Matthew, Kelson, with a boat hook, Mackenzie, and Lisa Mills in their canoe. Photo courtesy Judy Mills

Mackenzie and Kelson Mills, 8 and 10 respectively, experienced a unique adventure with their parents on Jan. 12, the second day of “a sheet of ice” on Vaughn Bay.

Dad Matthew Mills suggested the outing, and with the kids jumping up and down with excitement, mom Lisa joined in. They paddled out in their red canoe, and found the ice to be about a quarter-inch thick.

They pushed through the icy covering, and the noise sounded “like at the North Pole,” Kelson said. “We had to yell to be able to talk,” he said.

“It sounded like metal grinding against metal,” Mackenzie added. “When we paddled, the waves went under the ice and made it move.”

The water from the paddles froze before the drops landed. They could see the path they made through the ice. Kelson reached out with a boat hook to smash a hole in the ice, then stuck the hook into the hole to pull the boat ahead. They saw seashells frozen in the ice, and sticks half-submerged that Matthew said “looked like frozen wooly mammoths.” They watched a seagull walking around on the ice, but most of the ducks and seagulls were out on the sandspit.

“Panes of ice” on the Mills beach on Vaughn Bay. Photo courtesy Judy Mills

The children knew they had to be careful in the canoe so it didn’t tip, and if they fell in and went under the ice, they would need to break the ice. “Take your personal flotation device if you go,” Mackenzie advised.

After the tide went out and left ice on the beach, “it looked like a bunch of panes of glass,” according to Kelson.

Grandpa Don Mills told them it was 57 years ago when the bay had that much ice on it.

Both children were ready to go out the following day if the “Vaughn Bay ice sheet,” as their dad called it, remained intact.

“It was the best winter adventure ever,” Kelson said.