‘Old Man Rope’ appreciated gift

We are reaching the midpoint of summer and it has been a season of unusual heat.
The waters of Rainy Lake have had surface temperatures that arched over 80 degrees F. The real water temperature is a much more modest 74 F.
Even those who really are not into swimming in the lake are welcoming the soothing, cooling, soft caressing feel of the water this year. The lake is the perfect temperature—it is neither too warm nor too cold (just as “Goldilocks” would like it).
We do not swim off the dock or off a beach at our cabin. Instead, we wander down from the cabin and jump in from the granite rock that runs almost 100 metres across.
Just below where we jump in is a ledge that is almost three metres wide and sits at a depth of just over one metre.
When we climb out, there is no sand or gunk, and we can walk back up to the cabin and not track in any dirt or sand. It is one of the things we really like about our location on the lake.
Up until last year, we relied on our agility to grab a foothold on the rock and then springing upwards to get a second footing to climb up it. Being young, we were never bothered by the difficult maneuver. Slipping or falling back into the water didn’t matter, and the scrapes and bruises didn’t matter.
My parents, as they grew older, began finding other ways to get out of the water.
We constantly had talked about trying to create a stair system to get out of the water there. Our family never reached a satisfactory plan, however, and nothing changed.
It took our friends from Missouri to come up with the solution—a practical one at that. Last year, when Phil, Melba, and David were alone at the cabin, they installed a rope assist with knots about every two feet to pull oneself up and almost walk right up out of the water and up the granite slope.
The rope, which is about two cm thick and 100 feet long, is wrapped around a red pine at the top of the rock. The rope snakes back into the water.
When it was installed, I don’t think any of us really thought it was needed. In fact, we sort of frowned at the idea of needing an assistive device to get out of the water.
I continued to resist using it. But one warm day last August, when it had been drizzling and the rock was slippery, I gave in and tested the rope.
It blew me away. It made getting out of the water easy.
After the installation, someone had christened the rope as “The Old Man Rope” that only the old and infirm might use it. That August day made me a believer.
In fact, everyone now uses the “old man rope”—even the youngsters.
It has become a truly appreciated gift.

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