Delaware Canal State Park might be the longest, narrowest state park around. It runs 60 miles from Bristol to Easton, Pennsylvania, and is about, oh a couple dozen feet wide.
The canal was originally built in the 1830s in the canal-building heyday that followed the quick success of New York’s Erie Canal. Its purpose was to allow transport of goods past the Delaware River fall line just below Morrisville, Pennsylvania, and Trenton, New Jersey—the fall line prevents movement of ships above that point. Mule-drawn barges carried manufactured goods and food up the canal and, chiefly, coal from the Lehigh Valley down it.
Today the canal is a park—the only intact towpath canal system in the nation, the state says. It made for an enjoyable two-hour walk last Sunday. (No, we didn’t complete the whole route in that time.) While there were only a few flowers blooming along the way, there were plenty of sights to see. Have a look.
We began at the lower of the state’s two Washington Crossing State Park (this one is at the spot where Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware on Christmas Eve night to attack the British and Hessians encamped at Trenton). There’s a large lagoon there, which was being enjoyed by a male mallard.
This pair of Canada geese resented our proximity and decided to hit the lagoon to avoid us. We were not offended.
This hoary old tree had a spot that seemed to be calling out to squirrels or someone else to move in.
There is a collection of very old, very tall, very impressive sycamores on the west bank of the lagoon. This one might be my favorite. (Unless I’m looking at one of the others.)
The canal on our left, the towpath invited us to stroll. We saw dozens of walkers and bikers during our trek. It was a lovely day.
One of the advantages of seeing trees this time of year is that, unleaved, they reveal their structure.
This sycamore offered a seat, though it was early enough in the walk that we weren’t takers.
After the park, there is a small development on the east side of the canal. This stone wall belongs to the last home before reaching a farm field.
Canada geese visit the field to feed, then fly back to the canal or over to the river. The buildings in the background are the small community of Titusville, New Jersey, across the Delaware.
The west, or berm, bank of the canal is lined by homes. Many of the people who live here keep canoes handy.
Of course, sometimes there are obstacles that limit the directional possibilities of a canoe trip.
We were entranced by the texture of the trees we passed.
And by their structures also.
There were a few spots with clusters of flowers, both on the canal
and in backyards.
We ran into some wildlife as well. A dozen or so deer (a larger than usual grouping) splashed across the canal several dozen yards behind us. You can see a couple on the towpath and several heads in the water of the canal just behind the geese.
When we got back to the lagoon, we were treated to the sight of some sunning turtles.
Thanks for coming along!
Words and pictures © 2012 AtHome Pilgrim.
All Rights Reserved.