Early Summer At The Lehigh Gap
The forecast called for some rain in the afternoon Sunday here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It was the first weekend of summer. I left my home a early and drove to the Lehigh River near the Lehigh Gap. I parked at the entrance to the Lehigh and New England Trail in Bowmanstown and began my walk along the north side of the Blue Mountain.
It was cloudy and humid when I started. I began my walk on the wide and well maintained New England and Lehigh Trail . I soon left this trail and followed the steeper, more rugged and overgrown Double G Loop Trail up to the Chestnut Oak Trail.
The trail climbed upward through a forest of chestnut oaks trees. Last time I was here in early Spring the trees were bare . Now they had a lush growth of new leaves. The ground was also covered with a variety of species of ferns.
It was a steep hike and the ferns and rocks on the trail were wet from the rains we had overnight. My waterproof shoes were soon soaked as I climbed up the ridge along the Blue Mountain.
It was worth it when I came to a clearing and had a magnificent view of the Lehigh river and mountains to the north.
The clouds broke and the sun shone through. I heard the songs of many birds in the tree tops but I could not see a single one. I walked the trail through the heavy growth of ferns until it ran into the Prairie Grass Tree.
I followed the trail and finally saw, and was able to photograph, one of the birds,a prairie warbler.
I continued through the thick, and wet, prairie grass after which the trail was named.
I also saw a few wild flowers along the trail.
The trail meandered along the side of the Blue Mountain until it descended and joined the flat New England and Lehigh trail.
I saw the “haunted house “ on the hill in Palmerton and the Lehigh Gap in the distance.You can read more about this house in some earlier blog posts.
The sky was mostly clear now with some passing cumulus clouds.
I meet a few other folks walking on this now sunny early summer day as I approached the site of the old railroad bridge.
I was delighted to see this beautiful bird, an indigo bunting.
I think it is one of the prettiest birds to inhabit our woodlands.
I walked the trail down to the visitor center. Here is a link of some more photographs from the first part of my hike. Lehigh Gap hike part one June 24 2018.
The skies were mostly clear now and the early summer sun was intense. I stopped for a break and an ice tea from a vending machine at the visitor center.
I decided to walk along the Lehigh River and took the D&L Trail back to my car.
As I walked north on the trail, it become cloudy. The clouds grew thicker and I walked faster fearing a thunderstorm. Fortunately, only a few drops of rain fell and it soon cleared up again.
I saw a few more birds on my walk including a few tree swallows
and this beautiful red-eyed vireo. Here is a link to some more photographs of the bird I saw on my hike. Lehigh Gap hike birds. June 24 2018.
As I walked along the trail I noticed the milkweed were in flower and starting to attract butterflies.
And there were plenty of dragonflies along the trail.
It was sunny and getting hot but I still enjoyed the views along the trail.
I walked to the Three Pond Trail .
I came upon some more of Pennsylvania’s beautiful wild flowers, the rhododendrons. They produce spectacular blooms and, in some locations, cover acres of ground.
I followed the Three Pond Trail it back up to the new England and Lehigh trail and the short walk back to my car. It was hot and I was tired from my seven mile hike. But it didn’t rain and I again got to see the splendid scenery and some wildlife in the woodlands of Pennsylvania. Here is a link to some more photographs from my early summer hike. Lehigh Gap D&L hike June 24 2018.
The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. His intercourse with heaven and earth, becomes part of his daily food. Ralph Waldo Emerson