Fly Eagles Fly! And They Did, Here In Northeastern Pennsylvania And Minnesota.

As some of you may know, from my past blog posts, I am a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles football fan. It was an  exciting weekend for Eagles Fans.  The Eagles won  their first Super Bowl on Sunday!!!!  On Saturday, before the game,  I decided to drive to the Lehigh Gap Nature Center and see if I could see a live bald eagle for good luck and  in anticipation of the big game.Lehigh Gap Nature Center

I chose this area of the Lehigh River since I had seen  a bald eagle on my hike along the Lehigh Canal in Weissport last week. And my brother Mike often sees them here when he drives home from work. stone building at lehigh gap

I have been to the Lehigh Gap Nature Center before. It is where the Appalachian Trail crosses the Lehigh River. I have hiked up atop the Blue Mountain on the trail  from here. This time I decided to hike north on the D & L trail. It was partly sunny and a frigid  15 degrees when I began my hike.D & L trail at Lehigh gap

 I had only walked a few hundred yards when I saw a large bird in the distance flying toward me. Could it be? Yes it was!  I was delighted to discover that it was a bald eagle!bald eagle in flight

He or she flew directly over me and was looking down at me as he or she flew overhead.  I thought she or he nodded her head, telling me the Eagles will do just fine. I am always thrilled to see our National symbol in the wild. Even more so the day before my Eagles played in the Super Bowl.  These majestic birds  came so close to extinction a few decades ago.  I knew it was  good sign for me and my Philadelphia Eagles.  And sure enough it was. The Philadelphia Eagles flew just as high, beating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. Here is a link to some more photographs of the eagle. Bald Eagle February 3 2018.bald eagle in flight

I continued my walked along the river and noticed the huge blocks of ice that were scattered along the river banks.  Many were six inches to a foot thick. ice along Lehigh river

The river was mainly ice free now and was flowing rapidly from some rain and warmer weather we had last week. lehigh river

As I walked along, I startled many flocks of juncos who were feeding on the grasses and plants that grew along the trail.junco on ground

There were also quite a few cardinals in the trees along the trail and river. male cardinal in tree

The trail  turned to the northwest after about a mile or so and I walked into the shade.  It felt a lot colder without the sunshine.

The river was still in the sunshine  and I saw a few Canada geese

and a flock of common mergansers wading on it’s deep blue waters. 

I walked out to the Three Ponds Trail,  about two miles out from the nature center. The trail winds around some wetlands and three large ponds. The ponds are now frozen and lifeless but I would think there would be a lot of wildlife activity in the warmer months. 

I climbed up to the Prairie Grass. This trail is high above the D & L trail and the Lehigh river. 

It consists of native grasses which have grown on the soil that was contaminated by a zinc plants that operated nearby during the last century. I remember the barren hillsides when I would travel to Philadelphia as a child. The plant was closed and, with the help of conservationists, the hillsides are now making a comeback.

The trail were steep and ice covered in spots making for some difficult walking. The views, however were worth the effort. View of Lehigh River

In addition to the magnificent views of  river, mountains and towns below, I also saw this house in the distance atop Marshall’s Hill in Palmerton. It is remodeled now but I remember when it was run down and dilapidated. It looked like the house from the Adam’s Family. It was built by a retired Civil War general, Elisha Marshall, and was said to be haunted. 

The trail eventually began a steep, and ice covered, descent. I was surprised not to see or hear a single bird on the trail. I am sure there would be many migratory song birds up here in the Spring. 

The Prairie Grass Trail crossed another nice hiking trail the Lehigh-New England trail. I crossed this trail and walked down to the D & L trail but I plan to return and explore these paths again. Lehigh New England trail

I returned to the Nature Center seeing this beautiful blue bird along the way. Here is a link to some more birds I saw on my hike. Lehigh Gap Birdsblue bird on tree

I enjoyed my hike in the Lehigh Gap and will be  back to explore the many trails in warmer weather. I left  feeling good having seen an eagle. I knew it was a good omen. And it was. My Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl Champions. Fly Eagles Fly!!!! Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Lehigh Gap Nature Center hike February 3 2018. Buildings at Lehigh Gap Nature Center

“Farewell,” they cried, “Wherever you fare till your eyries receive you at the journey’s end!” That is the polite thing to say among eagles.

