Another Hike In The Heat: This Time Along The Lehigh Canal In Walnutport

Another Hike In The Heat: This Time Along The Lehigh Canal In Walnutport

Walnutport hike (34 of 50)
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I knew it was going to be another hot day last  Sunday. Temperatures in the 90’s were predicted  I decided to hike along the Lehigh Canal in Walnutport. I had hiked here a  few times now,  on the southern portion of the canal trail.  I only hiked the northern trail once in the Spring. 

 It is now mushroom season here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Most of the woods where I gather aspen scaber bolete mushrooms near my home have  recently been lost to industrial development. I thought the woods on this trail might be a good place to find some of these  bolete mushrooms.

I arrived  in Walnutport, located about 30 miles south of my home in Hazle Township, around 8 a.m. It was sunny and already near 80 degrees.  There is a small park at the start of the canal trail and I stopped to enjoy the beautiful flowers. 

There were homes across the old canal for the first 1/2 mile of the trail. I imagined the residents of the past watching the mules pulling the barges on the canals as the sat on their porches. 

As I walked on the trail, situated between the old Lehigh Canal in Walnutport and the Lehigh River the Blue Mountain  appeared in the distance. I was surprised to find almost no water birds, dragonflies or other insects along the shores of the canal.  Unlike the canals in my favorite nature preserve, the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township, the waters in this canal had no duck weed growing on the surface.  I am thinking  this was the reason for the sparsity  of wildlife activity  on the trail. 

I did see a few song sparrows, 

and catbirds as I walked along the historic canal. 

Further on the trail were the pine and birch trees that I observed on my first hike here in May. These are the trees the bolete mushroom I was searching for grow. However, the undergrowth was to thick and there wasn’t a bolete  mushroom to be found, 

but I did find  a few giant puffball mushrooms.   Good eating they were. 

Also growing along the trail were a few wildflower including this one which reminded me of my childhood.  Butter and eggs or flaxweed grew in the empty lots next to my home when I was a child. 

There was also a lot common chicory  along the trail and

tick clover grew near the waters of the canal. 

 

I finally  saw  some wildlife . Ducks. Lots of mallard duck. There were a couple of  large flocks slowly swimming and feeding on the canal about 3/4 of a mile of the start of the trail. 

Some of the males ducks were swimming alone. 

However the females were close to their offspring. These family was the youngest of the ducklings  I saw on the canal. Many were older and almost as large as their parents. 

This brood must have hatched very recently. 

Mom was very protective of them and did not let them get to far from her side. 

The canal widened and there were some areas of wetlands but still not many dragonflies or insects, this is one of the few I was able to photograph. 

And there were a few moths and butterflies too. 

After about a 1 1/2 I came to one of the remaining  locks from the canal built in the 1820’s. So much history. I have a few blog post on the history of the canal and you can search for them in my blog archives. 

The canal ended past the lock and these were some more woods were I thought I may find some bolete or “red top”mushrooms. No luck. The woods were too thick. 

The trail continued for about another 1/2 mile. It ended along the shores of  the Lehigh River and with this view of the Lehigh Gap.

Seeing this view of the  famous and historic gap took me back in time, and I reflected on Benjamin Franklin. Yes the Benjamin Franklin. He left Philadelphia and hiked up the Lehigh River from Bethlehem to build a  fort to protect settlers who were attacked by Native Americans. . He arrived, and saw this same view on January 16 1756. Well maybe he didn’t see this view that day, it was raining. But he did walk near this same trail on his way to build Fort Allen in the what is now Weissport.  Here is a link to some more information on his visit. Benjamin Franklin 1756 Hik

After taking  a break from the heat under some trees while taking in the view I began my 2 mile walk back. It was hot. This didn’t stop a number of people from using the trail. I saw a couple of dozen of folks, hiking, biking or walking their dogs on my return hike. On my walk I finally saw a great blue heron, but it flew off as soon as it saw me.

There were a few more dragonflies active now because of the heat, but still no where near the hoards always found on my walks in the PPL wetlands. 

There were some wild morning glory flowers in bloom

and many alder buckthorn trees with berries  along the trail. 

I was exhausted when I arrived at my car but I had only walked 4.2 miles. I had to get my 5 miles in so I  continued  on the trail and took a wooded side trail ,

to the Lehigh River. I rested along the river and made returned to my car having got my five mile hike in. I was a little disappointed having now found many “red top’ or aspen scaber mushrooms but it was still a nice day to explore the  Lehigh Canal despite the heat.Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike at the Lehigh Canal in Walnutport.  Walnutport Hike July 26 2020. 

Whenever the sun is shining, I feel obligated to play outside!”
― Charles M. Schulz

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