THE PROBLEM WITH MEN…(A tale of beauty, much danger, and a teenage superhero!)

1Well, the kitchen refit is done, the drywall dust has cleared, and the final touches made. Hence, we found ourselves with an evening between house projects! I suggested a drive down to Presque Isle State Park to catch the sunset and to see what the beach looked like in winter all covered with snow. Sounds easy right? Lovely way to round off an evening and celebrate the end of the kitchen refit….kick back and relax a little.

Come now…You’ve certainly been following me long enough to know that’s never the case around here!

When moving to a new area, there are a lot of things you have to figure out. Here, you need to learn to drive in snow. You need to learn the shortcuts from one place to another. You need to learn which road signs to take seriously and which signs are just display.  I thought I’d been doing just fine with these things. However, on this fateful trip to the park, it became very clear that this last one about the signs is more important than I ever knew and what you don’t know can kill you!

It was a nice day actually for these parts anyway….no active snow and, though temps still in single digits, not so cold that our faces would freeze off.   We did all take heavy hats, gloves, etc. knowing the state park, being a peninsula, is always colder than other places. Son, husband, and I piled in the vehicle and took off.

Passed this sign on the way into the park…..1 (9)

And of course the roads in the park were indeed iced and drifted. So much so that I didn’t actually want to venture the entire 13.2 miles trek around the park, but instead pulled off in the first little alcove on the eastern side of the peninsula. Here, we noticed people walking out onto the frozen lake and actually, on closer inspection, discovered that they were ICE FISHING! How neat is that?

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Little ice fishing tents!

My guys started to walk out on that frozen lake too,

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but I held them back saying it was getting close to time for sunset and I wanted to go over to the beaches on the west side and get a few pix. So we hopped back in the truck and cut through from the east side to the west side to the closest beach (avoiding that whole 13-mile trek in the vehicle) and headed up to the beach on foot.

At the top of the slight grade of sand (now snow), we entered a surreal dimension! The wind was blowing and the silence was overwhelming! No waves could we hear as we usually did. Only the footprints on the snow let us know we weren’t the first to venture into this strangely silent and white land. This is a beach I’ve taken pix on many times.


But what were these things….these small strange mountains between us and the water? No idea.

Obviously, we had taken a wrong turn and landed on Mars! 1 (4)

However, after our initial silent awe, my guys had no hesitation. They headed straight for the mountains determined to explore them and see the water on the other side.

But in the whispers of my mind, I was remembering that sign we had passed at the entrance to the park. I tried to stop them telling them that perhaps these were the noted Ice Dunes of the sign that we weren’t supposed to be on. Husband said no, ice dunes had to be the sand dunes behind where we stood and now covered in snow which also had small signs beside them warning to stay off due to special plant life underneath.

Obviously, not everyone heeded the warning concerning the plant life underneath, as evidenced by the footprints....

Obviously, not everyone heeds the warning concerning the plant life underneath, as evidenced by the footprints….

These things in front of us, these great mountains of snow, were just impeding his view of the frozen lake beyond. I wasn’t so sure. But off he went…my son and his tiny dog a little further behind but, nonetheless, curious enough to follow instead of heeding my warning.

My son on the dunes

My son holding his dog on top of the dunes

Having lost the battle against the testosterone, I decided I would walk further down the beach to one of my usual spots and take pix of the soon-to-happen sunset against the strange snow mountains.  Even as silent as it was out there, with the wind blowing, once my guys had gone over to the other side of those snow mountains, I was strangely cut off from them. By the time I made it to my perch for pix, I was probably about a half mile away from them and I couldn’t see or hear them at all. But it was really going to be a spectacular sunset for sure.

Sadly, these were the closest to sunset pictures I got.

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1 (7)You’re probably asking yourselves why, if I was there so close to the moment of the sun dipping below the horizon, these were the only pix I got.

Well, once over them, it seems my overbold husband FELL THROUGH THE DUNES AND INTO THE FREEZING LAKE!

