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
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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Winter In The Lehigh River Gorge: Some Interesting Ice Formations And Other Cool Stuff.

We got some colder weather here in Northeastern Pennsylvania today, temperatures were in the low teens  this morning.  I decided to  hike out the Lehigh River Gorge State Park at the Rockport access entrance to see how much ice has formed on the river.  Unlike the warmer months, when the parking area is filled with buses, cars, hikers, bikers and white water rafters, the place was deserted.  In fact I was the only car there. lehigh-gorge-hike-1

No complaints  from me, I like the solitude,  as I proceeded south on the trail that follows the old rail road right of way along the Lehigh River. lehigh-gorge-hike-2

The trail was not what I expected or had hope to find . It was very icy, caused by snow mobile traffic when the snow was soft and had now frozen into a trail of ice. I had to avoid the center of the trail and walked along the edges. I soon came upon the small,  but always pretty, Luke’s Falls.  lehigh-gorge-hike-5

Adjacent to the falls is an old stone structure that housed something to do with the railroad. i have tried to research what is was but with no success. If anyone has any information please feel free to comment. lehigh-gorge-hike-7

I continued my hike along the river.  I walked through the thick growths of rhododendron along the trail.lehigh-gorge-hike-19

 I noticed that the leaves had rolled up from the frigid temperatures.  I first noticed this impact  the cold has on the leaves while delivering newspapers on a cold January morning  many years ago.  lehigh-gorge-hike-4

The trail is lined by the steep slopes of the Broad Mountain to the west and south and the waters of the Lehigh River to the east.  Ice was just beginning to from on the slow moving areas  of the river and for the most part it was ice free. I decided to hike down to take a closer look at the frigid waters. lehigh-gorge-hike-12

As happens so many times on my hikes, I was rewarded for my curiosity with an amazing discovery. I found beautifully intricate ice formations that formed along the river. lehigh-gorge-ice-12

I have never seen ice form in perfect circles like this and I have no idea how they were formed. But they  beautiful and they reminded me that there is always something to be found, even on the coldest of days, if you keep your eyes peeled while walking in the woods. lehigh-gorge-ice-1

There were also many ice formations forming along the river. lehigh-gorge-ice-5

I walked back up to the trail and made another discovery. At first, when I walked past this discovery I thought it was a pile of dirt kicked up by the snowmobiles. As I walked by I thought it looked unusual and, upon a closer inspection, realized it was a frozen mole. Not sure how or why it died but I am sure it will be a welcome winter meal for some critter tonight. lehigh-gorge-hike-21

I walked down another mile or so, enjoying the ice formations that formed from the small streams, creeks and waters flowing down the steep slopes of the gorge. lehigh-gorge-ice-18

Along my way I found some remains of the past season such as this now frozen mushrooms. We have had some warm spells in December and I believe these mushrooms grew during those warm days only to be quickly frozen when the temperatures dropped. lehigh-gorge-hike-20

The snow created a white carpet throughout the gorgfe but it was scattered with the fallen leaves, lehigh-gorge-hike-10

or pine needles from the trees above. lehigh-gorge-hike-24

And some plants clung to life along the cliffs and slopes of the gorge, such as these ferns. lehigh-gorge-hike-30

I walked back to the parking area and then walked east to visit Buttermilk Falls. Along the way I again walked by large ice formations that formed from the waters flowing down the cliffs along the river. Because of the unseasonably warm weather, and lack of rain, they were not as large as they are in most years. Here is a link to my photo gallery with more photographs of the many ice formations I saw  on my hike today. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Lehigh-River-Gorge-ice-January-7-2017-lehigh-gorge-ice-26

I continued my hike out to Buttermilk Falls which were also  flowing ice free.lehigh-gorge-hike-35

Again, many years I find them partially frozen this time of year, and, in some cold years, they are completely frozen over. Not this year, but we still have two months of winter left, and  it may be frozen solid before it is over.  I hope not, I will enjoy a hike in the cold, but I look forward to the lengthening days and warmer temperatures of Spring, and it is only seventy-one days away, not that I’m counting. Here is a link to a gallery with more photographs from my hike along the Lehigh River. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Lehigh-River-Gorge-hike-January-7-2017-lehigh-gorge-hike-34

With beauty before me, may I walk 
With beauty behind me, may I walk 
With beauty above me, may I walk
With beauty below me, may I walk
With beauty all around me, may I walk
Wandering on the trail of beauty, may I walk”
–  Navajo: Walking Meditation lehigh-gorge-hike-18




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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. 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. https://youtu.be/HH9GO6lbmUoGlen 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 . http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/glen-onoko-hike-june-26-2016Glen Onoko hike -1Glen Onoko hike -42



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


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A Walk Along The Lehigh On The Weissport Canal Trail.

I decided to head south today to see if there were more green than I saw at the PPl Wetlands yesterday   so I drove down to Weissport to check out the old canal trail. It was another beautiful day in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Clear blue skies, mild temperatures after a cool start, and plenty of sunshine. Weissport canal -1

I have been to the canal before and wrote a few blog post on it’s  long history. Here is a link to one of the posts.  http://wp.me/p5GeDV-388   You could read the other ones,  if your interested,  in the archives. Today, I found that there was not much more buds on the trees than there was at the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township. The cold weather we had the past few weeks had slowed the plant growth down here too. Weissport canal -22

It was still a gorgeous day for a walk and I  headed north along  the canal. I was surprised to see only a few ducks on the waters. Usually, even in the Winter, there are large numbers of ducks and geese near the parking lot. I wonder if the migrated further north. Weissport canal -42

There were a lot of folks fishing along the canal an in the Lehigh River when I first arrived. Even more folks were on the trail hiking, biking and enjoying the abundant sunshine as the day progressed. Weissport canal -11

There was no where near the bird and wildlife activity as the is at the PPL wetlands but I did see geese on the Lehigh River and a few birds, including some cardinals, tufted titmice, black capped chickadees, phoebes, mourning doves and this song sparrow. Weissport canal -15

I walked out past the fishermen as the trail ran between the Lehigh River to the left and the waters of the old canal to the right. Although only a few of the trees had buds there were still signs of life, including these young leaves on a blackberry branch. Weissport canal -3

I also passed the “bridge to nowhere”. This bridge and rest area was set up by a local church and I have spent a few moments in reflection on the words of this sign next to the bridge. Weissport canal -21

I also stopped off at the scenic overlook about a half mile further up the trail, although today the view was obscured by a large number of train tanker cars parked on the railroad tracks on the other side of the river. Weissport canal -28

I decided to turn back at the railroad bridge that crosses the river, about three miles from the beginning of the trail.Weissport canal -29

It was a nice walk back, a lot warmer now and I saw a few turtles along the waters, but not nearly as many as are found at the PPl wetlands. I also saw this strand of amphibian eggs, either from a frog or salamander. Weissport canal -36

The fish were also more active and I saw quite a few in the waters on my way back including this perch. There is always so much to see in the woods this time of year. You just have to keep your eyes peeled. Weissport canal -37

I made my way back to the parking area and noticed this cherry tree in bloom that I missed on my way out. Another sure sign Spring is here and it won’t be long until all of Northeastern Pennsylvania is covered in a lush canopy of  green leaves. I am in no hurry, I am  just enjoying every minute of this wonderful season. Here is a link to some more photographs I took on my walk along the Weissport canal. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/weissport-canal-april-17-2016Weissport canal -48


Your deepest roots are in nature.  No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of Weissport canal -8creation.  Charles Cook




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Open Water In January Means A Lot Of Ducks At The Weissport Canal

After seeing how ice free the ponds and canals were at the PPL Wetlands yesterday, I decided to hike out the old Lehigh Canal in Weissport this morning. I thought there may be some ducks and other waterfowl still in the area because of the mild weather we’ve been having. And I decided to bring along a  duck expert, my nephew Mike. Weissport Canal. (7 of 30)

