A hike in the Lehigh Gap Carbon County
After seeing the yellow-rumped warblers in the PPL Wetlands yesterday, I decided to hike in the Lehigh Gap in Carbon County hoping to see more migrating song birds. In past years I would see them along the trails over the river as they migrated north.
I parked at the River Point parking area in Bowmanstown around 9 a.m. and began my 7 mile hike near the 3 Pond Trail. There are wetlands and ponds in this area and I also hoped to see some ducks and geese here. It was sunny and a seasonably cold 28 degrees when I arrived.
I was a bit disappointed when I only saw a pair of mallard ducks and Canada geese on the ponds. However, there were quite a few other birds in the woodlands, including a number of male red-winged blackbirds perched in the treetops.
The Line Trail begins as a wide, well maintained trail that follows the right of way of the old Lehigh and New England railroad. It follows the Lehigh River, about 200 feet below as it winds through the Lehigh Gap. As will be seen it isn’t as wide or well maintained when it ends near the Lehigh Gap visitor center.
One of these, Palmertown, was the location of a large zinc smelting plant that polluted the surrounding hillsides. When I was a child visiting the city of Philadelphia the hills were brown and dead even in the Spring and Summer,
. Native Americans followed the Lehigh River north from the Delaware River and crossed the mountains near my home in Hazle township to follow the Nescopeck Creek to the Susquehanna River. The Moravian missionaries followed the river north from Allentown for lumber and built settlements along the way. Benjamin Franklin walked through this gap as part of the Pennsylvania militia and established a Fort in present day Weissport. Many settlers followed. And when coal was discovered canals and railroads were built along the river to bring it to the markets in Philadelphia and New York.
Near the water gap there is a hill that stands alone near the river. Situated atop this hill is a house. When I was young it was abandoned and dilapidated. Of course we thought it was haunted and called it the “Adams Family” house.
It has since been purchased and remodeled but its history still tells an interesting story. Here is a link to an article in a local newspaper about that history. https://www.mcall.com/news/mc-xpm-1987-08-23-2588654-story.html?fbclid=IwAR3fNVZNHgl8paiQRQVKN9LSQPdLJ-isEMOMKRi4BJBoZZ1_GFnNIeHoeIM
I had hoped to see some birds along the trail, maybe even a bald eagle or hawk in the skies over the river. I have seen bald eagles here before. However no eagles, hawks or even song birds on this sunny day. A few turkey vultures flew overhead and I saw a few common mergansers on the river but that was it for any bird sightings. This is a link to a gallery in my blog website with more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. Lehigh Gap hike birds March 1 2020.
Still, I enjoyed the sunshine and the views of the Lehigh River reflecting the deep blue skies. That sun will continue to warm it up and it won’t be long until the song birds, and flowers. insects, reptiles and amphibians return to the Lehigh Gap and all of Northeastern Pennsylvania. I can’t wait!Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Lehigh Gap March 1 2020.
“The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot”