No Bears Or Snakes But Lot Of Trains In The Lehigh Gorge At Glen Onoko
It was another hazy, hot and humid day here in Northeastern Pennsylvania and it wasn’t easy deciding where to hike. We have so many wonderful options to chose from here. I decided it would be a good day to look for snakes. I have yet to encounter a copperhead or timber rattlesnake when I have my camera and I would love to get some close ups of this misunderstood and feared critters. . So I decided to walk the Lehigh Gorge at Glen Onoko since there are a lot of old stone walls and rocks along the railroad tracks. A perfect place for a snake to spend a sunny June morning.
I arrived to find the parking lots filled with cars. . There were many out of state licence plates on the cars. A lot of folks were heading to the Lehigh River with fishing gear, others were unloading their canoes or bicycles and some with hiking gear were headed to the famous waterfalls.
I headed east on the trail and walked the railroad tracks for the first mile, hoping to find some snakes in the rocks along the rails. I didn’t find any but I did see a lot of butterflies feeding on the many patches of milkweed growing along the tracks.
As I approached the river I heard not only the rushing of the waters but also the familiar sound of the cicadas coming from across the river. We had a hatch near my home two years ago but I did read about a hatch near Jim Thorpe this Summer. They were quite loud but only an occasional insect fluttered over the trees from across the river. I may hike on the other side next week to see the extent of the hatch.
I walked to the start of the long stone wall that was built to protect the railroad tracks from the flood waters of the Lehigh River. Last year I saw a lot of skinks, a native lizard, here but I was disappointed to not find a single one this year.
And not a snake either, although I know they reside here as evidenced by this snake skin one of them had shed and left behind.
A passenger train carrying tourists runs next to the active railroad track and one of these trains passed me when I first arrived. Another passed me on my hike and both of them again passed me on their return . I always enjoy seeing trains on my hikes but even more so in this narrow section of the Lehigh Gorge, with the tree covered mountains adding a scenic background. Here is a link to my Youtube video of one of these trains. https://youtu.be/HH9GO6lbmUo
I again came to one of the first oil pipelines in the United States which was built in 1886 . I explained some of the history of the pipeline and the even older Lehigh Canal in some earlier post which you can find in the archives .
Again I heard a lot of birds singing high in the treetops but had a hard time seeing, let alone photographing them. I did see a few catbirds, sparrows, crows , turkey vultures and, much to my delight a bald eagle!. Unfortunately I didn’t get a single photograph of a bird, or animal, not even a squirrel or chipmunk. I did continue to see a lot of moths and butterflies visiting the many milkweed plants flowering along the trails.
I walked out to where Bear Creek enters the Lehigh on the other side of the river and made the long hike back in the early Summer sun and heat, passing many hikers, bikers and fishermen along the way. Some cumulus clouds were now forming adding to the already picturesque scenes as the trail followed the meandering river through the hills of the Lehigh Gorge. I didn’t get to photograph any bear or snakes but it was still a wonderful hike on this perfect June day. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike in Glen Onoko . https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/glen-onoko-hike-june-26-2016
“Trains tap into some deep American collective memory.”
― Dana Frank