22 December 2009

OUT-OF-TOWN SWINGS: Don Morse Memorial Park, Chelan, WA

Don Morse Memorial Park, also known as the "City Park," is the main park in the small town of Chelan, WA, where I spent my childhood, ages 3-18. Right now I happen to be visiting family for the holidays, and I thought I'd document some swings from my hometown. Apparently Google Maps calls it "Lakeshore Park," which is the name of the adjacent RV camping park. Notice how there isn't much snow here right now... so odd.

Location: Highway 150 & W Nixon Ave, Chelan, WA 98816.
Number of swings: 4 regular, 4 baby buckets
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length: Medium, Medium-long.

As you can see, these swings seem to be a variety of heights off the ground. I'm not sure if this is intentional or not, but I like the variety. The swing lowest to the ground is a good compromise of medium-long length: long enough to reach nice heights, but short enough for the chains to stay tight and not buckle so much on the return swing. The higher-off-the-ground swings are actually high enough to allow my feet to dangle and not smack the ground at any point of the swinging experience.

These are not the swings I swung on in childhood; this playground has undergone quite a few transformations over the past 20 years or so. Back in elementary school, I lived across the street from this park on Gibson Ave., and the swings had super long chains; these are the swings that set into motion the exciting life of a "Seattle Swinger." A giant robot slide also once lived here; it was eventually deemed unsafe and removed from the park. Those swings were probably what sparked the swing-o-philia of my adulthood, and I greatly prefer [the memory of] them to the swings that currently stand. However, the current swings are still atop a hill, presenting a beautiful lake and mountain view for the swinger.

How to get there: First get to Chelan. Link Transit bus routes #21, 31 and trolley route #34 stop along Chelan-Manson Highway (SR-150) next to the park, but most people in Chelan would probably drive. Or you could even walk, this town is really small.

*City of Chelan webpage on Don Morse Memorial Park
*GoLakeChelan, a community blog

19 December 2009

Kayu Kayu Ac Park, Shoreline/Richmond Beach

Kayu Kayu Ac Park is one of the newest parks in the Seattle area, having been renamed and dedicated in June. I stumbled upon a local blog article on the occasion. This park is amazing, mostly because of it's perfect location next to Puget Sound.

Location: 19911 Richmond Beach Drive NW, in Shoreline.
Number of swings: 2 regular, 2 baby
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length: Medium.

I really love this park. It's newer, so everything is still mostly unspoiled. The swings aren't the best as far as chain length, but you can look out over the Sound, and that's something I consider a trump card. All that separates this park from the water is the railroad tracks, so some well-timed swinging can be accompanied with locomotion sights and sounds.

How to get there: Bus route #348 stops on somewhat-nearby 24th Ave NW.

11 December 2009

Seward Park

Seward Park, located in the neighborhood of the same name, can easily be considered one of the best parks in Seattle. The park contains old-growth forest, lake shoreline and views of Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier on clear days. And I saw an eagle there during my last visit, so it got me really excited about the place. There are two playgrounds, a lower playground near the park entrance/lake shore and an upper playground in the interior of the park.

Location: 5895 Lake Washington Blvd S
Number of swings: 1 regular, 1 baby seat, 1 baby bucket (lower playground); 4 regular, 2 baby buckets (upper playground).
Ground material: Wood chips at both playgrounds.
Chain length: Medium-long (lower playground); Long (upper playground).

The lower playground is located near the lake shore at the entrance to the park. It's a smaller swingset with only a single regular swing, a baby seat and 2 baby buckets. The baby seat is big enough for an adult to sit in, but it's not quite the same. This part of the park is amazing; there are amazing views of Mt. Rainier and Lake Washington as you swing.

The upper playground has a bigger swing set: 4 regular swings and 2 baby buckets. It's at the top of the hill after you enter the park and go up into the peninsula. It is surrounded by trees and your swinging view is of a grassy clearing and the meandering trail that enters the forested area. The swings are a little low to the ground, but the seats are of the wider variety, giving one a more comfortable swinging experience.

How to get there: Bus route #39 stops at the park entrance.

05 December 2009

OUT-OF-TOWN SWINGS: Minnehana Park, Minneapolis (Guest Entry)

Today's post is a guest entry from my good friend, Doug, who lives in Minneapolis, MN. Doug is a swing enthusiast as well, and when we attended UW together, we had many a swing adventure, planting the seeds of this very swing blog.
So enjoy the guest entry, it is my hope to occasionally show you, my dear Seattle Swingers, the beauty of out-of-town swings. Oh, and for the record, I have indeed swung on these swings, back in September 2008 when I was in Minneapolis visiting Doug and attending another good friend's wedding.

(post written and photographed by Doug)

In my (limited) explorations of Twin Cities parks so far, this one easily stands out as having both the best swings and the best swinging experience. The swings themselves are great fun, though I wish the chains were a bit longer. The chain length (which seems to be endemic to parks here from what I have seen) prevent you from getting up too high, but it's a smooth if sometimes squeaky ride with a terrific overview of the park grounds. The park itself is easily my favorite in Minneapolis, though. So: well-above average (but not perfect) swings + incredible park combined make this a must-visit spot if you find yourself in Minneapolis. Notice the many lovely oak trees. They are beautiful in all the four seasons.

Of course another highlight of the park is the waterfall, currently ensconced in icicles. There is also a system of trails leading to the Mississippi River. Come here with friends for some lovely swings, and then take a short hike. If you come here at the right times you can be sure to avoid too many people as well. Winter apparently scares plenty of people off since I was there on a Saturday afternoon and the place was practically deserted.

Location: 4801 S. Minnehaha Park Dr. Minneapolis, MN 55417
Number of swings: 5 regular (bring a group!), 2 baby buckets
Ground Material: Sand or snow depending on time of year
Chain Length: Medium

How to get there: Once in Minneapolis, the Hiawatha Line light rail (route #55) stops right by the park.