The pictures above look as if the water of the lake starts beyond the dunes. In fact, the dunes are already on the water and the other side of the dunes where my men were is actually such deep water that when my husband fell through he was not touching bottom. He tried a few times to pull himself up out of the water; but every time, the ice kept breaking under his hands!  Quite quickly, he began to know that his body temp was dropping rapidly.

Mind you, while all this is going on, I’m serenely taking pictures on the other side of the dunes a half mile away and totally unaware of any issue at all.

Enter the 15-year-old superhero of this story.  My son saw his father go in from where he was standing still on top of the dunes.  Once he realized his father couldn’t get out, he sat down his little dog and headed down to help.  However, on his way he too FELL THROUGH THE DUNES AND INTO THE WATER! Thankfully, he has so little weight that he was able to pull himself out of the water and, by walking with a wide-legged stance (“like a cowboy”) trying to distribute his weight so as not to upset the ice again, make it over to my husband. Standing behind him, he got his hands under his father’s shoulders/arms and hefted him out of the water and tossed him up onto the ice. (Thank you God that he’s taken up swimming and skiing this year and has muscles like never before!) And then, both totally soaked and out in the harsh wind and frigid air, they both hiked back up over the dunes and onto the beach.

My first realization of what had occurred was when I saw them coming back up over the dunes and husband yelled for me and made a motion with his hands indicating to head toward the car (now about ¾ mile away). I snapped a few pix of them coming over the dunes again and at that point noticed how shiny their pants were, but didn’t think much about it. You can imagine my anger, fear, concern, panic, shock, etc. when I reached them and found out what had occurred and how I almost came back from this celebratory trip a widow and minus a son!

We drove home fast and got them both into hot showers and began the long process of drying boots, coats, etc. Both of them warmed up fine and thankfully, there were no lasting results from this little contretemps.

Later that evening, we got online and looked up ice dunes. Much to our surprise, Presque Isle is actually given as an example on Wikipedia’s page about ice dunes!  Apparently, an “ice dune is a formation of ice that accumulates on the shores of many arctic beaches and is also common along the shores of the Great Lakes during the winter.” And the kicker, “Because of the way ice dunes form, they are inherently weak and filled with cracks and air pockets. People who venture out onto the dunes sometimes will fall through. If the dune extends out over the water, persons who do this can fall through the dune and into the freezing water underneath; if this happens, hypothermia and death by drowning are urgent, immediate dangers.”

Right. Would’ve been nice to know this beforehand, huh?

As it is, having been rescued by his own son and having to watch while his son fell in and he could do nothing to help him seems to have curbed the edge on husband’s need to explore….for the moment anyway. I have no illusions, but at least I’m pretty sure the ICE DUNES OF DEATH are now on the DO-NOT-DO list for both of them.

So there you go — men being men, a bit of danger, some beauty, a little education, and a teenage superhero all in one post! 


62 thoughts on “THE PROBLEM WITH MEN…(A tale of beauty, much danger, and a teenage superhero!)

  1. Goodness me, what an incredible story, Torrie! I’m absolutely delighted with the outcome but cannot even begin to imagine what you must have gone through. Boys will be boys, of course, but I do hope that your big one will have learnt a lesson – and that the smaller one will also remember this incident in his more daring moments. But the pix are spectacular!


    • Thank you, Anna! Yes, be it known that husband was warned next time the dog would be staying home and husband would be on the leash for winter trips to the beach! 🙂 As for son,…..I sensibly used this event to warn him off blindly following anyone into an unknown situation! I am just glad to still have them both with me!


  2. Oh wow, what an experience! I am thankful it had a happy ending! I am a rule follower, but my husband on occasion tends to skirt around the edges of the rules. I could easily see this sort of thing happening to him as well. The problem with men indeed!

    The pictures are wonderful, though, and I have learned something new about ice dunes from reading this post!


    • Thanks for feedback on the pix… was quite a nice photo outing, until the EVENT anyway…..
      Am glad you learned something…..I confess, after this happened I did feel the need to warn others!