“May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks,” answered Gandalf, who knew the correct reply.” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien

bald eagle in flight

 

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Fog And High Water On The Lehigh Canal In Weissport

After a night of heavy rain, a thick fog moved into parts of Northeastern Pennsylvania  on Sunday morning. I decided to check out the Lehigh River and hike the D & L trail  along old Lehigh Canal near Weissport. ice and fog on lehigh Canal

The fog was lifting  as I drove over the Broad Mountain but still remained along some of the ice covered portions  of the canal in Weissport. fog along Lehigh canal

The Lehigh River was now completely ice free and flowing rapidly, swollen with waters from the heavy rains and melting snow. Lehigh river near Weissport

I  would often see some ducks on the river during the first half mile of my walk along the canal but not on Sunday. I think the waters were moving to fast for the ducks. But I did see a few mallards on the canal, where the ice had melted.mallard ducks on canal

I also saw quite a few cardinals fluttering about in the trees between the river and canal.male cardinal on tree branch

And, always one of my favorite sightings, a mockingbird across the canal. mockingbird on ground

The walk along the canal was much different from the previous weeks when it was covered in snow and ice. The snow had all melted and much of the ice on the canal was gone too. The fog made it appear more like a day in the Fall than the end of January. fog on ice on Lehigh canal

As usual  in the winter I noticed a lot of bird nests in the bare tree branches that would have been almost invisible when the trees  are covered in leaves in the Spring and Summer. bird nest in tree

There is no where near the diversity of plants and flowers and the many colors they add to the landscape in the warmer months. But, if you look closely you can still find beauty in the dreary winter landscape.raindrop on red berrry

Even a blackberry bramble,raindrops on blackberry bramble

or briar berry has it’s own beauty.raindrops on briar berries

I continued my walk along the canal and walked past the Bridge To Nowhere and  to the observation deck  about 2.25 miles  out on the trail.observation deck along Lehigh river

I sat atop the deck and took in the beautiful scenery and listened to rushing  waters of the fast moving Lehigh River. Lehigh River from observation deck

A lone runner on the trail was the only person I saw during this quiet time at  this scenic spot on the trail. lehigh river from observation deck

I wish I could had stayed out all day but I had to begin my hike back to the parking lot. Along the way I saw a flock of Canada geese huddled on the shore of the swift moving waters of the river. Canada geese in lehigh river

I also heard a few black-capped chickadees in the treetops and a flock of these birds I couldn’t  identify. They were looking for insects in the tree bark and were finding them. bird with insect in beak

I didn’t see any on my hike, but there was plenty evidence of the many woodpeckers along the canal.holes in tree trunk made be woodpeckers

My day was complete when I saw the tail feathers of a bald eagle I must have startled as it flew away from me along the canal. I only caught a glimpse of this majestic bird but I always love seeing them on my hikes. I continued on my return hike, now meeting many hikers, bikers and runners enjoying this foggy day in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I am enjoying my hikes out along this old canal and can’t wait to see it in the Spring. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Lehigh  canal hike January 28 2019.lehigh canal trail

“Sometimes you can’t see the road ahead but as you keep going, it gets clearer. Stay the course as the fog of life dissipates.” 
― Sanjo Jendayi

 

 

 

 

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Back At The Lehigh Canal: Clouds, Snow And Lots Of Water

It was a much  welcome   35 degrees  at my home in Hazle Township Saturday  morning.  The skies were clearing and temperatures were predicted to rise into the mid 40’s.  I decided to head to the Lehigh Canal near  Weissport for a hike. I wore a light jacket  and baseball hat in anticipation of even warmer temperatures since the canal is about 25 miles south of my home and much lower in elevation. Snow covered tail Lehigh canal

I was surprised when I  arrived at the canal trail to  find it overcast, cold and raw. The temperature was only 25 degrees. It seems the warmer air had not arrived and the  cold settled in the gorge along the Lehigh River. I was not a happy camper as I set out, shivering,  on the snow covered trail. snow covered trail

The canal was still frozen solid near the parking lot in town and it looked like there was  still a lot of ice skating occuring at night. frozen lehigh canal

I thought there would be less snow here in Weissport and was surprised to find at least six inches on the ground, the same amount that fell near my home. I was also surprised to find that there was no ice on the Lehigh River. The river was high and flowing rapidly as a result of the heavy rains we had last week. Lehigh River near Weissport

As I continued my hike I found most of the canal was frozen but there were also large areas of open water. Again, I believe this was a result of the heavy rains. bridge on lehigh canal

I have been returning to this area of the Lehigh since I have been seeing many birds on the river and in the trees along the canal. This morning there was little bird activity for most of my hike. However I did still see some common mergansers on the fast flowing waters of   river, both malesmale common mergansers

and a few female red breasted mergansers. I needed help from some birding friends with this one. . female red breasted merganser

