Searching For Spring In Walnutport, Northampton County

Searching For Spring In Walnutport, Northampton County

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I often see the sign for Walnutport on my travels to Philadelphia via the Pennsylvania Turnpike.   As you cross the bridge over the Lehigh River just past Lehighton  the sign directs you south on   Rt. 248 . 

I have never been to this quaint little town until this past Tuesday. A friend hiked on a trail along the Lehigh River there on Sunday and told me that the  trout lilies were already in bloom.  I love these yellow flowers in the Spring.  They only bloom for such a short time. So, because of the slowdown from the corona virus, I had some free time on Tuesday afternoon.  And I  decided to visit this small town located on the western edge of Northampton County along the Lehigh River. 

It was sunny, warm and Springlike when I arrived with temperatures in the mid 60’s.  The magnolia and forsythia trees were in full bloom. As were many Spring flowers.  I parked at the small park in the center of town and followed the Walnutport Canal Spur trail .

This trail is associated with the D & L National Heritage trail located on the other side of the Lehigh River.  It parallels the remains of Lehigh Canal along the  eastern bank of Lehigh River. It  operated from 1829 until the 1930’s.  Trout season opened a week early in Pennsylvania and their were many fishermen taking advantage of the warm Spring afternoon. 

As I left the town, heading north and up river on  the trail,it  was less  crowded and I observed a lot of mallard ducks swimming on the canals. Some, nearer to town seemed somewhat domesticated.

Others, further along  the trail and river, were not. I believe this pair were wild and didn’t rely on the townsfolk for handouts. , 

The male duck  have beautiful green heads

And  the females,  a duller  brown  color, are pretty birds too. 

Across the river I saw a pair of common mergansers. 

There were also a few Canada geese on the canals, 

as well as this pair of some type of  domestic geese. 

Fish were jumping  and swimming in the shallow waters of the canal. 

After about 1 1/2 miles out on the trail I  came upon one of the stone locks that allowed the barges bringing coal from the anthracite coal mines to the cities to descend the Lehigh River  before the development of the railroads. 

I saw the Lehigh Gap in the distance to the north when I decided to turn around. Had I known, I would have continued my hike another 1/4 mile. I learned afterward there is a nice view of the scenic and historic water gap at the end of the trail. Benjamin Franklin led a group of militia through the gap and built a fort in present day Weissport before the Revolutionary War. 

As I began my hike back a pair of red-tailed hawks circled overhead. 

Some clouds moved in as I  neared the park in downtown Walnutport.  Near the park I observed this tufted titmouse feeding on  a grub.

It was fascinating to watch it consume the grub.

There are more photos in the gallery on my website. The link will be found below. 

There were also a lot of turtles enjoying the warm April sun.

And a few woodpeckers searching for insects on the trees.

Red-winged blackbirds were also making their presence know with their harsh raspy  calls. 

I didn’t find any trout lilies on my hike, they were growing on the southern trail  but it was a pleasant afternoon to be outside.   I enjoyed the hike and found another area of Pennsylvania, closer to home to explore and search for the beauty of nature. I shall return I am sure.  Here is a link to a gallery in my blog website with more photographs from my hike in Walnutport. Lehigh Canal hike April 7 2020. 

Spring forever appears
      the soothing music part
      of lyrics unspoken.
It thaws the frozen fears,
      mends the wounded heart
      that Winter has broken.
~Aarno Davidson



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