It was a seasonably cold, cloudy day with a temperature around 32 degrees when we arrived in Weissport . And sure enough most of the waters of the canal were ice free  and there were a lot of mallard ducks still in the area,  not seeming to mind the cold waters one bit. Weissport Canal mallard duck  3 (1 of 1)

We hiked along the old canal,  there is more information on the history of the canal in some of my earlier posts here on my blog, situated along the Lehigh River. . The canal has many large, ancient oak, ash and maple trees growing between the canal and the Lehigh river to the west. In the Summer the trees are filled with song birds but today only some cardinals, a titmouse  and some crows could be seen and heard. Weissport Canal. (10 of 30)

We encountered a lot of mallards as we walked along the canal, 75 to be exact, according to my nephew. The ducks were on the ice free  open waters, but as we headed to the north there  was ice on the water and we didn’t see any more ducks. Weissport Canal. (24 of 30)

We did hear, and then saw  a flock of Canadian geese that remained in the area because of the mild Winter we have had. Weissport Canal. (29 of 30)

We hiked out a few miles hoping to see the otter that left some tracks on the ice. A fellow walker we met told us he saw one last week. no such luck for us but we were surprised to see , well, my nephew actually saw them, a pair of wood ducks. My nephew explained that it is rare to find these beautiful, and shy, birds in our area in January.  Weissport Canal wood duck  2 (1 of 1)

We watched the wood ducks interact with some mallards, they weren’t really very friendly to each other, and we headed back to the car and a nice lunch on the way home. it was cold, cloudy and dreary but still a nice day to hike in Northeastern Pa. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike this morning. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/weissport-canal-january-17-2016/page/2Weissport Canal wood duck  7 (1 of 1)

“If there were no tribulations, there would be no rest;
if there were no winter, there would be no summer.”
–  St. John ChrysostomWeissport Canal wood duck  6 (1 of 1)

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Another Visit To The Lehigh Canal At Weissport

I promised my  fourteen year old nephew I’d take him fishing on Friday at the PPL Wetlands, but he suggested we go to Weissport so he could fish the old Lehigh Canal.  I had been telling him I saw a lot of folks fishing there on my hikes and he wanted to give it a try. My  twelve year old niece and her friend,  also joined us.

It was a warm an partly cloudy when Lehigh Canal  (33 of 34) we got there and they kids enjoyed the geese and ducks that live on the canal in town. I explained a little about the history to them and nephew  stopped and fished and the girls did there own exploring while I hiked a few miles on the trail. Lehigh Canal  mallard (1 of 1)


As usual the trail  itself is a scenic , well maintained path between the Lehigh River and the old canal and a few abandoned locks of the canal.

As usual in the warm months there was a lot of activity along the path.  Bikers and hikers were on the trail, some with their families and a few fisherman along the canal. Plenty of rafters enjoying the Lehigh River too.Lehigh Canal  (27 of 34)

Not much larger wildlife, other than the ducks geese and a few squirrels and song birds but plenty of insects and dragonflies along the water.  Weissport is further south and at a lot lower elevation than my home and found some milkweed flowering already. And milkweed flowers attract all kind of bees, wasps, insects and my favorite, butterflies. Lehigh Canal  milkweed 035 (1 of 1)

Some rain moved in and we got a shower but I sat under some of the large trees that are situated on the banks of the river and enjoyed the gentle rain falling on the river. Lehigh Canal  (21 of 34)

Headed back and the kids fished for a bit while I looked for frogs, snakes and whatever else lives near water. Only found some dragonflies but that is okay, they are beautiful creatures, and I enjoy trying to photograph them. This is a link to some more photographs of these ancient and remarkable creatures.http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/pennsylvania-insects-butterflies-bees-ants-and-spiders-dragonflies/nggallery/pennsylvania-insects-butterflies-bees-ants-and-spiders/dragonfly-weissportLehigh Canal  dragonfly 021 (1 of 1)

We headed to the car and the kids said they had fun . . It was another wonderful day in Northeastern Pa. \

This is a link to some more photos from my hike along the river. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-5/nggallery/blog-photos/weissport-lehigh-canal-hike-june-26-2015


“Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives.” Thomas Berry The Dream of the Earth


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