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Remember: Adventure at Kimmet's Lock

Monday, July 27, 2009

Adventure at Kimmet's Lock


I must confess something here before I talk about Kimmet’s lock and my subsequent adventure. In my Canal Park log, I erroneously stated that Canal Park was the only Allentown Park on the Lehigh River. Bucky Boyle (which will be documented later in the week) and Kimmet’s lock are both on the river.

Kimmet’s lock is primarily a boat launch access point on the river.

The water here is of questionable quality.


Past the ruins, a trail leads to train tracks which stretch next to the river all the way to Canal Park and points beyond.


I decided to take a seat by the side of the water, and take the chance to actually relax. The water here is beautiful and on as hot a July day as this one, the breeze was refreshing.

Looking up from my rocky seat I could see the old railroad trestle looming.

Figuring it had to be fenced off, I decided to walk back to the parking lot and head home. As it turned out, the fence was not much of a fence at all and the old bridge was easily accessed. "Well then, probably should go out on it".

There is an old rail car still left up there.

Being familiar with the much smaller and lower trestle in the Parkway, I knew what I would be putting myself through if I went out there. I couldn’t resist though, the opportunity seemed too great not to go and with the thoughts of my paralyzing stroll on the wall at Fountain Park dancing in my head, I headed out on the bridge.

The first few feet were a cinch. I was riding high, chest out, back straight with the gait of John Wayne that is until I looked down (Mental dialogue: Way to go Andrew, now you're going to break through these old wooden beams and drown. Idiot. Idiot. Idiot.) and instantly began quaking and nearly peeing my pants. I kept walking though for whatever reason and as long as I looked straight ahead, I was golden. The views of the river here are incredible.


Reaching the other side, I was truly feeling pumped. It was a beautiful day (despite the heat) and I had done it. No sitting down and being scared silly. No sissy stuff. I was all man up there and I even looked down a few times and it was totally fine. Then, I met a shirtless fellow. He was a nice guy. He jumped off the bridge; which seemed a perfectly normal thing, if you know people who frequently jump from bridges. There is, it turns out a bit of tradition here of jumping. There is even a rope swing.


After seeing the shirtless fellow leap I realized just how slow I was walking across the wooden planks. I also began to notice how many of them were in no way structurally stable. At this point, my Fountain Park experience seemed to be returning. But, by this time, I had reached the other side. See, I was looking down the whole way across. Stupid I know but it felt like the right thing to do, because apparently as this shows, I happen to be actually stupid.

It was beautiful up there though...

(For the record: Do not attempt this. It is unsafe and probably trespassing.)

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4 Comments:

Blogger LVCI said...

The wife & I do a whole lot of bike riding of the canals. I don't want to be too down on this parking area, but wow!

You can ride from Kimmet's East alongside the rail yards, finally coming out on Sand Island Beth. From there onto Freemansburg, then past the Bethlehem boat club to the Rt 33 public boat launch area.. Still further onward to the forks of Delaware.

Let me say this. We have parked at the Rt 33 boat launch area. We've parked on Sand Island. We've parked in several areas along this trail. And I would never ever park at Kimmet's even though it would be only 5 minutes away for us to do so. Granted it been a couple of years but when we rode from Sand Island to Kimmet's there were kids blasting radios. Groups of loud youths. Beer cans strewn about. The building housing toilets or whatever were closed in disrepair and in general the building was a wreck!

If anyone rides the length I described will find nothing worse looking in any of those other areas. Nor fear to leave their cars parked there for a couple of hours. Occasionally police fished out stolen vehicles form the Lehigh that the boat launch ramp was used to drive stolen cars into the river.

I wish this weren't so, but it is. I'm not posting this to take anything away from your visit. Nor criticize your post. I do indeed find your wanderings excellent and I appreciate what your doing. But the fact be told, if anyone were to visit any other area of this trail they'd find Allentown's to be the worst. No way you can compare Kimmett's to ANY of the other break areas. NO WAY

It is another example of Allentown not being able to maintain another recreational area to keep it up to snuff with ANY of the others along the trail. It is an example why we need to bring our present park system up to par before venturing off into more additions when we cannot maintain properly the present ones (in some instances).

For instance here is the bike ride I posted from Sand Island to RT 33 boat launch and a bit beyond. Which eventually leads through Hugh Moore Park in Easton to the Forks at the Delaware. It parallels the old Lehigh Valley Railroad tracks into NJ.

Would you take your wife & kids and feel safe leaving from Allentown? We don't.

I really wish we could, but we don't.

July 27, 2009 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

LVCI, check out my posts on Canal Park. You are right. The situation in our riverside parks especially in contrast to the D and L trail is really bad. It needs to be fixed. If the city is really going to finally move forward with waterfront development, cleaning up these parks better be part of it.

July 27, 2009 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

andrew, from my point of view the city should have addressed these problems before it started the cedar park re-design or any of their plans. maintaining what already exists first is only common sense.

July 27, 2009 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

MM, fair enough. Even with the CBP plans moving forward (and I am very glad they are fixing the ponds first), I hope that fixing these parks is still high on the agenda.

July 27, 2009 at 11:19 AM  

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