September 1, 2016
Thursday Afternoon Most Recent Posts:
Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area A Park Within A Park in the Delaware Water Gap
Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania Traveling South Through the Delaware Water Gap
After lunch and a wonderful morning of many waterfalls (see A Park Within a Park above in blue), we are ready for another trail and decide to take one billed as seldom traveled.
The trail follows an old roadbed that meanders along Hornbeck’s Creek to, you guessed it, another waterfall. I had no idea Delaware Water Gap was filled with so many. Hornbeck’s Creek is apparently beloved of white water kayakers so when we see it and the falls, the drought in this area is brought home powerfully.
It is 1.2 miles one way to the lower Indian Ladder falls from the parking area off of Route 209, the main route along the river through the Delaware Water Gap on the Pennsylvania side.
The trail winds through the woods for a short way, changing landscape from a wide-open space to a narrower path. The trail is obvious but there are no blazes.
The first bridge is intact but further along we are on our own crossing the creek. One benefit of the drought is this is no problem.
If you are a regular reader, you know that I’ve taken to these rock walls left by farmers and now grown over and around by Mother Nature. They have been pretty much everywhere we’ve been this summer in New York, Vermont and Pennsylvania.
This crossing would be much more difficult in the early spring heavier water flows. I would love to see all the streams and waterfalls of the Gap then when they are full and rushing.
We reach the lovely first falls. It is a relatively short drop. The surrounding cliffs and pool provide a beautiful setting.
At the base of the pool is clear evidence of much heavier water flows and floods. A giant log jam makes it tricky to get to the far side of the pool.
Neither of us can resist crawling around and I make it over to the other side for pictures from that angle.
I decide to check out the obvious trail leading on up along the creek on the left side.. The trail information says “the trail was precariously set along a steep hill and numerous storms over the last couple of years have caused the hillside to slough, making the trail dangerous. Because recent stabilization attempts did not have a lasting effect, this section is closed and will remain closed until a suitable reroute is constructed”
The trail looks quite doable here but based on the description, David stays behind and I venture on with my phone to scout it out and report.
It becomes pretty steep but still easily hiked and i find myself above the creek looking down.
The gorge contains many smaller falls and rapids, a few of which can be reached by following small side trails down to the side of the river.
The trail goes up, the trail comes down.
At this p;oint the trail becomes a bit more precarious.
But I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this.
From a distance it is hard to tell that earlier in the year this might well have been one beautiful tumbling ladder falls. I’m pretty sure this is the falls known as Goliath.
Today there are only trickles.
I wanted to see what Goliath looks like in better water times and this is what I found on the internet.
Definitely have to return.
When the trail isn’t obvious, I just continue along the creek until I see it somewhere ahead.
There have been several difficult spots along the edge high up from the water where I had to be very careful and could take no pictures.
At this point, with a staircase, I figure I must be somewhere near the upper ladder falls or have passed it and am headed toward the upper parking lot.
I”m not sure if this is the upper falls or not. The trail has disappeared and I don’t see anything that looks like a way to what is described as the upper parking lot.
Having no idea where to go next, I turn around and head back. Becasue I now recognize the difficult spots, I am able to stop and take a couple of pictures of them. It hasn’t been an impossible hike but I’m not sure I would recommend it especially if the ground was wet.
Probably because of watching my footing on the way up, I didn’t see this obviously major falls as I climbed. Is this the top falls? Is there a way down to the base? Not from here I don’t think but perhaps from the illusive parking lot.
Another of the difficult areas of the trail. Not sure what you’d hold on to when that tree falls down into the ravine as it eventually will. I can see why they have not redone this trail. In several places it looks impossible.
I’m surprised to see David as I’m coming down. He has walked a ways up the trail behind me but stopped at this point and is waiting.
As we walk back down through tall trees and along the low water of Hornbecks Creek, I tell him about the part of the trail he didn’t get to hike
As we near the trailhead, the sun is low in the sky and streaming into the gorge behind us. It’s been a full day and I’m ready for dinner.