I also saw this duck fly overhead but could not identify it.duck in flight

And I think this pretty bird is a hermit thrush.hermit thrush on branch

And I also saw a few juncos and black-capped chickadees as I continued my walk but it was hard to photograph them in the cloudy and gray skies. junco in flight

I trudged my way through the snow and, as I walked further out on the trail it was less traveled making it even harder to walk. snow covered trail Lehigh canal

As I trudged along I heard a pileated woodpecker in the trees. I was unable to get close to it and this was the best photograph I could get. I love seeing these large woodpeckers on my hikes. pileated woodpecker

I walked out to the Bridge To Nowhere and decided, because of the cold  conditions, and me not being dressed for it, to head back. Bridge to Nowhere Lehigh canal

After about a quarter mile on my return journey, I noticed that the air almost instantly got warmer. It even smelled different. There was now a steady breeze from the south. The warm front finally made it’s way down to the river gorge. old lock on Lehigh canal

I  considered continuing my hike but I was tired from walking through the snow and decided to return to the parking lot. As I did I could hear some of the icicles  already falling to the ground as the temperatures rose into the mid 40’s. 

I didn’t see many birds on the walk back but there were a few squirrels scurrying about in the melting snow.   It was a somber walk with lot of whites and grays because of the snow and  the overcast skies but still was an enjoyable one. It should be even warmer today and I am hoping to see some sun. But regardless I will be out and about somewhere in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and I will have my eyes peeled, there is so much to see even on the worst of days.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Lehigh Canal hike January 20 2018. 

Of winter’s lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer’s secret
Deep down within its heart.
~Charles G. Stater

 

 

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Another Winter Walk Along The Lehigh River

The arctic weather continued on Sunday here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I awoke in the  morning to find a temperature of -4 degrees at my house.  The wind had subsided and the clear skies meant we would have some sunshine. I knew it would be cold but I wasn’t staying inside.  I decided  to return to  the Lehigh Canal in Weissport to see if the bitter cold had frozen the Lehigh River. frozen canal reflecting blue skies

The canal, on the outskirts of the town of Weissport,  was frozen solid. And again it was cleared of snow to allow ice-skating for the local residents.railroad tracks along Lehigh River

I decided to first walk to the railroad bridge over to the Lehigh River expecting to find the river  to be frozen. To my surprise it wasn’t. There was some ice build up along the river banks but it was flowing just as swiftly as it was last week. Partially frozen Lehigh River

I enjoyed the view of the  Lehigh River which reflected the deep blues skies and was contrasted by the white snow reflecting the sun.Partially frozen Lehigh River

I returned to the Lehigh Canal trail and found the same to be deserted on this frigid morning. The temperature at the trail was zero. snow covered trail on Lehigh Canal

As I continued my walk I once again encountered some of our familiar winter resident birds including a flock of  juncos or “snow birds” andjunco on branch

a few song sparrows hopping about in the dead grass along the banks of the canal.song sparrow on branch

After about a half mile on the trail I smelled the pleasant odor of a campfire. I soon saw a brave fellow ice fishing on the canal and warming himself next to a fire. He told me the fish weren’t biting, having only caught one. ice fisherman on frozen canal

I walked along the canal which ran along the Lehigh River but at varying distance, sometimes  as far as 100 yards, and at other areas right along the river. I enjoyed listening to the roaring of the waters on this cold day. snow covered trail on Lehigh Canal

I didn’t  see the mallard or goldeneye ducks on the river Sunday but I did spot these hardy Canada geese braving the frigid waters. canada geese on Lehigh River

I also saw a bird scampering up a tree trunk. At first I thought it was a nuthatch but they usually scamper down a tree trunk. I took a few photographs with my zoom lens and discovered, later at home, that it was a brown creeper. This was my first sighting of the bird. I enjoy finding and identifying (with much help from my birder friends) new species of birds. brown creeper on tree trunk

I also saw, for the first time,  this  winter resident. It hopped from tree branch to tree branch across the canal making it almost impossible to photograph. I was delighted when it flew across the canal and landed in a tree near me. It is a golden-crowned kinglet. golden crowned kinglet

It stayed nearby feeding on insects burrowed  in the trees branches Here is a link to some more photographs of this pretty little bird. Golden crowned kinglet. golden crowned kinglet in tree branch