  3. My goodness, what an absolutely horrendous event! They were both so lucky – and you too. You’re right though, sometimes the most surreal and beautiful things can pose most danger but I’m glad they’re both safe and well. Best stick to ‘safer’ sports like skiing and snow blowing ….


  4. Oh wow! This blog seriously sent me on a journey, first looking at this sort of barren ice-land (which did look like the surface of Mars, by the way!) to this heroic rescue tale. Quite a blog and what a weekend adventure for you!!


  5. Agnes. Watko says:

    You must submit this to the local papers….very informative , could help save others. Wow, what a story

    am at Gregs, will chat more when home tomorrow. Xxxooo Sent from my iPad


  6. Wow, this has to be the one story that is going to last with you guys forever – heart-racing scary is to mild a description for what happened. Thank goodness both your son and husband are safe. It takes all but seconds for the body to succumb to freezing water – living in Maine we saw these tragic circumstances all too often. I’m so glad that there was a happy ending.

    btw, your photographs are the best you taken.


    • Yes, you’re correct on that…I think none of us will forget this experience for the rest of our days! We were so very lucky….it still gives me gooseflesh to think of it.

      Thank you, Mary, for the wonderful comment on the pix! You made my day!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Your beautiful photos belie what a truly horrible ending this story could have had!! My heart was in the back of my throat for the entire story because I just knew where you were going with it. I fell through ice many years ago and I’ve had a deep respect for bodies of water in winter ever since.
    I’m so glad this story has a happy ending!! Your son was very brave … you must be sooo proud of him!

    … and congrats on finishing the kitchen renovation! 🙂


    • It is a very good moment when you realize that you’re worth enough for your teen to save your life instead of being tuned out as they usually are! LOL.

      But yes, I know exactly what you mean….never again will I look at water in winter in the same way……it was quite obvious to us before all this that those dunes were on the beach and the water was beyond. Never even a question in our heads. Now we know!

      And now…yes… I’m grateful beyond measure that I left that beach with what I came to it with! Even gained a bit of wisdom!

      Liked by 1 person

    • My reaction exactly! Oh. My. God. (Well, that and then the word “fool” muttered a million times over!) 🙂

      I’ve been telling son over and over what a hero he was since it happened, but coming from someone other than his mother, your comment will make his day!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh my, what a day…what a post! So glad everything worked out all right! Wonderfully told too, I totally didn’t expect the life threatening danger bomb you dropped! Dangerous beauty and a hero son. Boys will be boys…maybe the adventures will be put off for a little while.


    • Yes, I don’t think husband will be too anxious to try anything like that again….problem is…he is but a man, you know? 🙂 Am glad you enjoyed the telling….that surprise is just what I tried for in that writing!


  9. Whoa! Ice dunes of death…thank goodness it ended well. Your son should be super proud of himself. I do hope that some sense has been knocked into the intrepid adventurers head! The photos are stunning. (But a little scary as well….)


  10. Ah! How terrifying!! So glad everyone is ok. These men and their adventures…! But you did get some amazing pictures (however deceptively serene they may be!). My husband went on a sailing adventure in March a few years back and ended up in the hospital for hypothermia. It doesn’t take much time in frigid water to make body temperatures plummet. I can imagine how many emotions were flying through your mind. You DO live in a winter wonderland, that’s for sure!


  11. Miriam says:

    Here i was, reading along, thinking how lovely and eerie the pictures were. What a scary thing to happen, and I’m so glad that it turned out okay. My husband and I were just talking about the dangers of ice recently- my daughter had told us about a little girl who drowned at a park we go to frequently, it has just a small pond, but apparently it was enough to claim her life. We decided that we needed to be extra careful around ice with our wild and fearless boys. Anyway, relieved that the story has a happy ending, and maybe it’s a good cautionary tale as well.


    • Extra careful is right….especially with wild and fearless boys! I still shiver when I think how this day might have turned out. We were very, very lucky! ‘Proceed with caution’ is the new motto here!


  12. Still waiting for the Like button to load! My internet is terrible tonight.

    So glad everyone is okay, what a horror it could have been to keep waiting for that sunset and then wondering where the lads were… and maybe not finding them until spring. Shudder!


