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August 25, 2016

Red Rocks |Burlington, Vermont

As our group made our way across northeast America, we relied solely on the use of the Big Swings App to guide us to our next destinations. The goal was to fit as much cliff jumping and swimming into three days as possible.

Destination #3 on Big Swings Northeastern #KeepItClean Tour

Red Rocks, Burlington, Vermont

The Big Swings crew grabbed an early dinner in the beautiful city of Burlington, Vermont, and then popped into the Big Swings App to take us to our next destination. We tapped “Nearest Places,” and headed towards the closest, most exciting option the app provided— a cliff side called Red Rocks, located just south of Burlington in Red Rocks Park.

Leaving town, Lake Champlain kept peeking through the lush pine trees; the water’s ripples glistened orange in the late day’s sun. We had been traveling all day long. We left New Jersey at 2:30 AM, and had already jumped at both Alstead Mica Mine in New Hampshire and Bingham Falls on Mount Stowe in Vermont. It was now 6:30 PM and we were looking at a mile and a half hike and a seventy-six-foot jump. Both exhaustion and adrenaline had our bodies and minds working in overtime.

Without a second to lose, we parked the car and threw on our backpacks. Hitting the trail-head, we moved with haste trying to capture the last of the day’s sun. The plan was to jump Red Rocks and get back to the car prior to complete dark. As it was, we arrived on the cliffs just after the sun started to sink behind the horizon line.

Several groups meandered the cliff sides, taunting each other and

leaping from holes in the hemlock and pine-covered bluffs. Large and small vessels pulled up to watch brave jumpers leap from the dark red and bright white sandstone cliff faces. Huge party boats floated by blaring their horns while coaxing bodies to fly through the air for their patrons’ entertainment. Applause and women’s shrieks echoed off the walls every time someone leapt.

Pulsing with excitement, we gathered ourselves and sent a spotter into the water. Safety checks completed, we measured the jumps.  Although This location is known for having a seventy-six-foot jump, Big Swings verified a top height at sixty-nine feet. The surrounding cliffs measured heights of: Ten, Thirty-Seven, Forty-Two, and Sixty-Nine feet.

 

In Reverence to Red Rocks

A moment before jumping, the squad took rest on the forty-foot ledge and appreciated what lay before us. We looked out over a vast lake with shorelines covered in thick forest and tall, red cliff faces. A sailboat silently slipped off towards the quickly fading sunset of gray and pink. The time exploring spots like these with friends and family remains irreplaceable.

The regular water-line shown itself vibrantly on the shoreline walls. The water was feet below the normal level making the sixty-nine footer unjumpable. Disappointed, we checked the water for depths under the almost seventy-foot jump; all we found were eight-foot depths and massive pointy boulders. When something is too shallow, you just have to take your losses and not risk the jump. It’s not worth injury or death.  As safety is our number one priority, we stuck to the forty footers and appreciated what we did have.

In light of our limited height options, we posted up on the forty and proceeded to throw ourselves from the cliff ledges and red, snaky hemlock roots out over the blue water. Jordan Solorio stole the show throwing double front flips, flying gainers, and straight diving from all sorts of heights. After meeting new friends, cleaning up some trash, and safely hucking some cliffs, we packed up our gear and headed for the car.

Getting Out Can Be The Hardest Part

Equally exhausted and soaked, we took on the darkening path and made our way towards what we thought was the exit. The enormous trees had a thick canopy thwarting the attempt of the day’s last light to guide us out. We realized we had become lost when we hit a condominium complex. We turned on the Big Swings App and followed navigation back to the car.

Luckily, due to this unfortunate misstep, we stumbled upon the Burton Snowboard Factory- coincidentally located right outside the parking for Red Rocks. Like the tourists that we were, we snapped some photos and watched the employees throw down in the Burton Skate Park behind the facility. Finding our car, we packed up and fired back up the Big Swings App. Interested in hitting a waterfall, we used the filter, and we found a one-hundred-ten-foot monster called Salmon Falls.

Of course, as soon as we left Burlington, a massive storm rolled in and covered upstate New York. Unbenounced to us, we were about to partake in the most extreme adventure-day of our lives. Read about it in our Salmon Falls editcle.

 

Thanks to our friends at GraniteRocx Outdoor Apparel, Kingii Safety Devices, Serac Hammocks, Shutta, and Ix’ChelDream.