There were also a few woodpeckers active in the frigid cold. woodpecker in tree

As well as the always present black-capped chickadees, black-capped chickadee on tree branch

and tufted titmice.tufted titmouse in tree 

I made it out to the “Bridge to nowhere” again, about two miles out. I stopped to rest a bit on this bench provided by a local church. I decided to head back. I was cold but invigorated by the  brilliant sunshine, the deep blues skies and white snow. I was also  enjoying so many birds on this cold Winter morning. I was hungry and wanted to watch some football or I might have hiked until dark. bench on trail

On the way back I was watching a few titmice in a tree when I saw this squirrel cautiously looking at me. There were again very few chipmunks or squirrels active in the cold.  And when they are they are very secretive.gray squirrel in tree

I believe it is because they are one of the few sources of food for this fellow I spotted high in another treetop. It is some type of hawk and I am sure it was looking for a squirrel or chipmunk to make a sudden, and last, move. Such is survival in the harshness of Winter.hawk in tree

On  my return hike I met  a number of folks who were braving the freezing temperatures to enjoy the Winter scenery and January sunshine. I also saw many of the same birds I saw on my hike out and another beautiful Winter resident, the colorful blue bird. blue bird eating winterberry

I was again very cold when I returned to my car. It was a cold well earned and which provided me with the peace and quiet I so love, the beauty of a frozen nature I so appreciate, and the observation of so many birds I so enjoy. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike along the Lehigh. Lehigh River hike January 7 2018 

blue bird on tree branch

“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.” 
― Robert Lynd

 

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A New Year Hike On The Lehigh Canal Trail

It  was a clear and frigid  start to the New Year here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It was one degree below zero when I went out for my morning walk.  The clear skies meant there would be sunshine and I decided to  check out the ice on the Lehigh River at Weissport.

I began my hike on the old Lehigh Canal trail. I  have a number of posts about the history of the canal in the archives of my blog. The canal was frozen solid and the local residents shoveled off the snow for ice skating the previous night. . I imagined the scene of folks skating on the canal for the almost  175 years of it’s existence..

I proceeded north, into a steady wind, on the snow covered trail. The skies were deep blue and the sun reflected off the powdery snow making the landscape look like a scene from  Dr. Zhivago  

 The Lehigh River sparkled under the blue skies and was already becoming covered in ice,

I was surprised to see quite a few birds on this frigid day, including a number of sparrows darting among the bush growing along the canal.

And a few cardinals adding some color to the white and blue scenery.

There were only a few fellow adventurers out on this cold morning including one gentleman on his bicycle. But there were also , surprisingly, a number of water fowl near the canals and on the river. The first I saw  was this male mallard  duck that flew overhead.

I think he was part of this group of what I think were female mallard ducks swimming in the cold currents of the Lehigh River. However, my bird identification skills are not the best and they may be black ducks. 

They were accompanied by this common goldeneye duck.

This was the first time I have seen one of these ducks on my many  hikes here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. common golden eye duck on river

I continued my walk in the frigid air but enjoyed the wintery scenery provided by the snow, the blue sky and the surrounding mountains. 

I usually hike, at least, to the railroad bridge over the Lehigh River. On New Year’s Day I only hiked out to the “bridge to nowhere” about two miles from the start of the trail 

This rest area, provided by a local church, is a nice stop to reflect on life, even more so on New Year’s Day and after the recent tragic loss of my sister and her husband.  Despite the cold, I sat and did some thinking about the contradiction between the beauty and cruelty of life. 

It was a more pleasant walk back, I now had my back to the wind. 

I saw a few more sparrows, sparrow in brush

and woodpeckers in the trees along the trail. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. Lehigh Canal birds January 1 2018. woodpecker on tree branch

I was very cold by the time I had returned to the parking lot but I was glad I ventured out on this frigid morning. Despite the frigid weather spending a few hours outside was a good start to the New Year.  I hope I can continue my adventures ans sharing them here on my blog for another year. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Lehigh Canal January 1 2018.    

“There is always an adventure waiting in the woods.” 
― Katelyn S. Bolds

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A November Hike On Penn Haven Mountain In Carbon County.

