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Dave Story: Tobogganing on Murder Hill
Dave Carlson - October 10, 2005

If I ever write an auto-biography, this story most likely will be there. It is a story about my life I thought you might find interesting. Many times when I tell my stories, people say, “You should write a book about that.” So, here’s a start…


1968 Minnesota -- Minnesota winters created a very exciting and enjoyable pastime for me as I was growing up. If I could have had a winter without the need to shovel snow, winter would have been perfect for me during my teenage years.

My favorite winter activity was tobogganing. I would perch myself on top of almost anything that would slide and fly down a snow-covered hill. I’m not sure why I never tried snow skiing, but I’m sure I would have loved it. My most memorable sledding experience was when a group of us went to a large hill by Lake Alexander in Minnesota.

Most of the kids decided that about half way up the hill was enough challenge for them. Four of us did not agree -- we had to go all the way to the top of what we nicknamed “Murder Hill.” I don’t remember how high the hill was, but it was a long way from the top to the bottom.

There were a few trees along the course, but they were far apart and not much of a problem to avoid. At the bottom of the hill, which seemed like a very far place from where we expected to stop at the conclusion of our trip down the slope was a small stream. I think it was spring-fed, because it was not completely frozen. Of course, it was a dangerous and difficult course, so we always spilled over or bounced off the toboggan before we could complete the entire course.

But… one time we made it all the way. During that run down the hill, I was in the second position of the four of us on the toboggan. It felt like we were flying at super-sonic speed down the hill and the ride seemed like it would never end. I watched over the shoulder of the person in front and we would lean together as a team to avoid trees and steer around bumps in the ground.

When we finally reached the bottom of the hill, it felt like we still were gaining speed as we approached the bubbling stream. We hit the edge of the stream and were catapulted into the air. When I dug myself out of a snow bank and found my friends, we grabbed the toboggan and headed back to the top to do it all over again. However, our adult supervisors were shocked and frightened at what we had done. When we flew over the edge of the stream and landed in the snow, several people thought we were dead because it was such a violent-looking end to our trip down the hill.

That was our last ride of the day and I’ve never been back to “Murder Hill.”


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