An Easter Morning Hike Through The Scenic And Historic Lehigh Gap.
For most of my life I would spend Easter morning at my parents house. As a child, after attending Mass , we always ate our first meal on Easter Sunday from the Easter basket that was filled with traditional Polish foods and blessed on Holy Saturday. We would then eat chocolate candy the Easter bunny had left and “roll” dyed Easter eggs for jelly beans with my four siblings. These Polish traditions continued when I became an adult. I would always visit early Easter morning and eat the traditional hard boiled egg from the Easter basket with my dad. I would spend Easter morning with him and mom waiting for my siblings , nephews and nieces to arrive later in the day. We would carry out the same Polish customs my dad thought us. Good times they were, My dad, mom, sister and her husband have now departed this life. So now, being alone, I spent this Easter morning doing what I love most, hiking in the woodlands near home in Northeastern Pennsylvania and observing the beauty of Nature I find there. My dad instilled in me this love of Nature. Now, with the internet and a good camera I love sharing the beauty I find here on my blog and social media. Sorry for long intro but I wanted to explain why I was hiking on Easter Sunday. I find peace and comfort in the woods. God is here.
Anyways, on Easter morning it was cloudy and a cold 30 degrees. There were some snow flurries in the air and snow squalls were in the forecast for Luzerne County. Looking at the local radar I decided to drive 25 miles south and hike the trails along the Lehigh River where it flowed through the scenic and historic Lehigh Gap. The radar was right. There was no snow and the skies were partly cloudy when I arrived at the D & L Heritage Trail ( D & L Trail ) in Bowmanstown.
I have hiked this trail many times. I have shared more information on my earlier blog posts. You can search for them in the archives. On Sunday morning I followed the trail south. It followed the Lehigh River as it neared the Blue Mountain and passed through the famous Lehigh Gap. I hiked on the trail a short distance and left to explore the Three Ponds Trail area . This trail leads into some wetlands and three small ponds.
up to the Lehigh and New England Trail. This trail follows the path of the abandoned railroad that first spanned the Lehigh Gap via a bridge constructed at the beginning of the last century. It is a scenic trail and I have seen many migrating song birds and some bald eagles while hiking this trail in past Springs. .
There were not many trees along the trail. They were killed by the toxic fumes that emanated from the New Jersey Zinc Company that operated in the nearby town of Palmerton, for almost 100 years. The once barren hillsides are now covered in native grasses and birch, sassafras, and pine trees are started to grow here.
It is now remodeled and occupied but a few years ago it was abandoned, dilapidated and allegedly haunted. We called it the “Adam’s Family house when we would drive past. It is situated on Marshall’s Hill, named after the most interesting Civil War general, Elisha Marshall. who built it in 1881. I attached a link to the general’s name and I would recommend reading this most interesting history of the house.
Native Americans followed the Lehigh River on the “Nescopeck Trail” which took them to the “Warrior Path” on the Susquehanna River. Moravian explorers and settlers came through the gap clearing the woodlands north of the Blue Mountain for farms and towns in the wilderness. Clashes with the Native Americans ensued and Benjamin Franklin passed through the gap to build Fort Allen in Weissport to protect the settlors. . Later a canal was built to transport anthracite coal and lumber to the growing cities of Philadelphia and New York.
Railroads replaced the canals and some still are active along the Lehigh River. I stood at the overlook and reflected on this history until the snow I tried to escape from my home in Luzerne County caught up with me. A snow squall arrived as I descended the steep path back down to the D & L trail,
I was again hoping to see some bald eagles fly overhead or to see some duck or other waterfowl on the river. I didn’t see any bald eagles and only saw a coupld of Canada geese being swept down on the current of the fast flowing waters.
this male house finch on my return hike. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs of the birds I saw on my Easter morning hike. Lehigh Gap birds April 17 2022.
As I approached my car the clouds returned. Another snow squall began as I finished my 6 1/2 mile hike. I was a little disappointed I didn’t see some more wildlife on my hike but I enjoyed the few birds and the spectacular views I saw on this quiet, peaceful and reflective Easter morning hike. I drove back home and looked forward to spending the afternoon with my family at my niece’ s house where we continued to keep many of our Polish customs. Here is a link to another gallery with photographs from my Easter morning hike. Lehigh Gap hike April 17 2022