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Life's Rich Pageant

Chicago Guy Rescued After Quarter-Mile Stroll Onto Frozen Lake Michigan

There he goes!
Screenshot: WGN

Something to keep in mind when considering water—a hydrogenous chemical compound that covers the majority of Earth’s surface—is that it goes through phase changes when submitted to certain temperatures and pressures. These processes have produced hits you may be fond of, such as rain, geysers, and, of course, ice, the solid phase of dihydrogen monoxide. Solidifying water into ice is a somewhat complicated chemical process, so perhaps if you are a college student studying something other than the natural sciences, you might be confused and think that when water freezes it becomes, I don’t know, solid ground, suitable for a nice stroll?

A Chicago college student attempted this experiment on Friday morning, walking over a quarter mile out onto an ice-covered Lake Michigan. The camera pullback here is pretty horrifying, as it slowly reveals that my man is going Shackleton mode to a truly unsettling degree. Also, this guy went for his morning ice walk one day after a dog had to be rescued from an ice floe.

The unnamed 24-year-old student was rescued by fire crews after someone in a nearby high-rise called it in. He did an interview with the local Fox station and honestly seemed pretty happy and chill about the whole thing, even though the fire department had to send out a raft for him and a first responder fell through the ice during the course of the rescue (they’re fine). “I was strolling on ice because I found it was solid, and I found it relaxing,” he said, adding that he didn’t realize at first that the rescue sirens were for him.

For an on-the-scene report on the state of the lake ice, we went to Hyde Park resident Steven Redford. Redford told Defector that he has walked out into this very cove, though he says the ice was significantly thicker then, and he didn’t stray that far from shore.

Perhaps this is some bizarre Chicagoland ritual, where confused cryophiles are drawn to the tempting beauty of an iced-over Lake Michigan? Seems odd. All I will say here is that nobody would ever pull some stunt like on the ocean, a body of water everyone respects enough not to attempt bipedal locomotion upon.