Rope Swing

Rope swing hike

On an early afternoon this summer, I took a simple hike near our first house in Bloomington. It’s a little trail right across Highway 169 on Anderson Lakes in Eden Prairie. The kids and I used to hike this trail often in the fall.

Barry and I went canoeing on the lakes when we were first dating. Back in the 1970s, it was still out in the country with few homes around. One hot summer day right after I graduated from art school, Barry, his dog Dame and I canoed on Anderson Lakes and jumped in to cool off in the middle of the lake. I remember that day so well because I was trying to decide if I should travel around Europe with my friend Gail. I couldn’t decide what to do. As we hung from the canoe, Barry unselfishly encouraged me to go although my going meant that we would break up for the time I was away. I took his advice and headed off on my first trip to Europe on Dec.31, 1976. Those months of travel shaped the future of my illustration and writing career.

Nine months abroad

There were times during my travels that I considered staying in Norway or England. But after nine months away, I came home to my artwork and, of course, to Barry!

Now whenever I see Anderson Lakes, I think of that summer day canoeing and swimming with Barry. We married and 15 years later took our three young kids to hike this same trail. Once on a run there, I discovered that someone had made a really cool rope swing deep in the woods. I couldn’t wait to show the kids — and they loved it. Mike was pretty little but even he swung way out over the swampy shore of the lake. The kids kept swinging until they couldn’t hold on to the rope anymore!

As I hiked the same trail this summer, I realized in my nostalgia that thinking about all that I have lost recently only leaves me depressed. So I work hard to remember the wonderful life we had together and all those small, fun moments like hiking to a rope swing, jumping in the middle of the lake on a hot summer day — and being excited about the adventure of life! I hiked to where I thought the rope swing was, but it was gone. I’m pretty sure, however, that I found the tree it was tied to. The hike was so peaceful and remembering on this day made me feel, well, happy!

To get there, take Highway 169 south to Anderson Lakes Parkway, turn right and go a few short blocks until you see a parking area on the right. There is no need for a map because it is a short, looped trail that gives you a glimpse into what Eden Prairie and Bloomington looked like with their big woods, swamps and lakes before they became suburbs of Minneapolis. It’s beautiful — just like life!

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