I’m often taken back by the local landscape and history of the area.  Wednesday the 20th of December a friend invited me and some friends to go shoot at a tunnel.  Some of us talked about how we would hold up traffic on each end and allow traffic to pass through.  Perhaps it’s because I grew up in New York.  Major cities are loaded with tunnels and bridges, that allow the flow of traffic.  The subway’s come up out of their underground tunnels to cross the Brooklyn Bridge, The Holland, Midtown, Lincoln, and Battery tunnels all handle what is arguably the largest daily influx of traffic in the country.  So, you see I envisioned a highway or subway tunnel. So, when we pulled into a small parking lot in the Lehigh Gorge State Park, I was sure I was in for a big letdown, but was I wrong.

As we got out and started up a very short path to what I perceived as a cave, I came to understand that this would have been an old train tunnel.  It almost certainly had to be steam engine trains that passed through this tunnel.  There had been some kind of collapse, just outside the entrance.   There were mature trees that were grown to either side of the entrance, a mound of dirt, and just inside there were boulders.  The entrance wouldn’t have given any indication of this being man made, but once inside it was obvious.  There are still tires still buried in the ground, spaced at consistent distances, even though the rails were all gone, it was still obvious what had passed through there.

The opening at the other end was inviting.  It had what looked like a guardrail and as I walked towards it I thought it opened to a path that would lead to the right.  But as I arrived at the other end, it was just some boards there to prevent folks from walking out to far.  In the past, the train would exit a sheer cliff.  The old concrete pillars still stood as sentinels, watching, and protecting a train that hasn’t passed for what I figure has been over a hundred years.  You see as I looked out this opening in the mountain, to the left, was a newer bridge, that carries the train.  We walked over to that as well and found a date in one of its pillars that said 1913.  So, I’m thinking that the tunnel was constructed perhaps in the mid-1800’s.

This has been my second or third trip to the Lehigh Gorge.  Every time I go, I’m pleasantly surprised at what I’ve seen.  I’m thinking that I’m going to be exploring this area in greater depth and see what other secrets it hold for me.

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