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Remember: Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center (and the story of my first time…)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center (and the story of my first time…)

(All photographs in this post were taken by CJ Olsen)
A few hours spent at Jacobsburg and I barely touched the place.  After exiting the parking lot, with the Bushkill Creek to our left, we headed forward towards a rather welcoming sign.
As it would turn out, the sign did not lie.  I have never walked such a unique and slightly treacherous trail anywhere else in the Lehigh Valley.
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With views of Bushkill creek below, the Lehigh Valley’s only old growth forest in Henry’s woods around us, and the Lehigh Gap splitting the Kittatinny Ridge in the distance, the trail seemed designed for wonder. 
I heard a sound in the distance. I turned to find the source and saw a chipmunk scurrying down the hill.  As I pointed it out to CJ, he exclaimed “And it is chasing a snake. It is chasing a snake. It is chasing a snake.” CJ’s voice did not rise in octave or alter in tone, he seemed almost unsurprised.  Then, before us, the snake lay on the trail.  The snake should have been grateful for our scaring of the chipmunk, instead, as he reared his head from a tight scaly coil, he seemed pissed.
I am not a herpetologist but I am certain that this particular fellow was not poisonous, he may be a milk snake.  Regardless, we offered warnings to passing hikers as we continued along the high trail.
Farther along, we encountered a wild stream and under the rushing water I found beautiful rocks with quartz crystals and shale embedded together. 
Eventually, the trail turned from the Hemlock grove into a familiar successional deciduous forest.
From there, we turned and began walking  anew trail in the low lying area of the park, near to the Bushkill Creek.  The Hemlock groves reappeared and alongside the creek, on the far bank, eons of sedimentary rock were exposed.
Heading from the creek, the trail again reaches a ridge, and here, beyond a safety fence, I was able to sit on the exposed shale and watch the cloudy water of the Bushkill Creek rush below me, down about 150 feet.   
CJ and I barely scratched the surface of Jacobsburg, and in our short visit we were treated to a vision of nature not often seen in the Lehigh Valley.  Here, old nature thrives.  The silence of winter still held strong in bare branches but the signs of spring were everywhere, even in the returning presence of insect life.
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As writer of a Nature centric and environmentally conscious blog I have often been called a treehugger, especially by my Republican friends and yes, I am talking about you Jon.  Before yesterday however, I had never actually hugged a tree.  I have been considering it but I could not find the right one.  Things just never worked out for me and the various trees I had pursued.  It may have been the beauty of Jacobsburg, or spring coming to life in my surroundings but the time just felt right.  Yes readers, I finally hugged a tree. 



Blogger Katie Bee said...

I am glad that you and the trees have found a way to work things out! Will you be taking this tree to the Sustain-A-Ball?

April 2, 2010 at 7:42 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

I don't think that I have ever called you a tree-hugger, just a non-stoner hippy. Also, I am not a Republican. Republican's allow Religion and National Defense to strongly influence their train of thought. I, like a good Libertarian, am completely supportive of your way of life and don't feel the Government has any right to dictate to you how to act, with trees or CJ. That being said, I look forward to seeing you this evening.

April 2, 2010 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

I'm glad you finally found your tree, despite being almost taken out by a milk snake.....

April 2, 2010 at 5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You look happy as a postcoital chipmunk. What were you doing before this picture was taken?

uncle frank

April 2, 2010 at 7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tomorrow morning marks the official opening of Trout Season in the Parkway. What a perfect venue for a school project!
Americana at its Best!
Grab a blue button-down, borrow a fishing vest complete with lures,
wear a baseball cap and bring sunscreen, your digi camera, your video camera, tons of pens and
a lot of paper and your school ID.
You have a perfect opportunity
to interview and capture an All-American tradition that incorporates the environment, animal life, family traditions and more. Don't forget the sunscreen. It's gonna be 80 in the shade.

April 2, 2010 at 8:20 PM  

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