The AtHome Pilgrim

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AtHomePilgrim

AtHomePilgrim
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Philly area, Pennsylvania, USA
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"Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita," I find myself still asking some of the same questions I did when I was just a punk kid. The Big Things confuse me. Fortunately, though, many little things delight and amuse me, and some Big Things--my wife, our kids, our bird and bunny visitors, food, baseball--make me very, very happy. In my pilgrimage, I try to be guided by the wisdom of dear old Auntie Mame: "Life is a banquet!"

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MARCH 14, 2012 9:47AM

A Stroll Along the Canal in Early Spring

Rate: 8 Flag

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.   

 

Canal-mallard on lagoon  

 

This pair of Canada geese resented our proximity and decided to hit the lagoon to avoid us. We were not offended.   

 

Canal-Canada geese  

 

This hoary old tree had a spot that seemed to be calling out to squirrels or someone else to move in.  

 

Canal-tree hole 

 

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.)  

 

Canal-sycamore   

 

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.   

 

Canal-towpath   

 

One of the advantages of seeing trees this time of year is that, unleaved, they reveal their structure.  

 

Canal-sycamore branch   

 

This sycamore offered a seat, though it was early enough in the walk that we weren’t takers.  

 

Canal-sycamore seat   

 

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.   

 

 Canal-stone wall

 

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.  

 

Canal-Titusville   

 

The west, or berm, bank of the canal is lined by homes. Many of the people who live here keep canoes handy.  

 

Canal-canoes   

 

Of course, sometimes there are obstacles that limit the directional possibilities of a canoe trip.  

 

Canal-downed tree   

 

We were entranced by the texture of the trees we passed.  

 

Canal-tree texture 1   

 

Canal-tree texture 2   

 

Canal-tree texture 3    

 

And by their structures also.  

 

Canal-gnarly branches    

 

Canal-grand sycamore   

 

There were a few spots with clusters of flowers, both on the canal  

 

Canal-daffodils   

 

and in backyards.  

 

Canal-crocuses   

 

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.  

 

Canal-deer   

 

When we got back to the lagoon, we were treated to the sight of some sunning turtles.  

 

Canal-turtles    

 

Thanks for coming along!  

 

 

Words and pictures © 2012 AtHome Pilgrim. 

All Rights Reserved.

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Comments

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I heard Canada geese overhead yesterday and told them it was a tad early to come home. These are the images of Delaware I take with me, Pilgrim. I share your love of trees, trunks, and local wildlife. Thank you for the virtual walk you shared with us.
R♥
What a fascinating look at part of our early history as well as a walk with you that made me feel as though I was right there with you. Trees really are there most real selves this time of year, aren't they--looking all old and barren, yet ready to burst open into the spring sun.
Great pictures! Looks like a lovely park.
I love those turtles! Thanks.
What a lovely area! Good photographs as well. Except for the size this place reminds me of the area in my backyard..... I love and appreciate nature and its beauty. Thank you for sharing this with us!
A stroll with your soul - absolutely loved it. Rated with a Jali smile of course. :-)
I walk the dog every night along the old Conestoga canal system up to the remains of Lock #1, south of Lancaster, PA. It was overprinted by the railroad which was wiped out by Hurricane Agnes in 1974. Now it's just a peaceful path along the river.

Thanks for the tour and the walk.
These lovely photos make me wish I could smell and hear the canal path, too.
strolls through Nature are good for the soul both of the walker and the voyeur
I am in sore need of taking one, and then sit down, perhaps with a book about baseball?, so this was received oh so gratefully
I always love your shares. Ranks with some of your best posts.