August 28 & 29, 2016 Most Recent Posts:
Sunday & Monday A Porcupine and I Surprise Each Other
Dingman’s Campground Vermont’s Hamilton Falls & Overlook Rocks
Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area
Dingman’s Ferry, Pennsylvania
Dingman’s Campground is the only place to camp within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. It is a private campground but amazingly they give the federal senior discount for sites. The campground is pretty rustic with 132 sites but only 13 have water and 50 amp. There are 21 with water and 20 amp service. The rest have no hook ups. Some of these are down by the Delaware River but the road to get there is pretty rough although you could do it going slowly. The sites there are more for tents and don’t look big enough for anything more than a small trailer. But it’s an easy walk to the river from our site.
There are only two bath houses for all these campers. Not sure why the main one is in the big rig loop since it is mainly used by folks all around who are in tents who seem to drive up and park right outside. Since our site is right next to the bath house it becomes a bit annoying but we’re not here during the day too much so we take it in stride. You cannot book sites on line. They aren’t on any of the “services”, Recreation.gov or Reserve America. You have to call them for a reservation. I’m not sure we would have needed a reservation but I was worried about the week-ends since we wanted to stay two weeks.
The next morning I walk around the totally wooded campground and down to the field which separates the main campground from the sites near the water.
Although I’m up early, I’m not the first one down at the boat launch. The water is so low that you’d be hard pressed to launch here at this point. You’d have to tow your boat out to the middle of the river and get in there. Drought in the east continues.
Looking up stream toward New York
Looking downstream toward the mountains.
Although this looks like a road into the trees along the river, it isn’t. It is the walk way to the walk in tent sites which are really wonderful sites overlooking the river.
The sites here are large, flat and some have cement pads. The last two I walk by aren’t on the campground map.
The sites are amazingly secluded and most of the sites have a path down to the water.
An egret is enjoying the shallow waters of the Delaware River.
In the afternoon we head north on US 209 to drive from the campground through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area to Milford.
The recreation area is about two hours from New York City or Philadelphia. It is a 40 mile river valley encompasses nearly 70,000 acres along both sides of the Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
From the map you can see that it begins just north of Milford Pennsylvania near the intersection of US 209 and I-84. We arrived on Sunday from I-84.
Our first stop is the closest of the two visitor centers, the Dingman’s Falls VC. We are here too early today to go inside but it is a very interesting building that I’m assuming it must have been something else before it became a VC.
We’ve come early to hopefully avoid the crowds as we visit Dingman’s Falls which is a very popular boardwalk hike. We are the first car in the parking lot.
The boardwalk goes along and over Dingman’s Creek and passes Silverthread Falls before arriving at the bottom of Dingman’s Falls. There are steps up and around to the top of Dingman’s Falls.
We are both pleased to see that the boardwalk provides access to these falls for the handicapped.
After passing the perfectly named Silver Thread Falls, we head toward Dingman’s Falls.
At this point I notice that we are not the first to be on the boardwalk this morning.
It appears that a 4 footed visitor has come through the fence from the Creek and walks up toward the falls.
There are footprints and what appears to be water shaken off as he walks along.
We follow the steps wondering how far we are behind him. There are still droplets of water as the footprints turn to head up to the top of the falls. We intended to see the base first but decide to see how far we can follow the steps.
Based on the size of the footprints and the possibility that the water drops are coming off the underneath of his coat, we think it may be a black bear. Or perhaps we just wish it to be.
All the way up we follow them but when we get to the top, they disappear. I guess he slipped through the fence again. We don’t hear or see anything. We’re a bit let down but it sure was fun following him and discussing exactly how far we should take this.
There are two viewing platforms but neither one really has much of a view from the top due to overgrowth. I take a picture of David from the top most level.
He takes one of me standing on the rungs of the fence trying to see the falls.
Part way down the many many stairs, I get this picture of the bottom of the top and the top of the bottom.
Back at the bottom of the falls we get good looks but not great pictures at this second highest falls in Pennsylvania with a 130 foot drop. It must be even more impressive in a non drought year.
After the falls we want to check out the story of Dingman’s Ferry. In 1735, Andrew Dingman started a ferry at the point where there is now a toll bridge. His family operated the ferry which enabled travelers to cross the Delaware River off and on for 165 years.
The current toll bridge was constructed in 1900 and ferry service ended. The landing that Dingman used now has a picnic area and a public mid Delaware Water Gap boat launch. It is known as Dingman’s Access. We stop there before checking out the bridge.
Looking down stream from the brick boat launch.
Looking upstream at the 1900 bridge.
The bridge connects both sides of the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area and the state of New York. There are also bridges at the north and south ends of the Gap. The $1.00 toll collector is stationed on the west side and collects from both lanes. You pay before you get on the bridge going east and before you get off coming west.
The sign on the left says
HIstoric Dingman’s Bridge
Chartered in 1835
Owned and Operated by
Delaware Bridge Company
I assume that means it is a privately owned bridge, not state owned, I’m not sure how that squares with the 1900 date of this bridge or the 1735 date of the first ferry service.
We don’t cross the bridge today, that’s for another day when we explore the other side.
We head on into Milford noting the trail heads we pass and the Milford beach area for swimming and boating. There is also another much larger commercial bridge crossing the river at this point.
Milford is a small town and once on the other side we turn back and make a quick stop at the library, something I almost always do in the towns we visit.
As we head up the stairs I see off to the left on the porch, some rocking chairs, great idea for outdoor reading and what looks like a blue bear. Obviously I can’t go inside until I see what’s up with this bear.
After our summer in the Finger Lakes and particularly in the Seneca Falls area where I kept running into Harriet Tubman everywhere I went, The Women’s Rights National Park, The Women’s Hall of Fame, the nearby home of Harriet Tubman I’m actually not surprised to see that this bear is named Harriet Tubman and has a walking stick, in her hand and a quote from Tubman along with night sky stars on her back.
I’m pretty sure she’s made out of something like paper mache. Perhaps a Girl Scout Troop project? She’s great! I just love her!!
Inside the library the young woman working the desk has no idea how long she’s been there, who made her, why or how she got there.
Even so, I know I’d love this library and its librarian when I see the sign just past the entrance.
We’re out of time on this day but tomorrow we’ll check out some of the trails to waterfalls here in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.