Grab a cup of coffee, because this is a good one! Photos, stories, more photos, and more stories of our creekside clean-up… and a freakin’ ZIP LINE, y’all!
Last Spring, when we first began discussions about moving to Big Creek, the first order of business was to do a creekside clean-up! The Park, our little spot of land on the creek bank, has been my favorite place for over 35 years. Sadly, it had been neglected for at least 20 years. We knew that this was going to be a huge undertaking, and it did take us several days of steady work to get it all done. It was so worth it.
Back in 1981, Papa built a picnic table with two long bench seats, another bench, and another small table with a huge, flat rock as the table top down at The Park. He secured the furniture by building it all onto metal poles set into the ground with concrete, and then building up around the poles with creek rocks and cement. He built a sweet little dock with a ladder to get in and out of the creek, and concreted that in, too. Neither flood nor wind could destroy The Park, and we spent many lazy summer days lounging around on this furniture, jumping off the dock, and swimming in Big Creek. Basically, he did his own creekside clean-up, with lots of fantastic touches.
Over the next couple of years, Papa added a rock walkway and smoker, complete with a chimney. Papa and Madre would hold huge, loud parties, complete with live music and late-night swims. They cooked everything from hamburgers to black bear meat on the smoker, and The Park was, by far, everyone’s favorite hangout.
Over the years, as it always happens, The Park became neglected. Us kids grew up, moved around, and began finding our places in this world. Papa and Madre weren’t much for taking random dips in the creek, and had plenty of other land to tend to. Trees fell into the creek, creating dams and clogs that made it a little less fun to swim in. The best tree of all, the one that had always held our rope swing, died and crashed into the water, and the cane just took over the whole bank, clear out into the middle of The Park. We cut, and cut, and cut, and then we burned,
and burned, and burned…
When we took on the task of revitalizing everything last year, we found it all to still be in relatively decent shape!
There were a few trees growing up through the picnic table and benches, but the lone bench to the side was sound as a pound, and nothing had shaken the awesome rock table in over 30 years. Brother Bear had worked hard the summer before getting the creek swimmable again by cutting up and releasing a lot of the dammed-up limbs and branches, and after we got done, we were finally able to just climb right down into the creek on that same old ladder we’d always used. I fell in love with my swimming hole all over again!
Coach and our good friend B-Mack rebuilt the picnic table using the same stable posts that Papa had used.
They even managed to salvage most of the rock-work underneath, and Coach can put back any rocks that fell off in the reconstruction.
The benches for the picnic table had to be rebuilt entirely, but the ones we have now can be moved around, which is nice. The rock table is still standing there, looking ever like a mushroom.
Coach and Madre gave the lone old bench a fresh coat of bright yellow paint, which just made me smile from ear to ear!
Our creekside clean-up was a huge success! Here’s everything a year later:
Yesterday, we added the next big, amazing thing to The Park! Coach, Brother Bear and the two genius-nephews engineered and constructed a zip line,
and then spent the next several hours having the time of their lives, zipping through the air and splashing into the cold creek water below….
…once Brother Bear and Coach tightened it up enough to get some air between their feet and the water!
Who needs an old, dead tree with a rope swing? Not these folks! Thanks to Walls Lumber Company and the hard work of Coach, Brother Bear, and the boys (and my excellent spectating skills), we have our very own zip line into the creek! The kids zipped and zipped, and a few adults even zipped! They had to tweak and adjust a few times, but I do believe it’s the best zip line I have ever seen!! Don’t worry, I’ll be sharing more photos, but my vacation is only halfway over!
This, so far, has been the best vacation EVER…and I get to sleep in my own bed at night! Woo-HOO!!