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


  1. oh, so beautiful. i think your swing length preferences would be better explained by a disclosure of your height.

  2. Oh yeah, I remember the old swings. They had really long chains, didn't they? And I seem to remember the chains were dangerous and would try to bite your fingers sometimes. Also, I biffed it pretty bad a couple times trying to jump from a swinging swing. Those were the good old days.

    And that robot slide thing? SO COOL, even though it smelled like urine in the head.

    Did we ever have swings at the elementary school playground? I don't remember any, but we must have, right?

  3. i want to see what it looks like with snow. i like these swings but i totally understand how irreplaceable the orginals must be. beautiful view!

  4. The head of the robot totally smelled like urine. It was probably pretty nasty. I always thought it was insane how kids would climb on top of the head.

    I don't think MOE ever had swings. We had all those crossbars everywhere, like the salt/sweet train ;) There's this weird thing about schools and swings I think, because I rarely see them together in WA.

  5. and full disclosure, I am 6'1". I'm pretty sure I mentioned it in a post somewhere, but no one will ever find that.

  6. this isn't it, but this is what I remember it looking like: