would be the more viable option.  About that time the sun broke through the overcast.  We realized that the ice behind us may not allow the retracing of our path, as the day wears on.

    The river is some 35 foot deep in the channel and runs a rapid course toward the turbines in the powerhouse.  Our minds fought back the vision of our bones being retrieved from the entrance grating after the spring floods subside.

    The extra caution brought us wearily to the Keokuk Yacht Club, and a phone call brought Dad by, after he finished work, for the long awaited ride back home.

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