Last  Sunday was cold again  here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Not as cold as Saturday, but early morning temperatures were in up the mid 20’s,  still well below  normal. I wanted to hike somewhere new  so I decided  to drive south  and  headed to the Lehigh Gorge State Park in Carbon County  As I drove past the small town of Weatherly I remembered  a tract of land recently added to the state game lands.  I had hiked here once before and  decided to return to  this area.I recalled that it  once may have been owned by   a hunting club.tree lined path in woods

I remember reading somewhere about the purchase of the land by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. It is   located on the Penn Haven mountain about 2 miles south of the town of Weatherly. I tried to find the article for this post but was unsuccessful. If anyone knows the name of the hunting club please let me know. tree lined path in woods

When I hiked this trail once before a few years ago it was a cold Winter day with a deep snow cover and it wasn’t a good day to explore  the area. I hoped to see more of the trail and surrounding terrain on this hike.   I started my hike at a parking area across from the Weatherly Country Inn.waters of Indian run creek

The trail begins near India Run, a small stream that flows into the Buck Mountain Creek and eventually in the Lehigh River at Rockport. There is a small dam near the start of the trail which was covered with ice. It would probably be a good place to observe migratory water fowl in the Spring. tree lined lake

I am always curious about the names of streams. And Indian Run had me wondering if there were Native Americans in the area as I proceeded on the trail in the shade of some tall and ancient hemlock trees. large hemlock trees on trail

It was overcast when I set and there were few birds or other wildlife on the trail. It is a steady uphill climb  to a ridge atop the Penn Haven mountain. At first the woods were mainly chestnut oak and hemlock trees.

As I reached the top of the ridge there were more  red oak and pitch pines. i love the smell of the pitch pine.  There are many of these trees on the ridge near where  I grew up  and I spent countless hours playing and hiking under their contorted limbs.I love walking over their fallen needles.  pine trees and pine needles on trail

There were also many red oak trees atop the ridge, still displaying there brilliant red leaves.red oak tree

The red oak is one of the last trees put forth leaves in the Spring and the last to loose it’s leaves in the Fall  red oak leaf

And there were widespread stands of our state flower, the mountain laurel. I imagined how beautiful it would be up here when this lovely flowers was in bloom in June. mountain laurel

At the high point on the ridge three trails converged and there was a large, old  excavation site on the side of the ridge.  I wondered why it was here and what the excavated earth was used for. trees and clearing in forest

I also found some old concrete pads on the ground and it appears there was once a cabin or other structure up here.  I tried to research the history of the area with no luck and would appreciate any help as to the owners of the club and what types of buildings were up here. concrete pad

I decided to follow a trail that lead down the westerly side of the ridge. It was steep and the sides of the trail had much more rock than the hike up. 

As I followed the trail down I caught site of the Lehigh River through the trees far below the ridge.  I hoped to follow the trail toward the river to get a better view but the land was posted.

Although I would have loved to try and see the river I respected the no trespassing signs and made my way back up the trail. It was much harder going up the steep trial than it was walking down. 

I made my way up the steep upgrade and rested atop the ridge before I began my return to the parking lot. I didn’t see a lot of wildlife on my hike. I saw a few deer leaping through the woods in the distance.  There were a few black-capped chickadees fluttering about in the trees,

and I saw this pretty oven bird on my hike down. 

As I neared the dam at the beginning of the trail I saw a few sparrows in the trees along the along the water. 

I am sure there is a lot more wildlife in the Spring and Summer and I hope to return next year to find out. Even without the abundance of wildlife as I find on some of my other hiking trails, I still enjoyed the peace and quiet of the woods on Penn Haven mountain and hope to return soon. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Penn Haven Mountains hike photos.

“It’s all still there in heart and soul. The walk, the hills, the sky, the solitary pain and pleasure–they will grow larger, sweeter, lovelier in the days and years to come.”
–   Edward Abbey  

 

 

 

 

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Ducks, Birds And Some Beautiful Scenery Along The Lehigh Canal.

We had our first frost here in Northeastern Pennsylvania last  Sunday. I awoke to clear calm skies and a 34 degree temperature.  After my usual morning walk through my neighborhood I decided to drive to Weissport and hike along the  remains of the Lehigh Canal. I was hoping to see some migrating ducks and other water fowl along the canal or Lehigh River. . tow path on Lehigh canal

The sun had warmed it up by the time I arrived and I soon found some ducks, but not the ones I was looking for. There are a number of mallard  ducks, domestic ducks and geese living in the canal near the town.male mallard duck in canal

However, it didn’t take long to find some of the wild variety. I soon found this group of common merganser  ducks swimming and diving in the Lehigh River. pair of common mergansers in Lehigh River

I watched these beautiful birds for a little while before I continued my hike along the old tow path between the remains of the canal and Lehigh River. Here is a link to some more photographs I took of the common mergansers.common mergansers on Lehigh river

There were still a few wild flowers in bloom along the canal, providing some late season color to the dying  vegetation along the trail. flowers along canal

