This winter, before the infamous ice storm, when the ground was covered with sleet and snow, several of us spent three nights sledding at the abandoned Hydra-Slide waterslide.
The first night, when several inches of sleet had fallen, I spent the afternoon frantically looking for sleds. I finally found several at an Ace Hardware across town and bought up four, including two steel Clark Griswold-type discs. Then when it got dark, Hiccup and I picked up Underdog and headed over to the slide.
For any non-Springfieldians reading, the Hydra-Slide was a concrete waterslide with four lanes that operated for many years. Kids would ride foam discs or large foam mats down the lanes. It was infamous for being somewhat of a death trap, since kids were able to gain speed and literally bounce over the barriers between lanes. In fact, I spent quite a few days there as a child honing my lane-jumping technique.
When we got there, there were actually probably half a dozen teenagers already there and sledding. Some of them even had snowboards and were doing a pretty good job of riding all the way down the slide. All but a few of them left shortly after we got there, though.
As for us, we found that our sleds didn't do too well on most of the waterslide. The steel discs were just a hair too wide for the lanes and the angles just weren't steep enough. However, an elongated plastic sled I had bought worked pretty good. You could fly down most of the of the tracks pretty well.
We found, though, that the best sledding was the last 50 yards or so of the lanes. When the waterslide was in operation, that stretch was where most of the lane-jumping occurred. It was no different with the sleet. There was a raised area above that stretch where we could drop in on our sleds, almost like a skateboarder's half-pipe. As our bruised tailbones could attest, we were getting a lot more air while jumping the lanes on sleds than we ever did while watersliding.
The next night, I returned alone. I hadn't gotten all the sledding out of my system and I was hoping I'd catch some people from Underground Ozarks there. Luckily, Punctual and his friend were there and had a nice inner tube that was working much better than our sleds had. Thanks to the snow that had piled up on top of the sleet, the sledding was better all around as well.
I sledded for a little while, but I ended up spending most of my time taking pictures of Punctual and his friend getting some serious air while jumping the barrier between lanes. They also managed to knock me down a few times while I stood in front of their path to get good shots.
The third night, when the roads were clearer, we decided to give it one more go, since this was something we'd talked about doing for years. Underdog, Undercat, Sertile, Hiccup, Punctual and two of his friends, and myself all met up at the library across from the Hydra-Slide. We spent a little while sledding on a hill there before driving over to the nearby abandoned driving range, where a few dozen people were already sledding. We sledded there for well over an hour and got to try out a few of the wackier sleds that some of the people there had.
After that, we all headed over the Hydra-Slide. The sledding that night was the best of all, probably due to some partial melting and re-freezing. We spent a good long while jumping the lanes on the last stretch, using mostly Punctual's sleds since they worked a lot better. I got some great pictures of almost everyone busting their ass at least once.
After that, the great Hydra-Slide sledding adventure came to an end.
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Here you can read about White Rabbit's day-to-day explorations and adventures.
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