Walking on Thin Ice

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The last two weeks have been pretty crazy. Lots of stuffs going on, lots of new students, a little cold – and above all this cold winter which 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 point at the clock behind her doesn’t start bitching. You can be sure that the only day you’re late anyway, 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 climbed a bit in Majors Hill park to check out the nice view. The sky was clear and I could see the province of Quebec on the other side of the river. Overlooking it, I noticed something moving on the frozen waters.

Bridge To Quebec

Bridge To Quebec

The Locks From The Frozen River

The Locks From The Frozen River

A bunch of guys were down there, apparently drilling 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 center and up to Parliament hill, not sure where to access the path to the river.

I finally found it by the locks. A 10 minutes walk lead me to the shores of the river.

Guys Drilling On The River

Guys Drilling On The River

Rideau Canal Locks

Rideau Canal Locks


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 meters 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.

Going Down...

Going Down...

Going Up!

Going Up!

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…

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

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