The first place I saw the phrase “Glen Onoko” was in an autograph album that we found in family records after my grandmother passed away. Also known as a friendship album, they were popular in the mid to late 1800s. This album, owned by my great-times-three Aunt Mary Boyd, has signatures in it from the 1880s to 1890s.

Mary’s sister Jennie wrote in the album, and under her name she wrote Glen Onoko (see below):

I’d never heard of Glen Onoko, so of course I Googled it. Glen Onoko is a waterfall in northeastern Pennsylvania off the Lehigh River, near the town of Jim Thorpe (which used to be called Mauch Chunk, another cool name). Glen Onoko was a popular place to visit by train in the late 1800s, and has been a popular place to visit via a hiking trail in recent years. Below is a photo from the Library of Congress website of Glen Onoko from the late 1800s:

I’ve been writing a book about the people who wrote in Mary’s autograph album, and have been up to Pennsylvania several times to visit sites mentioned in the album. I’ve always wanted to see the falls at Glen Onoko, even though I’d read that the hiking trail to get there is rated as “difficult”. I was getting up the nerve to try the hike this spring or summer when I just saw this article online:

“Glen Onoko falls trail to be closed May 1”

Apparently it really is a difficult trail. So many people have been injured or killed in falls in the last few years that the Pennsylvania Game Commission has decided to close it down for good.

Given that today is April 15th, anyone who wants to get one last look at Glen Onoko had better hurry before it’s not accessible anymore. That might or might not include me, your intrepid blogger.

I don’t want to go down in history as the final casualty of the Glen Onoko falls trail.