A little history. Two years ago I went out for a leisurely ride with a friend on the river's ice. We were having a ball and started heading toward PR. We soon realized that the ice/riding potential was more than we had prepared for that day. It was a cool 15 degrees. However, the ice was great with a few fresh inches of snow on it. It was then I had the light bulb moment. I decided we would retreat and attempt to ride all the way to PR the following weekend. Well, it warmed up in that week, a lot. The ice got shitty and my dream for that winter melted.
Last winter, I waited and waited for some good ice to form on the river again. There was a small window of maybe a week where things looks decent. But again it warmed and the thick ice never return. Another year lost.
That's all the good things of the ride. But remember I said it was thawing and getting warm? Well, we crossed several small streams/creeks that ran into the big river. Some had a thin layer of ice over them, that we easily navigated across. Others, had no ice and you could see water flowing. We could easily ride through those as well. Because the water of the river was so low, the water in these streams and creeks were spread out and we never saw very deep water in any of them. At most a foot of water was all we saw. That was until mile 12.5 when one rider went to cross, what looked like one of several small streams we had crossed so many times before, but it wasn't like the others. The ice broke revealing a stream approximately 4' wide and being 2-3' deep. He got wet and bloody. When you get wet...and bloody, well it kinda kills the group spirit. We bailed out and went and reviewed the ride over beers...planning for our next attempt.