CacheCrazy.Com: Backyard Fun - The D&L Trail

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Backyard Fun - The D&L Trail

It’s amazing the things that are right outside your door, places that others might even drive hundreds of miles to visit.  So we’re starting a new occasional series here at Cache Crazy called “Backyard Fun”.  From time-to-time, we’ll highlight little secrets that are close to home, places that we often overlook.  Enjoy…

One incredible asset we have here at Cache Crazy headquarters – quite literally right out our back door – is the beautiful Lehigh River.  “Our” section of the river begins at the Francis E. Walter Dam and continues downstream to the town of Jim Thorpe, PA.  Historically, this portion of the river served as an important conduit for the transportation of timber and anthracite coal.  Today the river is popular with fishermen and women and rafters.  Additionally, the old rail beds that follow the river are now popular bike trails.  This past weekend, we took to this section of the D&L Trail to visit both our natural resources and our heritage.
The D&L Trail
Off we go!
Back in the day, to transport timber and coal downstream, a series of locks and canals were built through the Lehigh Gorge.  Because these engineering marvels from White Haven to Jim Thorpe were considerably more impressive than others along the river, the stretch became known as “The Upper Grand Section”.  Eventually Mother Nature took over as a series of floods throughout the 1800s wiped out the canal system.  This made way for new technology in the form of railroading.  Remnants of the old canal and lock system are still easy to spot…
An old lock on the Lehigh's Upper Grand Section
Several tributaries enter the Lehigh River on its journey to the Delaware.  Sandy Run, Hayes Creek, and Mud Run are well-known feeder streams in the area.  There are many other unnamed rivulets and brooks that are no less impressive, however…
Feeder stream waterfall
Speaking of Mud Run, while it is often times the saddest and most difficult to hear, “real history” is also the most interesting and teaches the most valuable lessons.  This section of trail takes you past the site of the Mud Run Disaster.  In October 1888, a series of trains was shuttling people from an event in Hazleton, PA back to their homes farther north in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties.  One train rear-ended another train, and in a textbook case of “telescoping cars”, 66 people were killed in the wreckage.  According to the commemorative marker on-site, many of the victims were boys from an Avoca, PA drum and bugle corps. 
As we approached Rockport, an access point along the Lehigh, we passed a ramp used to haul rafts to and from the river.  The upstream Francis E. Walter Dam controls flow rates on the river and allows for excellent whitewater rafting through the spring and summer months. 

If you want to get off the bike trail for some geocaching fun, I highly recommend The Lost Bridges multicache. You’ll enjoy a scenic hike and take in some of the old structures from the railroading and mining days. In addition, I’ll also shamelessly plug the Re-Hidden Lehigh multi/mystery cache. This cache was originally hidden by frenchfrynfrosty and we were fortunate to adopt it at the end of last summer. It hasn’t seen a lot of action, but those that have done it seem to have really enjoyed it. It’s upstream of White Haven, so while not exactly along the bike trail, it does follow an old railroad grade and is another area rich in history. There are several other geocaches along the trail near Rockport. Another neat little cache nearby is the Leslie Run cache. This is a tough little hide close to yet another historical structure.
Ramp for hauling rafts and kayaks
Exploring our heritage

You could fill a day and then another along the trail.  Biking, sightseeing,  fishing, picnicking, geocaching… it’s a great trip.  And like I said, it’s all right here in our backyard. 

Biking is hard work!
Do you have any “best kept secrets” in YOUR backyard?  Let us know!

3 comments:

BigAl said...

Excellent post. I love it when folks talk about areas in their backyard. So many people have wonderful places to visit right near where they live, but they never get out and check them out. Thanks for posting this. It makes me think of some areas near me that I need to get out and visit.

BLOODHOUNDED said...

Love it! We are very fortunate to be here in the Pocono's of NEPA. Winter sports,white water river, great fishing,hunting,hiking,biking and oh yes, geocaching too. No better place for our World Headquarters.
Thanks for sharing the fun!

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

Wonderful idea to post about backyard places. Its a great way for people from around the country to hear about the "well kept secrets." Plus it gives me great caches to add to one of my lists!

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