Cemeteries, Reclamation and Some Beautiful Scenery Near Upper Lehigh.
It was a clear and cold morning here in Northeastern Pennsylvania today and I decided to take advantage of the clear blue skies and great visibility and hike to someplace with a view. I decided to walk out to what is know as the “washout” on the mountain north of the old mining village of Upper Lehigh. I hiked out here before, but in the past I hiked out to the east through old abandoned strip mines. This morning I parked on a dirt road outside of Upper Lehigh.
I heard of an old cemetery near here and decided to look for it on my hike. After walking through some old roads I found the abandoned cemetery. I did some research and learned it was laid out in 1866.
I found that most of the legible headstones were from the 1870’s. I always loved visiting cemeteries and reflecting on the lives of the departed. So many memories here. this one appears to have been abandoned in the 1920’s. There was this Memorial to the Civil War Veterans of the town placed here in the 1880’s.
And I found this tombstone of a young infant girl who only lived a few months. I wonder how the parents dealt with that loss so many years ago. And how many years did they come and visit their little girl after she was gone.
So much to ponder as I walked amid the weathered tombstones, as, appropriately, a lone raven cawed in the distance.
Most of the tombstones were from the 1870’s through the 1920’s although I saw one new one at the far end of the cemetery. It was the only new one in the cemetery and the birth years were most interesting to me. They were the same year my dad was born, 1924, my mom in 1929 and the year of my birth 1958. I decided to head out here when I was visiting my dad’s grave this morning and I feel he wanted me to hike out here. Look’s like I was right. Here are some more photographs from my visit to the Upper Lehigh cemetery this morning. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/upper-lehigh-cemetery-december-20-2015https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/upper-lehigh-cemetery-december-20-2015
I left the cemetery and walked some old paths that were lined with very old oak trees. It was like the old forest in the Wizard of Oz. I would love to hike here in the summer.
The old road or path proceeded up the mountain and headed north toward the “washout”.
I was surprised to see that the entire area was changed and that a rock channel was built to prevent the erosion from the streams running off of the mountain from the srip mining area.
I stopped to admire the spectacular view of the mountains to the west. The lake at Beach mountains was a dark blue under the December sun. I could spend hours taking in this scenery. I love the mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
I hiked east toward the deep strip mines I had explored a few years ago and found that the vast majority of them had been reclaimed. I understand that by filling in the deep mines and leveling the culm, slate and overburden reduces erosion and prevents acid mine drainage into the streams and creeks but I still feel sad to see this part of our heritage lost. This was one of the last strip mine pits that wasn’t yet filled.
I had planned to look for fossils and crystals in these deep strip mines. Looks like I won’t get the chance now. I relearned a lesson my dad taught me, not to put things off, since you may never get another the opportunity once it is gone.
It was a long, and reflective hike back to my jeep but no better place to spend a sunny December day than exploring the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike this morning. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/upper-lehigh-hike-december-20-2015
“It is upon such stones that men attempt to permanently etch history so they will not exist in a vacuum; it is the final statement after a lifetime of scratching out divisions upon the ground, over ephemeral time itself, merely to give their short journeys meaning, to tell others “I was here – do not forget me, do not let my brief blast dissolve into nothingness.”
― Rob Bignell
This is good journalism. Nicely done.