Thursday, July 16, 2009

Paddling and Peddling the Lehigh Gap

If you enjoying canoeing and biking, I highly recommend that you check out one of the PA Wildlands Conservancy's Paddle & Peddle events ( We did the Lehigh Gap trip this past Saturday and LOVED it! A small group of us (about eight people plus the river guides) launched our canoes in Bowmanstown shortly after 10 a.m. and paddled down to Walnutport, stopping for a bite to eat about halfway. The "paddle" took a little over two hours. Unlike my other canoeing fiascos, this trip was actually enjoyable because the water level was just perfect - the current kept us moving and we didn't get stuck on any rocks. AND we actually learned how to steer the boat! As stupid as it sounds, I've always gone canoeing without ever really knowing how to steer the thing. But this time Dave and I maneuvered through the rapids and rocks like pros. That was the other awesome thing about the trip - since it was on the Lehigh, not the Delaware, we actually got to enjoy the exhilaration of some rapids.

We arrived in Walnutport a little after noon, hoisted our canoes out of the water and climbed on mountain bikes for the ride back to Bowmanstown. The trail back was flat and graded, making for a nice, easy ride. We actually learned that the trail is part of the Rails to Trails Conservancy program (, which is creating a nationwide network of biking trails out of old rail lines. How cool is that?!

About 15 minutes into the "peddle" we stopped at the nature center where we divided into two groups. The first group continued following the flat path along the river while the second group hiked their bikes up the mountain and rode along a scenic ledge. Dave and I joined the second group and were glad we did. The trail up top had some obstacles but was a fairly easy ride with dramatic views of the mountains and river.

I've always wanted to do something like this and the Wildlands group makes it so easy, providing the boats, the bikes and anything else you need along the way. I'm convinced we would never have been able to execute such an enjoyable trip on our own, so it was completely worth the $35/person fee. I hope you'll check it out!