A popular winter time activity was riding Ice Cakes down the Portage River. The Portage is a shallow, fast flowing, stream and because it was fast flowing, it seldom froze completely over. Ice would, however, form along the banks and sometimes, quite a distance out into the stream. When we would find a place where we could break off a piece, large enough to support the weight of two or three of us kids, we would get on it and pole ourselves out into the current, and float down the river.
This was great fun as long as the ice stayed afloat and we could avoid the partially submerged rocks. Those rocks presented the greatest hazard, because if the ice floe were to strike one, which they quite often did, it would either break up, completely or enough would break off so that the remainder would no longer support the passengers. In such a case the pay load would wind up in two or, sometimes three, feet of ice water. We would never ride those ice cakes all of the way to the St.Joe River, because that was deep and we knew better than to expose ourselves to that hazard.
I don’t know what the force is that motivates boys to do things that they know that, even if successful, they are no better off than they were before and the alternate to success is a miserable hour or more, until they can get home and get dry clothes and a bawling out.