Back To the Lehigh Gap, What A Difference A Day Makes.
We had our first thunderstorm of the Spring on Saturday afternoon. It ushered in a cold front and it was windy and a lot colder when I awoke Sunday morning. I decided to return to the Lehigh Gap and hike one of the other trails near the Lehigh River. .
It was breezy and a chilly 46 degrees as I began my hike under cloudy skies.
The trail began under a young mixed birch, aspen and pines woods. As I climbed the slopes of the Blue Mountain the forest became more pine and chestnut oak. And the trees were older and larger. Sections of the trail became steep and rocky .
The trail leveled off and I had some nice views of the Lehigh River below. I also noticed the increasing wind and colder temperatures. I was dressed in shorts and a hoodie. I thought the sun would warm it up. I was wrong. It was cold up on the ridge above the Lehigh River.
It appeared the cold and wind also affected the wildlife. I didn’t see any deer, rabbits, squirrels or chipmunks on my hike. Even more surprising I didn’t see one bird until I approached the Prairie Grass Trail.
This area of the Blue Mountain was devastated by pollution from the zinc plant that was active in Palmerton for almost a century. I remember the barren hillside as a child. It is now covered on the native grass managed by the park service.
The trail became narrower as it approached the site of the abandoned railroad bridge that crossed the Lehigh River. I stopped to read the informational markers at the site of the remains of the old bridge.
People have been walking through this gap for thousands of years. First the foot trail of the Native Americans and the Moravian settlers, next the dirt roads, canals, railroads and finally paved highways of the new residents of what was once a vast wilderness.
My thoughts took me to the famous natural artists John James Audubon and the journey he made up the Lehigh River in 1829. I wondered what he was thinking as he too a stage coach through this same gap.
Well I think it is a black and white warbler. I incorrectly identified a black throated gray warbler as one yesterday. I continue to be amazed by the diversity of the birds that live in, and travel though Northeastern Pennsylvania.
And when there are insects there are flycatchers. I believe this is an eastern phoebe. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. Lehigh Gap Hike birds April 29 2018
I followed it back a short distance to my car. It was about a 6 1/2 mile hike, a very cold 8 1/2 mile hike. It wasn’t the kind of Spring day I look forward to during the Winter, but still a great day to be outdoors in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike in the Lehigh Gap. Lehigh Gap hike April 29 2018.
“The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sang the best.”
― John James Audubon