“I'M JUST GOING TO TOUCH IT ON THE TOP," SAYS CARMEN BRADEN, LOOKING AT A BLACKENED PORCUPINE-LIKE LUMP OF ICE. "WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: IT'S JUST GOING TO FALL APART. READY?"
It’s May 2014, and she’s talking to a camera. Her now-husband, Eli Purchase, is filming her on the banks of the Mackenzie River in Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, where she’s surrounded by mounds of long, thin candle ice that typically forms in the spring. Some are blackened by dirt from when the river, slowly breaking out of its winter freeze, pushed the ice up its banks..."