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Remember: Park Journey: Whitehall's Jordan Creek Parkway

Monday, November 2, 2009

Park Journey: Whitehall's Jordan Creek Parkway

The path into Jordan creek parkway begins paved. It crosses two bridges high above the Jordan creek and on this warm October morning, the creek was swollen and gushing with fallen leaves.

Gradually, the path turns to gravel and heads deeper into more forested areas. The forest here is in all kinds of stages of ecological succession. A glance to the right will show pioneer species dominating in the low lands and few early stage successional trees growing while a glance to the right shows a forest much closer to its climax with tall trees beginning to form a closed canopy.

The path continues onwards, deeper into nature.

The views alongside the path grow more incredible the deeper into the park you travel.

It reaches a looping point at another raised bridge and immediately splits. All throughout this park are scattered trails designed in part by mountain bikers, as well as an 18 hole disc golf course. I imagine it would take a cartographer a long time to map all the paths. After the bridge, I was presented with a trail that was no longer gravel but dirt and that was spilt in two directions. With the unavoidable Frost reference on my mind I chose the path to the right.

Eventually this path begins to climb upwards onto a ridge high above the Jordan Creek. The views here are absolutely stunning, especially with the increased visibility on account of the fallen leaves.

It is those same leaves however that began to cover the trail I had chosen so deeply that I lost my way. I was far removed from any sort of walked path and I began to feel briefly, that I had become lost in the woods. What a wonderful feeling it was, to be able to enter a park and feel lost in nature. I stumbled around on hidden slippery and sharp rocks until I slid my way to the edge of a cliff and sat to watch and hear the Jordan creek churl and bubble below me.

Here, the noise of nature blends to a sincere silence. Here, where I had lost my way into the increasingly bare woodlands I could not have been happier. The stress of the last few weeks melted into the fallen leaves and the Jordan washed the rest of worry downstream. I meandered on fighting the inclination to build a shelter and stay for awhile.

I needed to make my way downwards, without slipping down the cliff and I soon enough found what seemed to be the remnants of an old trail. It led me back into the mud of the lowlands and ended up right alongside the banks of the nearly flooded Jordan.

The creek here is usually shallow with sun bleached rocks peppering the surface but on this afternoon it was a green beast crashing into cascades over rapids and rumbling against the stillness of the naked forest.

The hum of voices began to cut into earshot and the cars in the parking lot became visible through the trees. My moment of lost wandering and reached its end, but what a few hours it was and in a park nevertheless. Walking around Jordan Creek Parkway made me question what some of our parks in Allentown really were. It made me question how to define a park in the first place. I left with more questions than I expected to find myself asking after a walk in the park, but damn what a nice time it was.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post ....and sadness in my heart as well!

November 2, 2009 at 7:20 PM  

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