The humidity hung over Saucon Creek with intermittent drizzle and mist that made the footing in the dense woods slippery, especially with the thick leaf covering. My balance-impaired body was at risk of tumbling down each downhill portion of the hidden path known only to my walking companion, Rich Geyer.
Equilibrium be damned, I was determined to keep pace, but to no avail while lagging behind with distance between us continually increasing. Rich slid down banks on his feet and glided up steep slopes with ease. Having grown up for a few years living at the Geyer farm, now the Michael Heller Homestead, he was familiar with all the woods between Water Street and Walnut Street. This was my first trek taking this path along the creek. Previously I had gotten lost taking the "high road" to the H.D. Heller Limestone Quarry, but this time we took the "low road" right along the Saucon.
We passed by debris from several years ago left by careless campers, crawled under wild raspberry bushes and over or under fallen trees. All the time the beauty of the Saucon Creek prevailed while we headed south. He pointed out the high spot where he and childhood buddies had camped and roasted corn and hot dogs in the coals of a campfire during the 1930s and early '40s.
For the first time I viewed Sandy Beach on the east side of the creek, a long ago favorite swimming hole for many youth from Hellertown and Lower Saucon Township. Since it was winter, most of the terrain was brown, but we passed several patches of bright green watercress flourishing next to a narrow branch of the stream.
Later we drove to Hellertown Sportsmen's Club, which I had never entered, that is, the indoor shooting range. On this day the Saucon Valley High School Rifle Team was competing with Salisbury High. I had thought that this club had been abandoned years ago.
Finally before parting, a self-defense instructor and attorney was showing a reporter how to use a semi-automatic rifle at one of the safe outdoor ranges. The writer was interested in having first-hand experience with the sporting life since he had been assigned the coverage by "New York magazine" after the last mass killing of students by a mentally deranged youth who had first killed his mother and stolen several guns from her legal collection. The young man had not sought medical help and had not taken his medication.
In my opinion, if the school principal had been trained and licensed in proper methods of self-defense, and had a weapon, no children would have died. Not all school staff need to be armed; however, one or two in authority should be.
The day not only yielded an awakening of the beauty of local wilderness, but also thought-provoking data involved in lending thought to a current national issue. Learning experiences are part of my passionate life. Rich Geyer had delivered again.