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Spotlight: 98.5 to 100

t’s one of the many afterthought stretches of the D&L Trail.

It doesn’t get nearly the attention as its sister footpaths to the north or as much traffic as its well-used southern artery (Allentown to Easton), but from mile 98.5 (Bowmanstown) to mile 100, bikers, runners and walkers get expansive views of the Lehigh River with a lot less commotion.

You can’t hop off the trail to grab a bite to eat like you can in Weissport or jump on the train in Jim Thorpe. It’s just you and the trail ... and a wee bit of noise from the turnpike.

This past Wednesday was one of those spring-teaser days - warm breezes, occasional bright sunshine which makes it feel warmer than 60 degrees, which spawned bikers in T-shirts.

The experienced D&L Trail users know that accessing the trail in Bowmanstown promises few fellow outdoorsman and a tranquillity to let your mind drift away.

One of the reasons this stretch of the trail was sparse on Wednesday was because spring hasn’t quite sprung. There were no flowers blooming, except for dandelions, and the mountain laurel that blankets the north-facing slope on the trail just past the turnpike is green but several weeks away from blooming - note to self: Return in six weeks to see the blooms.

Walking, or biking, on the trail from mile marker 98.8 to 100 this week was as much physical excursion as it was a promise of things to come - sunscreen will be in the backpack next time.

With outdoor-activity weather quickly approaching, the 141-mile long D&L Trail will see more use. It goes from Wilkes-Barre to Bristol.

One of the cool aspects of the trail is its diversity. While it’s basically a flat trail, it offers a variety of environmental and cultural options.

For example, the basic feature in lower Carbon County is the natural beauty of the Lehigh River and the contrasting hills above it from the zinc mining days.

In the Lehigh Valley, the trail is not nearly as scenic but has easy access (500 yards walking) to historic Bethlehem from Sand Island.

Below Easton, the trail goes through the quaint town of Kintnersville along the Delaware River, with its historic buildings and eateries.

Even though this wasn’t a hard winter, it’s invigorating to think that outdoor recreation season - without bundling up - is within our reach.

As is the D&L Trail.

Enjoy - it’s one of our region’s jewels.

At the Bowmanstown parking lot to the D&L Trail is Marvin Gardens, which has a place to fish.
One of the nice things about the D&L Trail heading north is it's handicap accessible. Wheelchairs and scooters can fit through the opening and the trail is well maintained.
Not very often you get to walk, or bike, underneath the Pennsylvania Turnpike. TOM DeSCHRIVER/TIMES NEWS
Mountain laurel, the state flower, blankets the north-facing hillside along the trail heading north just past the turnpike. TOM DeSCHRIVER/TIMES NEWS
Might look like something out of “The Jetsons,” but it's the turnpike. TOM DESCHRIVER/TIMES NEWS
Still 41 miles to go to Wilkes-Barre.
This past Wednesday was a great day to bike the trail. Temperatures were in the low 60s and only a handful of bikers and walkers were out.
Dandelions were the only flower blooming Wednesday on the trail, but the rest can't be far behind.
The last remnants of winter along the trail - ice shards from the rocks. TOM DeSCHRIVER/TIMES NEWS