Thursday, July 3, 2014

Delaware Water Gap...That's in Pennsylvania

Anyone who has ever met me knows how much I love waterfalls.  Let me tell you a story.  I don't do this very often, but it's a pretty good one.  A long time ago when I was first dating my husband of almost 20 years, he had fear of commitment.  We dated for a while and then he would dump me.  I would go on with my life like I would never see him again.  He would show up again for a while.  Then he would get freaked out and dump me.  After a while he finally decided to marry me, because he couldn't figure out what else to do with me.  It all turned out well.  What I would like to tell you about was an amazing discovery that I never would have made if my now husband hadn't been an idiot and dumped me all those years ago.

So, it was the week before Valentine's Day, and my now husband had just dumped me.  I was feeling a little lonely, a little angry, and a little pent up.  I get that way in the winter.  I'm not much of an outdoor person in the winter, but after a rough few months like that year had produced, I wanted to get out and didn't care how much snow there was lying around.  By the way, there was a lot.  It was a very snowy year.  It was 6 am on Saturday, and I had all weekend with nothing to do and no one to do it with.  I hated to feel sorry for myself, so I decided it was time for a road trip.

I got out an atlas, and started to look for a place where I could go hiking and take my two little dogs; a Lhasa Apso and a Toy Poodle.  I love waterfalls, and they look really cool when they're frozen.  I looked all over the place for a new waterfall that I had never seen.  What I saw was a little road on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey where there was a waterfall called Dingman's Waterfall.  That sounded so silly to me that I just had to see it.  I packed my two little dogs and some snow boots in my car and we took off.  It was better than feeling sorry for myself and being depressed.

It was a glorious day.  Me and the dogs had a great time, and I found a whole new wonderland for waterfall lovers.  First, Dingman's Ferry is the name of a whole town in that area.  Deleware Water Gap is the area and the road is Pennsylvania 209.  You get off I-84 in Metamoras, drive through Milford, and then you get to the Water Gap National Recreation Area.  There are trailheads for hiking and some of them go to some really great waterfalls.

The first turn off that you come to for a waterfall is for Raymondskill Falls.  This is the tallest waterfall in all of Pennsylvania, which is a feat, because there are a lot of waterfalls in that state.  The falls is in three sections, with the middle being the most impressive.  The hike is short but straight up and down, so take your time.

Dingman's Falls is a park with not only that falls but Silver Thread Falls which is one of my favorite waterfalls.  The best part about this place is that it is almost completely flat and most of the trail is a boardwalk.  You could take a wheelchair back in there if need be, so it's accessible for anyone.  There also are restrooms there and a gift shop and information center that is open a lot of the time, but not in the middle of winter.  Trust me.

Deleware Water Gap has great camping, biking, hiking, climbing, and scenery.  It's a great natural area, that's not far from NYC.  In the summer time it is crowded with New Yorkers.  That's the fact, but it's worth it.  The scenery is beautiful.  There are also resort hotels in the area that have fabulous accommodations, including some that are set up for honeymooners.  It's a fun place to spend your time.  But the best part isn't part of the government park.  The best part is the privately owned spot.

Bushkill Falls is a privately owned gorge park.  It has all kinds of activities like pedal boats, mini golf, mining stuff for the kids with a maze to run around in, camping, resort hotel, shopping, snack bar, museum, and a gorge with amazing boardwalk walkways, and several gorgeous waterfalls.  You do have to pay to walk the trails, but it is so worth the small fee.

The boardwalks, steps, and bridges hang off the sides of these gorges like some kind of scaffolding project.  They are amazing.  Now, this isn't necessarily for anyone.  You do have to be able to climb stairs.  There are several trails, some short, some long, between less than one mile and three miles.  They have stairs.  That's just how it is.  But this is a great adventure for almost anyone, and I keep going back, because it's just so pretty.

The waterfalls at Bushkill are amazing.  The trails are astounding.  There's no place I've been quite like it.  I am an authority on waterfalls.  I give people pointers all the time.  I've advised book authors on certain areas.  It's something that I've been passionate about most of my life.  I once went to Iceland to see a waterfall.  I once hiked down into the Grand Canyon to see a waterfall.  This place is great.  Hands down.  It's a great place to take the kids.  It's a great place to spend a weekend.  I can't say enough good things about the whole Delaware Water Gap, but Bushkill is it's shining star.  Visit Bushkill.  It will make you a waterfall lover too.

If you have impatient teenagers or little kids, there are a lot of things to do in New Jersey too.  There's Wild West City, the Franklin Mines, train rides and so much more.


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