Chute's Beach Tower

Hamilton Boat Landing - Chutes Beach.
(Another view of this boat landing.)

Photo by Robert Smulling - 1954    There it stands; a sentinel to manhood.  Not much of a challenge to reach.  (Perhaps a twenty foot swim to a water depth of less than 10 foot.)  The tower is 30 feet out of the water with platforms at 10, 20 and 30 foot levels.  All measurements taken by the eye of eager youthfulness.   The first level is for everyone.  The second is a smaller platform and requires a knowledge of swimming.

    The third level was finally to be challenged.  Once the decision is made and the ladder climbed there will be no turning back.  The way is blocked by those champions who belong to the select group that mastered the jump in the past.

    That top platform is only about 4 foot square as the tower narrows at the top.  The jump requires some forward momentum to assure clearance of the lower platforms.  After a nerve racking period of indecision, I flung my body into the air and thoughts turned to entering the water vertically to minimize bodily damage.  That occurred at less than 100% success and I was headed for the river bottom.

    Now for your information, the Mississippi is actually a sea of mud covered by a veneer of opaque water.  The bottom was found at about the 10 foot depth, but the problem of velocity gained in the 30 foot drop had not been addressed and my legs continued down into the muck. How did I avoid the razor edges of the ever present clams until coming to rest in mud up to the kneecaps?  There is a rush of panic as I realize the error of not anticipating this turn of events.  The lungs had a full supply of oxygen but anxiety is taking its toll.  Reaching down in the murk, my hands assist in extracting first one leg that finally frees.  The dwindling supply of oxygen in the blood sends a message of urgency and after seemingly eons, all is free and the mad rush to the surface is on.

    Not one drop of water was ingested during the ordeal and surprisingly, not much acclaim from those on the surface was afforded the accomplishment!

    We did not swim at Chute's (Baker's) Beach very often.  There was a daily charge and Dad found the fees much more suitable at the Lakeview Club.

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