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


Day 41 – New Jersey’s Delaware River Loop

Delaware Water Gap – New Jersey (Day before Yesterday)

After a repeat visit to the Walmart where I spent Friday night, I headed off to High Point State Park in New Jersey.  The park is complete with lakes, trails crisscrossing through the forest, and even an obelisk that sits atop the Kittatinny Ridge.  The dogs and I took the scenic road drive up to the 1,800 foot summit.  I noticed the fall foliage has more of a brown tinge.  I’m not sure if it is because it is a week later, different soil and water, or if it is because New Jersey is farther south and slightly warmer.  Is there a dendrologist reading that can chime in?  Regardless, the colors are still pretty and remind me of some of the crayons that can be found in the 64 pack!

Scout, Petey, and I went for a 3 mile walk at the top of the summit while waving the gnats away.  Along the way, I met Ted and his 9 year old daughter, Alexandra, out taking a hike on the weekend.  I actually had cell service on the trail and, being in a new state, I needed to pick up a cache.  I thought it might be fun for Alexandra to find one, so after a short introduction to geocaching, Ted and Alexandra joined me in looking for an ammo can.  The cache, hidden between two boulders was full of goodies.  Alexandra took a magic 8 ball.  Toward the end of our walk, we found another cache from which I took a geocoin.  I will have to drop it off in Pennsylvania, my next stop.

Ted works with a sporting goods company and is the liaison between IT and sales.  Naturally, we started talking about football and baseball.  As his company is based in the Northeast, the fact the Phillies and the Yankees got knocked out of the World Series, Monday looked to be a gloomy day.  On the other hand, football was on, and I got to spend the afternoon watching it at Ted’s house! We had burgers, chips, homemade apple pie, and S’mores!  He and his daughter had even picked the apples.  I had only planned to stay a few hours and then camp at another state park, but the driveway became home to me, the mutts, and VANilla.

When we made the S’mores over the fire outside, it began to rain at the same time the sun was setting.  A rainbow formed through the pink clouds…it was so cool! ETB