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Snow, Jacobsburg Park, & the Southside

The February Snowstorm—that melted kinda fast.

A fast-moving front brought about eight inches of snow cover across Eastern PA and up into New England. We were out grabbing groceries when it started to come down. It was the type of snow the melts on impact but keeps dropping buckets until eventually it accumulates.

Blizzard Conditions at Youngs Pharmacy (Bethlehem Twp., PA)

I believe that snow—while at times cumbersome to manage—comes as a gift from mother nature. I love how it paints over the landscape with it’s brush of high-contrast white. I always find the stuff pretty neat so I try to capture it’s stirring presence when given the chance.

I’m still at it with the free lensing technique. The picture of Youngs Pharmacy was taken while riding back from Wegman’s.

The attempt was to focus on the snow in the nearest foreground and sort of soften up the rest of the scene. Honestly not my best work, but it captures the blizzard-y conditions kinda nicely so I thought I’d add it to the post.

We saw these three fellows in Jocobsburg State Parkz—an 1100 acre Environmental Area just north of the Lehigh Valley. I was surprised to discover some areas are open to hunters during season. Although my guess is that deer are rarely taken from the area, as it sees heavy traffic from hikers and bikers year-round.

The next day we went for out for a hike. It’s always a pleasure to enjoy an active day on a snowy trail. That little dose of Shinrin Yoku  never fails to do my soul some good. When we arrived the parking area was totally covered in the white fluffy stuff. But after hiking for a couple of hours direct sunlight had melted the snow, exposing the gravel below.

I must have said something very funny, because Erin couldn’t help but laugh when I took this one.

For being so close to town there’s some great scenery at Jacobsburg. It’s a really a beautiful place with many miles of trails. There are accommodations for horseback riders and we even saw a couple trying out some cross-country skiing during our walk. If you’re in the area and love the outdoors you’ve probably already given this one a look, but on this occasion we hiked the area along Sober’s Run—which we hadn’t seen before—and it is well worth the trip.

Exploring the Southside

We both had President’s Day off so we decided to switch things up for a change and do a little urban exploring. We’ve never really walked around the Southside together, so thought it might be an interesting area to check out. Historically a lot of the steel workers lived in the row-houses that back up the massive industrial site at the base of South Mountain.

Bethlehem Steel ceased operations in 1995. For the first time in 140 years industrial metallurgy ceased to be the central economic engine in the little town of Bethlehem, PA.  Interesting to note that after a decade of redevelopment there’s still an incredible number of derelict structures intermixed with new construction.

This little post-industrial town has a lot going on: plenty of warehouses are being built in the areas at the outskirts of the site of the defunct steel plant, not to mention the giant Sands Casino and Hotel that’s started to draw traffic from all over the region.Way back in 1995, the Bethlehem Steel Corporation began plans to redevelop 120 acres of land as a cultural center. The working name  for the project was the “Bethlehem Works.”

It wasn’t, however, until a vote was passed in 2006 allowing for the legalization of slot machine gambling on the site, that progress began in terms of any new construction. Today there is also a music venue called the Steel Stacks and a large cultural center, the ArtsQuest, on the premises—as well an outlet mall attached to the casino.

Also, Lehigh University sits at the top of South Mountain and represents one of the leading private Universities in the country—not just in engineering as one mildly-irate religious studies professor let me know!

This sculpture—of what I can only assume are massive crows—really caught my eye. This sort of expressive abstract metal-work is hard to pull off but when it does the results are so fun to take in.

We parked down by the ice rink then walked a pretty big loop around town.

Eventually we got lunch at Greek Meat Guy on 3rd.  The food was pretty good and it had a nice easy-going vibe to the whole place. In classic fashion there were tons of pictures of the owner with A and B-list celebrities. We also grabbed coffee at the Saxby’s near Lehigh.

We walked around the Lehigh campus for a little bit. It’s a very pretty campus and none of the photos I took really did it any justice. We had already been walking around for a while at that point and the weather also took a turn for the worse, so we headed back to the car not soon after.

I thought the arches on this building were an interesting detail. It’s approach to fenestration—i.e. the placement of openings in a building. I wonder if it was always a sort of open-air pavilion or if glass/wood filled the arches at some point in the past.

I have a couple of work things lined up in the coming weeks, so it’s going to take some effort to keep up my walking routine. Hopefully, I’ll still find time to keep up with my photojournaling.

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