Day 42 – New Jersey’s Delaware River Loop Part 2

Delaware Water Gap – New Jersey/Pennsylvania

VANilla carted me and the dogs from Ted’s to Dingmans Ferry within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area on the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  It is here where I took a 10 minute walk past two lovely waterfalls.  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, was unique to me as the bottom half of the falls veered to the side.  The dogs weren’t allowed in this area, so we took a quick stop at “the Dingmans Ferry boat ramp, the site of a Colonial-era ferry crossing” to stretch their legs.  Thereafter, I paid the $1 toll to cross the Delaware River on nearby Dingmans Bridge, a rattling wood-decked bridge nearly 100 years old.

From here 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 it is a ghost town in New Jersey.

Buttermilk Falls, located in Stokes State Forest, is among the highest in New Jersey.  The falls are a little bit off the beaten path…another dirt road.  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 nice to just follow one of the many trails that zig-zagged through the forest off the main road sidled by beautiful bushes covered in bright pink leaves.  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 one more 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’m not sure I made the proper turn for the most efficient route, but it was a good turn as the road wound through the forest up to two black bears beside the road.  I couldn’t believe it!  I’ve wanted to see a bear in the wild for years.  Everyone in my family has, as the bears tend to visit our cabin in Colorado every summer except for the week I’m there.  For some reason, as I drove toward them, I expected them to sit beside the side of the road so I could take their picture like the lions and cheetahs did when we were in Africa.  Nope, they ran off…bummer!  The bears were so beautiful.  I expected them to appear rough and bold, yet these looked like giant stuffed animals; their coats pitch black, shiny and fluffy as they slowly 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 who just rode downhill past me would have done had I not scared the bears away, as he would have been within four feet of them!  I may have fallen off my bike after my heart skipped a beat!

In addition to the two black bears, I saw a gaggle of geese (I’ve probably seen geese daily), a rafter of turkey, two herds of deer.  One herd of dear were lying down.  That was kind of neat.  I think I doubled my deer sightings on my trip today…in the mid-30’s now.

Well, I had an inkling of hope for the Cowboys and a last ditch effort to give themselves a chance to play in the Super Bowl in Dallas….hmmm, Romo with a broken collarbone…I don’t think so!  At least there is baseball fever in Dallas.  For all of you that live there, take advantage of the fact the World Series is in your backyard…I wish I were going, and I don’t even like baseball much.  What an experience it would be. ETB

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned travel photographer and blogger.

4 thoughts on “Day 42 – New Jersey’s Delaware River Loop Part 2

  1. Very cool that you saw, not one, but a pair of bears! Could easily have been a mother and a cub — which if that’s the case, it’s good you were in VANilla!
    They are definitely spectacular looking animals.

    Too bad about the “Boys” — but Big D really has Ranger fever! First game is tomorrow night. Sure hope we win!

    Miss you….xo’s M

  2. Love your pictures of the falls and your descriptions taking us through that beautiful area.
    Speaking of baseball… when you were a young girl I went with your mom to watch you play in a game. A ball was hit and you flew off the ground and with your arm reaching high… you caught it. It was spectacular. The crowd went wild. Your mom had a emotional moment… so proud.

    1. Judy, you make me laugh! There are only about 3 moments in my 3rd-5th grade softball years that I even remember, hitting the ball when the coach wanted me to stand there and watch it go by (I was going to go down looking so I ignored him – didn’t get the strategy), pitching a double header on the hottest day recorded in Dallas and getting the game ball, and catching a line drive about 1 foot off the ground. I wonder if that is the catch you were thinking of because everyone (the ump, the coach, the batter, myself) was shocked I caught it. It ended up being a double play!

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