More Exploration Of The Lehigh Gorge, This Time At Tank Hollow.

More Exploration Of The Lehigh Gorge, This Time At Tank Hollow.

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I enjoyed my  first visit to Drakes Creek two weeks ago .  I decided to explore another area of the Lehigh River Gorge in Carbon County last  Saturday, Tank Hollow. I saw some references to the trail by researching the Lehigh River on Google. I did not know what to expect when I parked my car at the entrance to State Game Lands 141. The Buzzard’s Point entrance is located near Bear Lake in Penn Forest  Township.road at entrance to State game lands

When I arrived I found the gate to a well maintained dirt and stone road open. I didn’t have my jeep or I would have driven the snow-covered road. So I began my walk at the parking lot on the overcast and seasonably cold day. Temperatures were in the mid 20’s. snow covered road

The road was level at first and then began to descend down into the gorge of the Lehigh River. One of my favorite trees,  the pitch pine,  could be seen along the road. These trees grow on the ridge near my home. I spent many days building fires under their twisted branches. pocono pitch pine

I ran into a little problem soon after I began my hike.  A hole developed in the  sole of my hiking shoe .hole in sole of shoe

It grew as  the small stones and snow on the road  accumulated in the opening. .  It made for difficult walking. I tried cutting the rubber around the hole to prevent this but it didn’t work. I had to stop and remove the stone, dirt and snow from the sole of my shoe a few times. Then I discovered a  solution by accident. stones and snow in hole in sole of shoe

I left the stone and dirt road and took the wooded trail down to Tank Hollow. The hole in sole of my shoe  was fine  on the leaf litter of the trail.  snow covered trail

I soon observed that I wasn’t the first one to walk this trail. In addition to a some human tracks I also saw a few sets of animal tracks. 

I think this is a racoon. racoon tracks I think

And I am sure this one is a squirrel. squirrel tracks in snow

This one I am not sure of and any help with an identification would be appreciated.

The trail soon narrowed as it became surrounded by groves of mountain laurel and rhododendron. rhododendrons along trail

The trail  approached large rocks and the rhododendron became thicker.snow covered trail surrounded by rhododendrons.

I had no idea what to expect on this hike.  I was pleasantly surprised when I pushed my way through a thicket of rhododendron and came upon a magnificent view of the Lehigh River. This was the Tank Hollow overlook. Lehigh River from Tank Hollow overlook

It was well worth the hike in the snow and cold with a hole in my shoe. I spent some time taking in the view and listening to the Lehigh River roaring far below. I was already thinking about my return hikes in the Spring, Summer and Fall. 

The trail map I followed  showed that a side trail that continued down to the river. I decided to follow it. It  quickly started a steep descent into even thicker groves of mountain laurel and rhododendron. 

It was hard to follow the trail as it steeply twisted into the gorge of the river.  Snow was predicted to start falling in the afternoon.  I decided to turn back, knowing it would be almost impossible to retrace my path under a newly fallen snow. 

It was a lot harder climbing back up the trail.  However, I enjoyed the primeval feeling of the thick growth of rhododendron and some ancient hemlocks left standing from the timbering that occurred on these mountains. 

I also saw a lush growth of tea berries growing along the trails. I have been researching the history of this area of the Lehigh gorge. I have learned that in addition to the lumber industry they local residents also harvested the leaves of these berries.  They were used to produce wintergreen oil in the 1800’s. 

I took a few different trails as I made my way to the parking lot. I made it to my car before the snow started to fall.  I was disappointed that I didn’t make it to the river. I know that I will be back and I am looking forward to continue to explore this beautiful area of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike to Tank Hollow. Tank Hollow Overlook January 24 2019.

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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