30th Anniversary

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The D&L Blog

Delaware & Lehigh - Bristol: The End of My Journey

Written by Jay Marsden

We’ve come to the end of the trail in more aspects than one. This summer has been a remarkable one filled with new places, new insights, and new people and I owe a substantial amount of that to the D&L. I’ve been allowed to run free with my blog and explore the corridor in my own fashion and for that, I am thankful. Coming to the end of the 165 mile long Delaware and Lehigh Canal Trail in Bristol, PA is a bitter sweet end for me. In one hand I will begin the next chapter of my life at Penn State very soon but on the other I will be leaving this area that I have come to love so dearly. Although I couldn’t ride directly from Morrisville to Bristol to honestly seal the end of my journey due to the obstructions I mentioned last week. I was able to spend some time in this once epicenter of commerce.

Although there isn’t much tangible evidence of the place where all of the canal boats, their families, their mules, and their products ended up before turning back north, it is still fully remembered. The end of the trail comes at a point along the Delaware River where it looks more like a bay than the river into which Lehigh flows Easton.

Here there once existed Lock #1 of the Delaware Canal and the Tidal Lock, which preached the schedule of the canal boats entering the canal. By using the tide schedule the lock would raise and lower just as the water elevators of the upper grand section of the Lehigh Gorge but rather than using a series of locks and dams this primary lock worked with the moon’s schedule to allow boats to begin their journey. Although this lock is no longer in existence it is memorialized next to the Delaware River along with one of the most active toll stations that once stood here.

Bristol is filled with history and culture and soon this vital part of the canal’s story will be linked to the rest of D&L trail for all to ride and experience. The plan is to bridge the gaps of the trail with new trail heads, tunnels, and groundbreaking events in the near future.  The vision is to have a beautifully smooth trail from Wilkes-Barre to Bristol.