November 18, 2011 11:49 PM
You might not be aware that I grew up living in New Jersey until age thirteen. No, not “Joisey”. And this was way before any of that show which we shall not mention.
We lived in the way, way southern part of the state—the part that is not just an extension of New York City. My parents had five acres of land that was surrounded by a state forest. It was pretty awesome, actually. I could ride my bike about a mile to go swimming in the lake. There was a ton of trails and forests to explore, too. All for free.
My dad worked in marine electronics at the time and he had always been a bit of a packrat. He found some dock rope that was being discarded and grabbed it. Keep in mind he worked on some pretty good-sized yachts, so these were not your average ropes you might use for a canoe. This rope was about 2 and a half inches in diameter.
We had a huge tree in our side yard and he thought it would be perfect to hang a rope swing on. At the one end he tied a few knots five feet apart, which were perfect to sit or stand on. Thinking back on it, I am not sure how he got it up the tree. He must have used a ladder to get high enough so he could climb the rest of the way. It was an impressive feat, because rope that thick is heavy. The limb the rope hung from was probably 40 feet up, so this swing was pretty amazing.
We used an old workshop table to launch from, but since I was an adventurous kid, I always wanted to swing higher and faster. I would climb on top of the paddock fence behind the table. It was only a couple feet higher, but every inch counted for maximum swinging. Since there were a few knots and it was so long, we could get three people on it at a time. Launch, climb quickly to the next knot, then the next person jumped on when the rope came back.
That rope swing was definitely one of the favorite things from my childhood. I won't lie; I liked showing it off to friends when they visited. :]
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