In search of a fun trail for future long runs, I headed to the Lehigh Canal Towpath for yesterday’s 12-miler. I’d heard the path extended all the way from Allentown through Bethlehem to Easton, so it sounded like the perfect spot for an out-and-back run. But first I had to actually find the trail…
My Google Maps dictator kept leading me to a dead-end street, so after circling for 10 minutes, I just parked and decided to figure it out on foot. While running over the river on a bridge, I spotted a staircase and put it together: The trail must be down those steps and right along the river. Ding-ding-ding!
The forested, green-as-can-be trail was a stark contrast to my surroundings just above, where I could see the casino and industrial SteelStacks. So yay! I made it, and I started running, not knowing exactly where each mile would take me.
I passed cyclists and dog walkers here and there, but for the most part, I was secluded—it was awesome. If anyone was around, they probably saw my head whipping back and forth, taking in everything around me (and also being slightly on edge, as I was all by my lonesome).
By this point, you’re probably wondering how my post title is at all related to this towpath experience. (Or maybe not… do people pay attention to those?) Well, I learned that the segments of the Lehigh Canal Towpath Trail that link the cities near me are part of a larger trail called the Delaware & Lehigh Trail (or the D&L, for short). The D&L runs for 165 miles and preserves the legacy of the Delaware and Lehigh canals, once vital to the transport of Pennsylvania’s coal. So the trail is rich not only in outdoor opportunities for bikers, hikers and runners like me, but in history, too.
Expect more on this trail later, because I’ll definitely be going back. As for my run, it went wonderfully at a steady clip of 9 min./mile. The sky was overcast all morning, and it rained a bit, but all I felt was a slight mist through the trees. After the 95-degree weather of the previous day, this made me one happy trail runner.
YOUR TURN: What are your favorite trails near you?