Wow! Last night, we finally got to sleep with the windows open. What a treat! We made plans this morning to drive through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
For those who have never been to the area, a water gap is formed when water carves its way through a mountain range. The Delaware Water Gap is where the Delaware River cuts through the Appalachian Mountains. It is known for its depth (1200 ft.), width (1 mile) from the top of Mt.Tammany to Mt. Minsi, and scenic beauty. The Delaware River also forms the boundary between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Twenty-seven miles of the Appalachian Trail can be hiked in the Recreation Area here. We packed a lunch and began our drive from the south on Highway 209 at the entrance to the Delaware Water Gap area near East Stroudsburg. It was sunny with a temp of 74 degrees. Perfect for doing a little hiking. We stopped at the Eshback Access to get a closer look at the river.
We found 6 canoes, lots of supplies, and 12 men getting ready to launch for a 14-mile paddle down the river on a camping expedition.
After chatting for awhile, we continued on in search of waterfalls. The campground manager suggested that we could see 2 beautiful waterfalls within the Gap Area without spending any money. Bushkill Falls, the closest one to the campground, is privately owned so they charge an admission fee of $14.50 per person to view the falls. We decided to skip that one and check out the other two. Dingman Falls was our next stop heading north at MM 12. The hike takes you to two falls via one path.
It was an easy hike on a boardwalk and we reached Silver Thread Falls first.
It drops 80 feet through a narrow geometric chute carved out of the rock at the top.
We continued on the boardwalk to the base of Dingman Falls, the 2nd highest waterfall in Pennsylvania at 130 ft.
A rock ledge provides a platform at the top for the cascading waterfall.
We spent some time enjoying the view and listening to the thunderous sound of the waterfall.
There was an observation level at the top of the falls found by climbing 204 steep stairs. I checked out the stairs to the first landing and decided it was too much for us to handle.
On our walk back to the truck, Bob stopped to count the rings on this fallen tree and found the tree to be over 100 years old.
Our next stop was at Raymondskill Falls.
The hike to the top of the water is steep. It has 3 tiers with a combined height of 150 feet making it one of the tallest waterfalls in Pennsylvania. It is only a few feet shorter than Niagara Falls.
We walked to the upper viewing area first overlooking the upper pool. It didn't look like much from that vantage point.
We hiked down to the lower viewing area which provided an outstanding view of the falls.
From the lower area, we could look down even further to the third tier of the waterfall.
On our drive to the falls, we caught sight of a large doe right alongside the road. We saw another one off from the road munching in a field of soybeans. She was looking right at us.
We reached the northern end of the Water Gap area and decided to go back another way. We wanted to find Old Mine Road which parallels the river along the other side.
We crossed the Delaware River into New Jersey and found Old Mine Road entering into the Water Gap area again.
The road was rustic and initially filled with potholes. We considered taking another road, but kept plugging along…carefully. The road surface improved after awhile.
Constructed in the mid-1600's, Old Mine Road connected the Hudson River and Philadelphia to the mines in the area and provided a way for farmers to move their crops to market. Touring Old Mine Road, took us past some very historic structures. The first one was the Westbrook-Bell House, which is the oldest house in the Recreation Area. It was built around 1730 and was lived in by 9 generations of the family.
Next we came upon the Alonzo Depue House. For 48 consecutive years, Alonzo recorded temperature and precipitation readings for the U.S. Weather Service from a weather station near the road without missing a day.
We decided it was time to head back to the campground, so we took one of the only roads that crosses the river from this side in the Gap area. Highway 560 took us across the river at Dingman's Ferry. Dingman had a ferry here at one time, but now there is just a toll booth. The toll was only $1.00.
We crossed a very narrow, two-lane bridge. Traffic started coming across from the other direction and we had to close our side mirrors so that we wouldn't hit the traffic going the other way.
We had a nice view of the river from the bridge, but had to stay very close to the sides of the bridge.
Once across the bridge, we were again in Pennsylvania.
We pulled off on a side road and had our lunch. We took our drive back on Highway 209 passing the Stone House built in 1803 by David Dingman.
Once back at the campground, we sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather…no heat and no humidity. Auggie picked a good vantage spot to keep an eye out for that elusive chipmunk or squirrel that would dare to come into his territory.
My good friend, Pam, called and we chatted for awhile and made plans to meet up tomorrow. They would be coming from Jersey City and we are looking forward to catching up. We haven't seen them in quite awhile. Bob and I had dinner and took our usual evening walk. Darkness comes early in the woods and we sat with the windows open watching some TV. It was such a pleasant evening.