Our plans for the day take a detour early as we discover that the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area is virtually closed for the season. Several wrong turns and unavailable facilities make it clear that an alternate destination is in store.
On the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware, skirting the Poconos, we discover a little gem for hiking and waterfalls at Bushkill Falls. Still off season, but quite open, we take a trip into a delightful park, in existence since 1903. Admission back then $.10, today $10.00, but the well-maintained trails and spectacular falls, caverns, boardwalks, and creeks certainly more than make this a good deal.
Truthfully, our first inclination is there are so many "free" waterfalls to view, why pay admission to an "amusement park" scenario, but what exists here is a nice mix of facilities to service all types of adventures. For the physically limited, wonderful vistas are easily accessible and all the trails are clearly marked with wide ranges in difficulty for a good variety of hiking choices. We, of course, choose the most difficult hike, which affords the best scenery. Once off the main boardwalk (Disneyesque provisions), amazingly we are suddenly transitioned into a rugged and serene terrain, offering breathtaking views and glimpses of 8 different waterfalls. The hike presents plenty of challenges throughout and it takes us the better part of 2 hours to traverse. The range of different waterfalls, beautiful little creeks and rocky trails makes for a spectacular hike. We enjoy it immensely.
We dare to venture further north from here in hopes of crossing the Delaware at one of the spots we had initially hoped to encounter when the day started. Luckily, our chance course works. The Dingman's Ferry Bridge is a delightful find, a single pedestrian operator collecting our single dollar bills as we cross. Travel into PA far busier than our route heading back into Jersey, affording ample opportunity for great photo documentation.
Knowing that facilities are closed, we plan accordingly. Two main attractions are on our list. The first is Walpack Center - a ghost town . We locate the spot easily and, indeed, find it deserted. Undoubtedly, this is a year round not seasonal condition. It is our gateway to yet another waterfall we have earmarked to view. Buttermilk Falls is a lone sight quite off the beaten track and the only encounters we have along the way are three fly fishermen along a beautiful creek. We are in a place of total serenity. It's absolutely stunning
We search diligently but to no avail for the promised black bear that are very popular in this area. Evidently, they don't awake until season either.
The route back from our day's excursion is peaceful as we ease into the hustle awaiting us in the city. Once again, a diversion in our agenda has proven to be quite fun. We're liking this flexible mindset!!!