Marielle Kochel

Despite the bone-chilling weather conditions, three friends decided to take a hike in the Black Hills area of South Dakota, yet SE student Marielle Kochel can still remember the mistake of treading on a slippery iced-over creek before she moved to Texas.

To them, the long and narrow path seemed safe to walk on, but about half-way across the bigger part of the creek, the ice began to shift under their feet, making crackling noises below, Kochel said.

“We all kind of walked at a faster pace, but not running so it [the ice] wouldn’t break any more,” she said. “But it kind of failed.”

As they tried to reach the rocky side of the other bank on the now-deteriorating pathway, a cry for help was heard.

“My friend, she kind of slowed down for something, or something was wrong with her. My other friend and I didn’t realize it and just kept walking and helped each other over the little boulders, and she started screaming ‘It’s so cold. It’s so cold.’ So we turn around and she was half-way in the water.”

As the ice formed an almost perfect hole around their soaked friend, the two rushed back to her side just as she almost lost her shoe in the water.

“We got her out successfully, and she had her shoe,” Kochel said. “But it kept cracking and we got our calves and shins wet [on the way back]. We pushed her over the boulders so she wouldn’t get more wet, so that’s good.”

After the three were back on dry land and over a year later, it became something Kochel could laugh about.

“My other friend wanted to keep going, but she started to freak out and was like, ‘My pants are wet. My underwear is wet. My shoes are wet. I’m not going anywhere,’” Kochel said as she laughed at the memory of her drenched friend. “So I gave her my pants, and I sadly took the wet ones, and she calmed down.”

The three tried to continue on their journey but didn’t make it due to cold feet. Avoiding the creek, Kochel said they simply decided to head back home.


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