Saturday, September 10, 2011

Landsford Canal State Park: Upper Section, Canal Trail

We didn’t have time to hike the full length of the Canal Trail during our visit to the Landsford Canal State Park and settled for hiking back from the Spider Lily Overlook to the parking lot via the upper section of this trail. Because the canal begins at the northern end of the trail, I’m describing this hike in the reverse direction to the direction we hiked it. The canal was built between 1820 and 1823 to allow boat traffic to bypass the rapids on the river.

A diversion dam was built with loose stones piled on the river bottom to keep water flowing through the canal when the river level was low and to provide calm water for the approach to the canal when the river level was high.

The remains of the diversion dam are still visible and still provides calm water compared with the rapidly flowing river beyond.

A guardlock was constructed at the northern end of the canal to allow boats to be lowered in the canal during high waters. When the water levels were low, the guardlock was left open.

Views of the guardlock from the northern end

Looking back at the guardlock from its southern end.

A closer view of a remaining part of the foundation for the mechanism for opening and closing of the guardlock; two metal rods are still visible in the foundation.

A walnut that has been chewed open by a squirrel. Squirrels at Fort Yargo State Park also chew the nuts open this way to eat the meat.

The trail along the canal

Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) fungi on a log in the shade beside the trail

American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) berries were in vivid color.

Several footbridges crossed over the canal

An abutment is the only remnant of one of the footbridges. It was built to last.

The canal bed beside the trail

Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus sp.) growing on a tree near where the Nature Trail rejoined the Canal Trail at the Spiderlily Overlook.

Unfortunately we didn’t have time to hike the full length of the Canal Trail to see the structures at the southern end. Maybe another time…

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Related posts:

- Landsford Canal State Park, South Carolina: Wildflowers

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