The flowers attracted a few late season insects, including wasps and bees. And insects attract spiders including this large one I found along the path. spider on leaf

I heard and saw a number of migrating song birds high in the tree tops but it was hard to get a photograph as the fluttered and sang high over  my head. I was able to get a photograph of this catbird who was no where near elusive as the song birds. catbird on fence

I also got a photograph of this downy or hairy woodpecker. downy or hairy woodpecker

I continued on the path and enjoyed the rushing waters of the Lehigh River, although, because of the lack of rain, the river was very low for this time of year. The path continued to narrow and I was now walking under a canopy of leaves allowing only scattered rays of sunshine  to filter through.tree line tow path

I walked out to the observation tower about two miles out and stopped to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Lehigh River winding through the mountains. view of mountains along Lehigh River

I then walked out to the railroad bridge that spans the Lehigh River. Unfortunately the tanker cars parked along the track detracted from the majestic view of the river and mountains. railroad bridge over Lehigh River

I still sat along the banks of the river for a bit and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and the sounds of the rushing waters of the Lehigh River. trees along lehigh river

As I began my return along the trail I again saw a flock of migrating song birds fluttering in the tree tops. This time, after a number of attempts, I was able to capture one of the many birds in the flock. I think it is some type of warbler. warbler in tree

There were also a few lingering butterflies along the trail.butterfly on leaf on trail

And a few more wild mallard ducks swimming in the canal.  Here is a link to some more of the birds I saw on my walk. Lehigh Canal birds 

I continued my walk back under the shade of the many ancient trees along the Lehigh River. 

I enjoyed the early autumn sunshine as I made my way back to the town of Weissport , having enjoyed another great day in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

And as I approached the parking lot I noticed this critter on a fence railing. Always something interesting in nature if you keep your eyes peeled. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Lehigh Canal Photographs, 

“But just as the river is always at the door, so is the world always outside. And it is in the world that we have to live.” 
― Lian Hearn

 

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No Snow, But Not Much Spring Either At The Lehigh Canal In Weissport.

Many of the trails near my home in Hazle Township, located in the higher elevations of Northeastern Pennsylvania, still had a lot of snow cover last  Sunday.  So,  I decided to head south and the  lower elevations of the Lehigh Canal in Weissport, Carbon County. Weissport Lehigh canal -4

There is a lot of history in this area, from it’s beginnings as a fort founded by Benjamin Franklin to it’s importance as a hub on the famous Lehigh Canal.  I have done a few  posts on it’s history and they can be found in the archives section of my blog. Weissport Lehigh canal -2

I was glad to find the path along the old canal was snow free and I found only a few isolated patches of snow on my hike. Weissport Lehigh canal -8

As I thought I would , I found plenty of mallard ducks looking for nesting sites along the canal.  I also saw a pair of wood ducks, but, as is usually the case, they flew off before I could photograph them. Weissport Lehigh canal birds-2

I walked the path west and north as it winds between the Lehigh River and the remains of the old canal.Weissport Lehigh canal -9

 The Lehigh River was rushing with the waters from the rapidly melting snow and I saw  a lot of white water on my walk. There were also many geese, and like the ducks, pairing off to find the perfect place to locate their nest. Here is a link to a video of some geese on the river I uploaded to YouTube. https://youtu.be/qw5gqe4k8EkWeissport Lehigh canal birds-10

Although is wasn’t too cold, temperatures were near 40 degrees, the trees along the path were still bare and the gray  overcast skies made my walk fell more like Winter than late March. Weissport Lehigh canal -34

However, unlike my hike in the PPL Wetlands near Berwick, there were some signs of Spring including a few green buds on this tree. Weissport Lehigh canal -5

And a lot of plants on the ground  were starting to set forth their first green leaves, in anticipation of  the warmer weather, which I hope is on  it’s way. It was nice to see even this little bit of green. Weissport Lehigh canal -37

There were also many birds in addition to the water fowl, including the usual Winter residents, the black-capped chickadees, who fluttered in the trees on both sides of the path.Weissport Lehigh canal birds-4

I also saw a flock of blue birds, including this one Weissport Lehigh canal birds-3

a few cardinals Weissport Lehigh canal birds-19

mourning doves, Weissport Lehigh canal birds-8

and blue jays,  Weissport Lehigh canal birds-23

and sparrows. Weissport Lehigh canal birds-1

woodpeckers,Weissport Lehigh canal birds-13

They left plenty of evidence of their search for a meal under the bark of many trees along the trail. Weissport Lehigh canal -28

