We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...
1997's Climb

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Monocacy Creek

             The Monocacy Creek runs roughly north to south in Bethlehem and meets the Lehigh River, not too far from where Kim and I grew up.  We spent countless afternoons along its banks.  Sometimes walking, sometimes wading.  Sometimes riding down it in big, oversized truck inner tubes.
                     This spot was known as Illick's Mill.  We used to bring bread to feed the ducks. The ducks were huge.  Kim would always want to take one home and would remind me that she once had a pet duck, 'Snoopy'.  We'd picnic  beneath the ramada at the top of the stone stairs and walk along the creek in the grass.  The falls pictured on the right...we would take our shoes and socks off and walk along the top to the other side...and, when we were tubing, we'd slide right down them - they were slippery with algae.
             These little falls were another favorite spot along the creek of ours.  We would walk from home, crossing the bridge in the background to downtown, grab a soda and when we'd walk home, we'd climb down beneath the bridge and spend time by the water.  We'd walk across these falls, too - sliding on the algae.  The water was fairly deep at the bottom of the falls, but there were rocks, so if you jumped off, you had to watch where you were going to land.  There was enough space between the falls and the rocks it came over to put your head up for air...
              Just upstream, beyond this bridge, was Casilio Concrete company.  The creek was a little wider and there was a deep pool there.  Someone had hung a rope swing from high in a tree and we would take turns swinging out into the center of the pool and splashing down into the chilly waters...
                    This little wooden bridge was downstream in the opposite direction.  We crossed it many times into the land of yesterday.  This was the area that the Moravian's settled back in the day.  It had a grist mill (whatever that was) and a lot of old buildings that had been restored some time ago after the city cleaned up the junk yard that had been there.  My favorite was the refrigerator house - where the settlers diverted a bit of the stream and built a log house over it.  They knew that the running water would keep the temps down in the building and used it to store meat.  One time, they showed us how the settlers would make bees wax candles and Kim and I got to make one.                  Anyway, I had kind of forgotten about some of our days along the Monocacy, but my sister, Lauren, introduced me to this site called 'If you are from Bethlehem', or something like that and it opened the floodgates - I almost immediately remembered Casilio's and our days on the rope swings - so much fun...but, some of the names of the people posting brought shivers down my spine - man, did we have some tougher characters!  I called Cody over, and asked him if there had been anybody he had been afraid of in elementary school..."No Dad, why?"  I told him to check out some of the kids that I remembered as bullies - and they still looked scary and posted about how they had blown windows out of businesses, etc!  I don't miss any of that - I'm off that site!
Although, it is sort of addicting as people post their favorite places to get cheese steaks, etc...just when I thought I was out, it pulls me back in!  As I scan the other names of folks posting, I struggle to see if I recognize any of them.
                 I was glad to remember about the Monocacy...Musikfest, which started as a German Oktoberfest type of heritage celebration and has devolved into something much larger and spanning a lot more ground.  We saw many concerts there - mostly old 60's groups like the Turtles, The Little River Band, The Rascals, etc. it was pretty much contained along the Moncacy in the early days.
              And I remembered how much Kim and I enjoyed being down there by its soothing waters.  There were large trout in it.  Kim's Dad fished it regularly...we did a couple of times, too.  A lot of our early dates, before either of us drove, were spent sitting on its banks...for hours...    
              ...as the sun set...and then some!    


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