Today is the day we hope David is going to get out of the hospital. I’ve been there every day for the past three to see how things are going and what these doctors are thinking and planning. Today I need a break from the stress at least for some hours in the morning.
I’m planning for this to be our last day here if they will let him go. He’s not totally recovered but good enough and we need to leave tomorrow to get him back to Charlottesville in two days so he can see his doctor there. Thus, I’d like to take this break and do what should be a short hike to two easily accessible falls but of course “the best laid plans”.
The plan is to drive 6 miles up Route 209 from the campground on my way to the hospital 15 miles away and turn up Raymondskill Road to the first falls. Raymondskill Falls is on the left in blue on the map just up from Point A where I hope to turn. I can park my car there and do the Raymondskilll hike and after that go on to the Hacker’s Falls Trail, off to the right from Raymondskill to see the falls there. It’s a little over a mile to the second waterfall.. The waterfalls are at the spot of the 3 blue lines some what difficult to see on this map.
Between the two of them I am expecting a round trip hike of just about 2.2 miles and since I’m starting out at 8am, I can do them easily and still get to the hospital early enogh..
So I drive to point A only to find that the road to the falls has been closed apparently as of today since it wasn’t closed yesterday when I drove back from the hospital at the end of the day. How irritating! Why today?
OK Raymondskill road goes up to a parallel road, Milford Road. How can I get up there and go in from the other way? I use my phone for google maps look at my map and see if I backtrack 3 miles (see red arrow at point A, ) and then turn up another road (off this map) and then go over on Milford Road to Raymondskill at letter B on the map I can come in that way and still keep my plan..
Of course the road turns out to be much longer than Raymondskill and winds all around and back and forth but I make it to point B only to find that end of Raymondskill blocked off too.
By this time I’m getting pretty determined to do this hike!!! SO I look at my google map again and see that if I continue down Milford road for another 3 miles I’ll come to Cliff Park Road, letter C, which goes into the Golf Course and the road to Hackers Falls parking lot is off that road.
Of course the road to the falls parking lot is not mapped and I end up at this tiny little golf course where I go around and around looking for the road. Finally when I am giving up and just going back to Milford Road and on to the hospital, I drive by what looks like a dirt driveway to a house and turn down it because it’s the only thing that even remotely looks like a road and sure enough, I find the trail head.
There are no ‘take them with you’ maps at the trail head so I take the picture of the one posted on the sign. It’s the one you see above. I set out on what is now a 2.3 mile hike one way. It is 9:17 by the time I do all this and the hike has turned into 4.6 miles at a minimum. I’m doing it anyway.
I relax and enjoy the hike which is well marked if I can remember which trail is which color. Based on where I am and the map I do have, I am “assuming” that I want the “yellow trail” based only on its direction.
Some markers at intersections are on the ground so I have to try to figure this out and hope the map I have is pretty accurate.
But I do finally find Hackers Falls and breathe a sigh of relief.
It’s lovely and actually has a fair amount of water.
This is such a beautiful spot. I really don’t get the spray paint I find. Why would anyone do this? Poor spider. Poor trees. Poor rocks.
Hearts? Give me a break. Some love.
I move down away from the ugliness to enjoy the view of the falls and the pool and the little rapids that are on the stream as it moves on along its way.
The defacement made me angry but the falls have soothed that away with their beauty and wonderful music.
I can’t stay as long as I’d like due to my difficlty in finding a trailhead so I am too soon on my way along the tumbling stream with one last look back at Hackers Falls.
Walking down thetrail over to Raymondskill Falls I check my watch and find that it is now 9:51. This has taken me only 34 minutes to hike this .9 miles even with spending some time at the falls and trying to figure out why in the world anyone would want to use spray paint to deface such a beautiful sight. 1.4 miles from here to Ramondskill Falls.
I think there are no Pennsylvania trails without some rocks and roots.
I can see the creek through the trees and from that can tell about where I am on the trail
I come to the gate and see what I assume is the inaccessible Raymondskill Road ahead. So far, understandably, I have met no one on the trail between the falls.
Sure enough the road is blocked here too and the parking lot is empty. Great payoff for my troubles. It’s 10:25, I’ve come 2.04 miles
The trail to the falls is a bit iffy but it leads me there.
Raymondskill Falls is a beauty. One of the most full falls I’ve seen this entire summer. Must be magnificent in times of more water. The name of the falls is taken from the name of the creek. Raymonds kill. When my dauhter frist went to Haverford College in Pennsylvania she talked about going to the Schuylkill River nearby. I couldn’t understand why a river would have the word kill in its name. Several rivers in the area did. So I looked it up. A kill is a creek. The word comes from the Middle Dutch kille meaning riverbed or water channel.
Notice the ledge jutting out to the left of the falls
There is a trail to the top. I take that too
At the top I can see the pool above the falls and the little falls from the creek into that pool.
I also come face to face with that rock ledge where the water spills down to create the falls.
What does it look like to you?
On my way down I meet 4 people coming in. I ask if the road has been opened. No they say, we just drove around the barriers. From what I can see it wouldn’t be that easy. Someone would have to get out and move the sign and the cones at both ends of the section they drove. But sure enough, there are their cars in the parking lot. Makes me wonder why I went to all the time and trouble to obey the signs.
At this point it is 11:03 and I’ve hiked a total of 2.87 miles. No chance of being at the hospital by noon but perhaps at the car. If this hospital is anything like Harrisburg, they won’t release him until later in the afternoon so they can charge for a full day.
I decide to take a different slightly shorter route back. 1.5 miles back rather than the two miles which would take me by Hackers Falls again. A bonus is they claim there are views along this trail which of course means a climb but that’s oK
So at point D on the map instead of going back on Hackers Trail the way I came, I turn right on Cliff Trail and head up to the overlooks.
The first views of the Delaware River and Water Gap are lovely looking both up and down the river..
The road here is wide and there are no so many rocks. Yeah!
The second overlook has a view of the broad valley but the river is not so visible.
Soon I’m at turn E which is clearly labeled “to Cliff Park”. Well done I say to myself.
Lots of lovely green ferns on this section of the trails.
another turn right onto the Blue Trail at point F on the mapand I’m almost back.
The map shows a large pond before I reach the parking lotand I’m soon walking beside it.
It’s a cloudy day and my picture of the clouds reflected in the water is nearly black and white.
And then here I am, coming back into the other side of the parking lot. I can just barely see the red and blue of the kayaks on top of Ruby off to the right near the sign.
I’ve hiked a total of 4.51 miles well more than the original uncomplicated plan and it is 12:05. 11,914 steps! With luck, I’ll be at the hospital by 12:30. This is my last post from the wonderful Delaware Water Gap. I’m sorry to be saying goodbye. I’ve left a lot of things undone including paddling on the Delaware River. I should never have put that off. Now we’ll just have to come back. But then it is Pennsylvania and we don’t have very good luck here.
Next stop, Virginia.