And there were the very welcome new arrivals, including, of course quite a few robins who were scampering along the mussy ground in search of a meal as well as  plenty of red winged black birds in  the brush along the trails and their noisy chattering calls. Weissport Lehigh canal birds-21

Although I didn’t see any, I also knew there were beavers active in the area as evidenced by many  small trees such as these along the trail. Weissport Lehigh canal -19

I hiked out to the observation area, about 2 1/2 miles out the trail, and decided to return when the wind changed,  knowing the forecast was for rain later in the day. Weissport Lehigh canal -33

On my return hike I noticed this young holly bush  along the path, somewhat rare in this area. I was surprised I hadn’t noticed it on my many walks along the canal. Weissport Lehigh canal -22

I walked past the “bridge to nowhere” a nice resting area sponsored and maintained by a local church. Weissport Lehigh canal -23

As I neared the parking area, I noticed this  beautiful bird perched atop a utility pole near my car. Weissport Lehigh canal birds-27

I haven’t seen an osprey here before but it would make sense  since there are plenty of fish in the waters of the canal.Weissport Lehigh canal birds-30

 Unfortunately, it wasn’t happy with me watching it and it took off for a more private dining area. Here is a link to some more photographs of the osprey and other birds I saw on my hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Lehigh-Canal-Weissport-birds-March-26-2017-Weissport Lehigh canal birds-28

i was glad I decided to hike the old Lehigh canal trail and was treated with a lot of bird activity. I am hoping, next weekend, that the snow cover atop the mountain will be gone and I can once again, walk the trails closer to home. The woodlands of Northeastern Pennsylvania should  be coming to life and I hope to be out there, with my eyes peeled, enjoying the many wonders it will offer. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Lehigh-Canal-Weissport-March-26-2017-Weissport Lehigh canal -36

 

Summer, fall, winter, spring,
The seasons rotate as each
brings
its special beauty to this earth of ours.
Winters’ snow and Summers’ flowers
Frozen rivers will flow come spring,
There is a renewal of everything.  
–   Edna Frohock

 Weissport Lehigh canal -6

 

 

 

 

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Glen Onoko: Another Snowy Hike Along The Lehigh River

There was still a lot of snow on the ground last Sunday, and, since I don’t like cross country skies or snow shoes, I decided to again  hike the compacted snow left by  the snowmobiles  on the D & L Trail, this time at Glen Onoko.Lehigh River Glen Onoko -1

I arrived at the trail under mostly  clear blue skies and the strong March sun. The temperatures were more like Alaska than Northeastern Pennsylvania in March, a frigid 12 degrees when I began my hike.Lehigh River Glen Onoko -2

I encountered another photographer on my walk and we had a nice chat about the trail and the surrounding area and it’s history .Lehigh River Glen Onoko -7

As we walked along the still active railroad tracks into the gorge we  ran into these dog sledding enthusiasts, making me again feel like I was in Alaska.Lehigh River Glen Onoko -1

We we treated to this interesting situation of what happens when two dog sled teams cross paths. It seemed the dogs had to stop and socialize a bit, much to the frustration of their owners. Lehigh River Glen Onoko -5

My new photographer friend stayed to photographs the dog sled teams and I continued my hike  along the gorge. Lehigh River Glen Onoko -2

I encountered a few folks on snow mobiles along the way, a cross country skier and one dedicated woman running in the snow. Lehigh River Glen Onoko -27

I hike along the winding Lehigh River as it flowed through the mountains, as it did for thousands of years, creating the steep cliffs of the gorge. Lehigh River Glen Onoko -21

It is truly a beautiful place to hike, any time of the year , yes even with 20 inches of snow on the ground, and frigid temperatures. You just got to dress warm. Lehigh River Glen Onoko -33

I hiked past the Pioneer Oil Pipe line. I did a blog post on the interesting history of this pipeline, one of the first in the country. It can be found in the archives. I believe it now carries fiber optic cables. Lehigh River Glen Onoko -22

The March sun was higher in the sky now and it began to melt the top layers of the snow, causing me to break through the top compacted layer created by the snow mobiles and making walking difficult. And it was a long walk back.Lehigh River Glen Onoko -38

 The exhausting walks required a few rests along the way, which wasn’t a bad thing. I love listening to the flow of the river. Here is a link to a video I uploaded https://youtu.be/6czdSjxMpNgto YouTubeLehigh River Glen Onoko -35

