No Bears Or Snakes But Lot Of Trains In The Lehigh Gorge At Glen Onoko

No Bears Or Snakes But Lot Of Trains In The Lehigh Gorge At Glen Onoko

Glen Onoko hike -46
Previous Post
Next Post

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. Glen Onoko hike -2

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. Glen Onoko hike -1

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. Glen Onoko hike -4

There were also large patches of mullein, just ready to start blooming and these too should attract a lot of moths butterflies, bees and other insects in the coming weeks. Glen Onoko hike -5

I left the tracks near the sign warning visitors of the bears in the area. I have hiked here many times and have not seen one. I was hoping today would be the first time but it wasn’t.Glen Onoko hike -9

The skies were clear and the early Summer sun was intense so I was glad to enter the shade under the trees growing along the Lehigh River. And where there are trees and shade there are ferns. Glen Onoko hike -15

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.Glen Onoko hike -49

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 IGlen Onoko hike -17 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. Onoko hike -36

I continued to walk the trail with the river to my right and  the railroad tracks to my left, following the curves of the river as it wound it’s way through the mountains. Glen Onoko hike -26

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 . Glen Onoko hike -23

I found a path leading down to the river and rested along it’s banks, enjoying the sounds of the rushing waters, the sunshine and the singing of the birds. It was a very peaceful place to rest. Glen Onoko hike -27

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. Glen Onoko hike -19

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 . Onoko hike -1Glen Onoko hike -42



“Trains tap into some deep American collective memory.”
Dana Frank