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Where We Live: The star of the party is missing this year

Published November 03. 2018 07:02AM

I donned my orange a few days ago and drove out to the state gamelands for a hike at to Tank Hollow overlook on to see if there were any changes to report.

It was still underwhelming.

You don’t have to venture far into the woods to see that the predominant color on the trees is not red or orange, but a mix of green and brown with some yellow sprinkled in. This year, it seems, Mother Nature decided to show up a few weeks late with the fall foliage.

Jim Thorpe welcomed the leaf peepers for three weekends this month, and from what I understand they were great weekends for local businesses that enjoy seeing tourists come through their doors.

I suspect much of the talk at the fall festival weekends was about the fact that someone was late to the party.

Our co-worker Bob Ford, who you may know for electrifying sports photos, but may know less for his wry humor, joked that he was playing tourist and enjoying “all the shades of green” as he walked around town.

The lack of color won’t keep people from coming back to Jim Thorpe next year. It was just an unfortunate fluke. Regardless of whether the fall colors are out, it’s still one of the most beautiful areas to visit for people from New York and Philadelphia.

There’s no doubt that the business owners worked just as hard to ensure that every other aspect of the weekend was top notch.

I couldn’t help but lament another late arrival which probably raised some eyebrows over the weekend.

Since it temporarily opened over the summer, the new Mansion House pedestrian bridge has tantalized cyclists who want to travel south from Jim Thorpe on the Delaware & Lehigh Trail.

It’s even more frustrating that some of the stakeholders have declared that the gap in the trail has been closed, while the plywood barrier blocking the bridge begs to differ.

When it is opened, the bridge will connect Jim Thorpe with one of my favorite sections of the trail — which is currently only legally accessible from the Weissport Canal Park. It parallels the Lehigh Canal around a beautiful bend in the river, and past an observation post which offers great views of the river.

The benefits of opening this section extend far beyond Weissport. Imagine hopping on a bike at Glen Onoko, then taking a long, uninterrupted ride south through Jim Thorpe to the Lehigh Gap. From there, you could go on to Slatington for lunch, or head back to Glen Onoko.

There is a dirt road which connects this section to the parking lot of the Jim Thorpe Market, but it’s posted.

I know that the staff of the D&L National Heritage Corridor and Jim Thorpe Borough probably wanted to see the bridge opened for the foliage weekends just like I did. And I have no doubt they are working hard to realize that connection.

I know the corridor has secured funding to open the connection, but it didn’t happen in time for the area’s biggest weekends.

Just like the leaves, the bridge isn’t a make or break. There are plenty of trails to explore around the area. But the plywood barrier on the west side of the bridge continues to persist like a mountainside of trees which refuse to change color.

And it’s safe to say the trees will change color before it comes down.


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