I saw little wild life on my hike, no bears, Lehigh River Glen Onoko -6

but a few birdsLehigh River Glen Onoko -29

including a few  turkey vultures soaring overhead. Lehigh River Glen Onoko -30

And even a few insects, a sure sign of spring.Lehigh River Glen Onoko -39

It was a cold and tiring hike but well worth the effort to once again enjoy the beauty that surrounds us here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Hopefully the rain, and warmer temperatures  forecast for this weekend will melt the snow and make walking a bit easier. Sorry,  to my dog sledding and snowmobiling friends, but it’s time for Spring! Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Lehigh-River-Gorge-Glen-Onoko-March-19-2017-Lehigh River Glen Onoko -11

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.’”
―Lewis Carroll

 

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More Winter Beauty: A Hike On The Old Lehigh Canal In Weissport

It was another cold  day here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, a frigid seven degrees this morning. But the skies were mostly clear and we finally saw some sunshine. . I love the sun and had to get out and take advantage of it , despite the cold and wind,  and decided to return to the Lehigh River, this time at  Weissport, Carbon County. lehigh-canal-2

I have hiked here before but I don’t remember posting on my blog about a Winter hike . There are a few posts in my blog’s archive about the long and storied history of the canal, so check them out if you want some more information. When I arrived I found only a few of the many species of ducks and geese that reside on the canals in the warmer month. They did not look like they were enjoying the weather anymore than I was, and  they may soon be joining their friends who flew south.  lehigh-canal-1

I headed north on the trail,  along the old canal that runs parallel with the Lehigh River. There was more ice forming on the river and I enjoyed  watching it slowly  flow by in the current.lehigh-canal-4

I walked along the canal which was  almost completely frozen over, although there was still open water in spots’ unusual for January.lehigh-canal-6

As was the case in the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township, I found many bird nest along the path which were hidden in the leaves in the Summer.lehigh-canal-19

And the remnants of lasts years plants  could still be found along the canals, such as this milkweed pod,lehigh-canal-18

And these green brier leaves.lehigh-canal-12

I was walking into the strong wind in the cold temperatures but the sunshine, and the  pleasant scenery along the trail, kept my mind off of the cold.lehigh-canal-17

After about two miles I came to the famous church in the woods and this reflective sign that I have posted here a few times. It’s a great message so I will share it again.lehigh-canal-31

A little further on the trail I came to this  conservation observation  deck and I enjoyed the view of the river and mountains.lehigh-canal-36

In warmer weather I would sit and take in the view for a bit but not in the cold and wind this morning. I soon began my journey back. lehigh-canal-37

It was easier walking with the wind at my back, and the sun warmed it up a bit too. I think the warmer temperatures made the birds more active. I didn’t see any living thing on the way out. On the way back I first heard, then saw this nuthatch. lehigh-canal-29

Then I spotted a few of these white throated sparrows in the shrubs.lehigh-canal-45

And finally I began to see some of my favorite winter birds, the always friendly and playful black capped chickadees. lehigh-canal-48

I was surprised not to see any mammals, such as a squirrel, chipmunk or rabbit, not a one. But they are there as there were many  paw and hoof prints in the snow. And, I also learned there were beavers in the area, after finding some of there finished work. lehigh-canal-28

I stopped a few times to watch, and listen to the ice floating down the river. It truly is a relaxing and peaceful sound and motion. I just wish it weren’t so cold and windy so I could just sit down for awhile. Here is a link to a video of the ice on the river I uploaded to Youtube. https://youtu.be/B-cW8e7Pc0Ylehigh-canal-43

As I continued my walk I noticed the areas of cobblestone that remained on the path from the days when it was the tow path for the Lehigh canal. It is possible this stones were set here in the 1830’s. lehigh-canal-33

On the way back I discovered I wasn’t the only one hiking on this cold January morning, I met a man walking his dog, a woman raking photographs ans a couple who told me there were otters int the river. I was glad to see some other folks enjoying the beauty of the Lehigh River. lehigh-canal-39

I forgot to mention  the many icicles and ice formations that had formed along the slopes of the gorge surrounding the river and canal. They may not be as beautiful as the flowers of summer, but they certainly do have a unique type of beauty. lehigh-canal-44

I missed the green leaves, flowers, insects and animals of summer but still, it was a nice walk in the  cold and wind of January. There is nothing we can do about the weather so we may as well as enjoy it. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike this morning. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Lehigh-Canal-Weissport-January-8-2017-lehigh-canal-26

“How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year!”–Thomas Wentworth Higginsonlehigh-canal-13

 

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