Day 42 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways
This morning VANilla carted me and the dogs from Ted’s House to Dingmans Ferry within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is located on the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Here, I took a 10 minute walk past two lovely waterfalls on the Delaware River. The first, Silver Thread Falls, is aptly named as the narrow stream of water that tumbles down the cliff looks like a silver thread. The second, 130 foot Dingmans Falls, curves over the granite rock.
The dogs weren’t allowed in this manicured section of the recreation area, so I let them stretch their legs at the Dingmans Ferry boat ramp, the site of a Colonial-era ferry crossing. Thereafter, I paid the $1 toll to cross the Delaware River on nearby Dingmans Bridge, a rattling wood-decked bridge nearly 100 years old.
After crossing the Delaware River, I followed The Old Mine Road, a road constructed by Dutch minors to transport copper ore from Delaware Water Gap to New York in the 1600s, along the river to Walpack Center and Buttermilk Falls. Walpack Center, a small town with about eight white buildings including a post office, church, and gas station, was abandoned in the 1960s when the government planned on damming the area to build a reservoir. While the opposition halted the plans, Walpack Center never recovered, and now it is a ghost town in New Jersey.
Just around the bend from Walpack Center down a dirt road is Buttermilk Falls. The falls, some of the highest in New Jersey, are located in Stokes State Forest. The dogs and I climbed the one-hundred or so stairs that led to the top. While they were nice, I’m not sure it wouldn’t have been nicer to just follow one of the many trails that zig-zagged through the forest sidled by beautiful, bright pink bushes. Anyone know the name for these?
On my way back to Ted’s (also a fisherman so he may come to Estabrook one day) to watch Monday night football (Cowboy’s vs. Giants), I made a final stop at Millbrook Village. According to Reader’s Digest, the first whites to settle the Delaware River valley in the early 1700s were Dutch farmers from New Amsterdam (now New York), the Van Campens.
They sold their land so that a mill could be built on the stream which became known as Van Campen Mill Brook. This mill spawned Millbrook Village, the first town within Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area. The town was deserted in the 1900s, but 23 restored buildings remain, including the mill, a store, a church, and a barn to name a few. The dogs and I enjoyed a nice stroll through the area before it started raining.
As we left, I made the best wrong turn of my life. I wound up the forest road where I encountered two black bears. I couldn’t believe it! I have wanted to see a bear in the wild for years. I’m the only one of our family who hasn’t seen the bears that visit our cabin in Colorado every summer.
For some reason, as I drove toward them, I expected them to sit beside the road and pose for a photo like the lions and cheetahs did on our African safari. Not so! As a result, I am pictureless.
They were so beautiful. I expected them to appear rough and bold, yet they looked like giant stuffed animals with their pitch black, shiny coats. They loped away in almost a playful manner. As I was parked in the middle of the road watching them, I wondered if it was a mom and cub or two cubs. Both were small to me, but one was much larger than the other.
I also wondered what the cyclist would have done had I not scared away the bears. Downhill bound, he would have been within four feet of them! I may have fallen off my bike after my heart skipped a beat in fright!
In addition to the two black bears, I saw a gaggle of geese (I’ve probably seen geese daily), a rafter of turkey, and two herds of deer. One herd was lying down. That was kind of neat. I think I doubled my deer sightings on my trip today. I’m in the mid-30’s now for my 40 day trip thus far.
Back at Ted’s, I rooted for the Cowboys while he rooted for the Giants. A fun rivalry! Once Romo broke his collarbone, my slim hope for the Cowboys reaching the Super Bowl in Dallas in February faded. Well, at least the Texas Rangers are giving us Dallasites something to cheer about. What an experience it would be to go to a World Series game! Hopefully, they’ll make it again when I’m home.
In the meantime, I’m signing off and will be heading to Pennsylvania tomorrow. ETB
Map of My Road Trip Across the USA
For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.
Other Articles About New Jersey You May Like
Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop. Each card has a travel story associated with it. 20% of proceeds are donated to charity.