This story was shared by viewer Dan Eyrich:
Last Wednesday night, the Rock River rose to with-in just a few inches of its all-time high in Prophetstown. It caught many people off guard who had to quickly take action to save possessions and themselves. Lost in all the commotion were the animals who also had to flee for their lives.
Many small animals headed to higher ground and in some cases met their fate on area roadways near the rising water, but this tale has a happy ending.
Wednesday morning with the river already flowing at a furious rate and rising, an enormous ice jam made its way into the bend near the Prophetstown State Park around 8:00 a.m. The jam, stretching from bank to bank, would flow for about 45 minutes before coming to a halt and remaining for the next two days.
While watching the ice flow move by my home I noticed some movement on the ice about halfway across the river. Grabbing my video camera I hurried outside and zoomed in on the object and determined it was a fox. The red, long tailed critter didn’t seemed too concerned about the situation as it was content to just “go with the flow.”
I left the house and drove down river to the Highway 78 bridge, and waited. After about ten minutes standing on the span in a biting wind, I started back to my truck when I spotted my target approaching, still sitting in the middle of the jam. As it floated closer I could tell the noise of the traffic began to make the fox antsy and it started trotting over the icy surface.
Despite the urging of a few bystanders, who had joined me on the bridge, for our floater to head to shore, it spent most of its time heading upstream, away from the bridge. I decided I had to see how this was going to play out, so I hopped into my truck and headed for another vantage point.
I caught up with the red tailed passenger behind the Rock River Lumber and Grain bin site. It was continuing to move upstream at a fairly good clip and actually gaining ground on the ice flow. Despite distancing itself from the noise of the bridge it made no effort to seek the safety of the shore.
Then it happened, the ice flow ground to a halt. The fox quickly realized the situation had changed and after studying the situation decided to head to the tree line on the east side of the river. I swear it turned back to give the ice once last look before disappearing into the woods.
I was concerned that despite the fact it had gone to the treeline that finding a dry, solid piece of real estate would be hard to come by as the water was continuing to rise. There was a small farm near where the fox had made his exit off the ice and I had seen the people from that house in their yard watching this adventure unfold.
As it turns out, I ran into the one of those folks the next day who told me they had seen the fox that afternoon near their out buildings and it seemed none the worse for wear. As I said, a happy ending to an otherwise terrible event that caused a lot of anguish for a lot of people. I’m just glad I could find a small victory to share during several days of turmoil.