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Remember: Trout Creek Parkway: Part 2

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Trout Creek Parkway: Part 2

The second half of Trout Creek Parkway was very different than the first. It felt like visiting two different parks. The trail began to look like a bizzaro version of the Little Lehigh Parkway, complete with an eerily familiar bridge underpass.

After that underpass however, the macadam trail became very unique.

The edge forest that is present here is in the tail end of secondary succession. This is the middle step of local reforesting that ends up with the familiar eastern deciduous forest that is native to our area and is defined by the appearance of perennials and eventually woody shrubs and shade-tolerant trees. This middle step however is rife with biennials and invasive species that flourish before the natural vegetation can take hold. Examples of this secondary stage at TCP include a significant growth of Virginia Creeper and a bunch of Chinese Sumac (also called Tree of Heaven.)

The path here gets very interesting. A single bench with significant moss growth sits on the left side at the middle point of the path:

As it continues, it degrades. Parts of the path are so dominated by Virginia Creeper that you have to squat underneath to make it through. There is a guardrail on one side of the path and a rapidly deteriorating wooden wall on the other:

The path ends here:

I am not sure whether that bridge fell in or if the creek simply retook it. This part of TCP seemed very much like it could be a setting for that Discovery Channel show, Life After People.

Across the way however, a very manicured pseudo Lehigh Parkway seemed to exist. I walked back on the Life After People path and crossed a bridge to see the other half of this side of TCP:

Sadly, people that visit TCP didn’t seem to keen on cleaning up after their dogs on this path. To the right, what I can figure are remains of some railroad lay in the creek:

The path continues, looking very much like LP:

TCP ends its journey with a baseball diamond near Auburn Street on the south side of Allentown:

At every corner, TCP surprised me. I had no idea what to expect when I arrived there and I was more than pleasantly surprised by what I found. It is very difficult to find historical information on these places so despite some time spent in the library I am unable to explain what may or may not have been there at some point. Molovinsky left a comment on yesterday’s first journey, letting me know that some of TCP may or may not have been an old dump. I have no idea, although at some point TCP was doubled in size so he may be onto something.

There is a lot of potential at TCP. Some things there need a little patching up but it is a wonderful park regardless. It is certainly the most unique park I have yet to visit and I had a genuinely fun afternoon exploring it. Go take a look yourself. You’ll be as surprised as I was.



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