    • Oh, yes…..I never really thought about that part….how I would just wait there and wait and wait…….I jumped straight ahead to the point where they were both just gone. Just too much to go in my brain. My initial reaction was confusion and then condescension and anger. Later came worry and last of all was just total meltdown and shakiness and sobs (probably at the point I knew they were okay and I actually processed what had happened). Quite a spectrum I went through in a very short period of time……but in the end…..gratefulness overrode everything else I felt. Just total and complete gratefulness that someone somewhere decided we’d all come home that day.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. OMG I actually read that with my mouth open so great was my shock!! That was a lucky escape indeed. A small consolation prize is that in the midst of all the turmoil you managed to take some amazing pictures. My favourite is the one of the footprints on Mars, because your description was spot on lol


    • Hah! Thanks for sharing your reaction. I was hoping the big EVENT came as a bit of a surprise in the writing. Also, very much appreciate specific feedback on the pix. Helps me know what, if anything, I’m doing right out there! 🙂


  14. Oh, Torrie! What an awful, heart-pounding, life-changing experience for you all. How fortunate for the two fellas to have come out unscathed. Such a story. And I can imagine it will bond the two of them closer than ever before. Boy, talk about gratitude!
    And yes, your photos were truly exquisite. I bet they will hold an extra special meaning for you now as they depict just how beautiful and terrible life can be at exactly the same moment in time.
    I wish you all well.


    • I hadn’t thought about it before, but you’re right….I do actually look at those photos and think both things….danger and beauty – how I was so content out there snapping away while my guys were struggling so much not even very far away from me……a very scary experience to be sure. Very, very grateful to be sure!


  15. I am so glad they are both okay (and your photos are beautiful) – but you really surprised me twice here – first – wight he hubs falling in – and second with the son too. glad they are both okay! and enjoyed the pics and sharing the lesson –


  16. Oh no! Glad they were ok. This really could have been very serious. Glad it turned out ok. Whoosh!

    The photographs are excellent. You’ve got a great eye. I came over after reading Joanne’s story about you meetup in Niagara Falls. I’ve been to Presque Isle Park in the summer and found the roads through the park a tad confusing. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself back where you started.


  17. Torrie, my Heart was in my throat as I read your story. Your husband is lucky to be alive. I hope he knows that. Thankfully your son was able to rescue him. My hubby I don’t think would venture out on those dunes because he probably would have researched everything if we had made a trip like that. He is over-safe conscious. So glad the boys didn’t get sick because I know what frigid air feels like. And by reading this, it seems we don’t live close by. I’ve never heard of this state park. *sad face*


    • Both of them are very lucky to be okay. We are usually very “informed” before we try new things too….tons of research, etc. This was just a one-off thing where they wandered into something not knowing what it was or the potential dangers. Also, it really didn’t look as if those dunes were out on the water so it was kind of deceptive that way too. A good lesson for us all to remember to proceed with caution in unknown adventures. Hmmm…..I am wondering how long you’ve been in Buffalo. Presque Isle is pretty “famous” around this area of the US. We’re only a short 90 minutes from Buffalo area, so perhaps you need to come and discover this park and the beaches this summer! (I promise there won’t be any ice dunes around then!) Perhaps while you and I jaunt around taking pix, we’ll put your husband in charge of keeping my guys out of trouble! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I would LOVE to explore Presque Isle with you. I think I could make 1.5 hour drive with my back and as long as hubby and I time this trip between am feeding and 3pm (could make it 4pm) this is doable. My hubby is a born teacher, yet he could stand to have a wee bit of adventure in his life too. So your boys sound like a really good match for my hubby. I LOVE the beach and I LOVE water so much so, my dream is to one day live near the beach and water, preferably someplace warm. LOL


    • Thanks Cate. Yes, I’m glad they are okay too. At this point….a couple months after the fact, it’s just a point of reference or a warning……”Don’t get any ideas in your head….remember the ice dunes.” Seems to be working quite well! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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