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Walking on Frozen Ottawa River

The last two weeks have been pretty crazy. Lots of stuff going on, many new students, kind of sick—and above all this cold winter weather that never seems to end. It gets to you. Waking up in the morning, getting dressed, starting the car. Driving to work. Cigarette. Buying a Diet Coke. Waiting for students who are late when, of course, you arrived early so that the receptionist who always checks the clock behind her doesn’t start complaining. You can be sure that the only day you’re late students will be sitting in the classroom, an open book on the table, ready to complain that they’re losing some precious study time.

Today was a beautiful day. Crisp light, best time to go take pictures. So I went for a walk downtown Ottawa.

I went to Majors Hill Park to check out the view. The sky was clear and I could see the province of Quebec on the other side of the river. I also noticed something moving on the frozen Ottawa River.

A bunch of guys were down there, apparently drilling through the ice. I didn’t know it was thick enough to walk on it, neither did I know I could access the river from the Parliament Hill! So I went back towards the Rideau centre and up to Parliament Hill, not sure where to access the path to the river.

I finally found it by the locks. A ten-minute walk led me to the shores of the river.

The stairs were steep and covered by a thick layer of snow, totally buried underneath. I tried to follow in the footsteps left by the guys already on the ice. I took small and careful steps. My goal was to take a picture of the locks viewed from below…

Once I got to the ice level, I relaxed a bit. I really wasn’t sure how thick the ice was but I decided to walk a few metres to take my picture. Every step I was taking, I was broking the icy layer, my feet sinking into the snow. Only then I was finally getting some ground to stabilize. Lifting other feet and starting all over again a few inches away. The layer on which I was walking looked like slush. I hoped it was thick enough to bear my weight.

After 10 minutes of struggling to keep my balance and sinking deeper and deeper into the snow, I paused to take the picture. I didn’t dare to go any further, but I was pretty happy with the result.

I used my own footsteps to get back to the stair. I wasn’t able to use the ramp (sunken into the snow) and I realized it was actually trickier to climb icy stairs…

Bridge To Quebec
Bridge To Quebec
The Locks From The Frozen River
The Locks From The Frozen River
Guys Drilling On The River
Guys Drilling On The River
Rideau Canal Locks
Rideau Canal Locks
Going Down...
Going Down…
Going Up!
Going Up!

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