Pocono Mountains Delaware Water Gap, PA. High: 82. Low: 69
Site: 149. Timothy Lake South
Sparky is really excited to be in Pennsylvania....it was fantastic for leaf colors when we passed through in the fall, and it is gorgeously green now that it is summer. Because it is in the Pocono Mountains, our campground weather is not as hot as some other places right now. So Sparky is off and running, er, biking and hiking the local trails....
First, the McDade Recreational Bike Trail...it extends through most of the Delaware Water Gap recreational area, and is for hikers, bikers and cross country skiers in the winter. The trail varies from easy to strenuous, depending upon where you enter the trail. From the Bushkill Access trailhead near our campground, it's pretty level heading north. The trailheads are about a half a mile to a mile apart. The trail from Bushkill to Schneider Farm is mostly level. The Delaware River runs along the trail to the right, and farm fields for the most part are to the left. The trail is crushed gravel, and the stones are on the bigger rather than smaller side. Read that as you need a hybrid bike with good tires, and be prepared for a little bone jarring ride in places. Sparky enjoyed the trail because it was mostly shady (!) and got about 18 miles in.
The best part of our stay so far? Sparky has been on the Appalachian Trail twice and gotten to take terrific hikes and see fabulous views. The distances were not great-- about 3-4 miles each time, but the trails were moderate to difficult. The first hike was in the Stokes State Forest area.....Eldo, bless his heart, drove all over the boonies trying to find the trail head for Sparky. We crossed Dingman's Ferry Bridge which was EXTREMELY narrow and paid a 2.00 toll each way to get close to a trailhead so Sparky could get on the trail and hike her heart out. It wasn't easy finding the parking lot but we did!
Sparky hiked and hiked and met FIVE single women in the trail who were thru hikers. They are hiking all the way to Maine! Here are two amazing women, one gal in her sixties--"Hare", and the other gal in her 20's (?) whose trail name was "Doah", because she lives in the Shenandoah Valley. We exchanged hiking stories, Sparky asked all about their shoes, what they ate (dehydrated meals) and whether they felt safe on the trail. They overwhelmingly said yes, what a fantastic experience it is being out on the trail, and how all the hikers look out for each other. (Uh-oh, I can see where this is going, worries E.) Sparky would LOVE to section hike the trail, and that's possibly doable. She probably won't ever think about doing the whole thing--well, yes, she thinks about it, but it's not at the top of her bucket list....even though there are PLENTY of women in their sixties on up that are hiking the trail...Hey, Eldo, maybe we could do an RV support rig trip...Sparky hikes the trail during the day, and then comes off to sleep at night in the RV! Lots of reasons why that wouldn't work, (no generator, can't boondock, the rig is too big for most trailheads and very tight parking), so Eldo don't worry! By the way....TWO blazes like on the tree photo above means the trail is going off to the right.
Here's Doah and Hare....Doah is hiking in a tee shirt DRESS with shorts underneath....She says it's super comfortable!Sparky LOVES meeting the thru hikers on the trail. The thru hikers start in Springer Mountain GA, and hike all the way to Katahdin, Maine, a distance of 2,181 miles.
They have such great stories and are having a wonderful time....
Sparky kept going on the rocky, tight trail until she came to the lookout tower, and of course, she just HAD to climb it...It was scary going up! Can't believe just anybody can climb up this lookout tower. This was the Culver lookout tower.....
Not very secure fencing and open sides in some places...yikes! But what a view! Eldo was going to call the ranger if Sparky didn't make it back down within a certain amount of time so it was time to turn back and head down.
|not the worst of it!|
Trail experience #2.....Sparky hiked the Mt. Minsi trail, a five mile loop trail....WOW! This was the most strenuous hike ever for Sparky. There are two ways to get to the top of Mt. Minsi....one is a stream bed (VERY rocky but not as steep, just treacherous footing), and the other is a straight up climb from 520 feet in the parking lot to over 1,400 feet at the top. Sparky took the hard one.....but it was worth it.....Look at the view!! It was spectacular and so was the drop off just a couple of feet from the edge. Sparky got a little woozy just looking over the edge of the trail.
This view above was the best of all. Sparky was exhilarated to have hiked the AT twice. She hopes to do more hiking on the AT in Maine ....And that is it for today....We have just a couple of days remaining of our stay here in Timothy Lakes Campground South.
We highly recommend this area for hikers and bikers. You can rent kayaks and canoes and go rafting. You can backpack on the Appalachian Trail and follow the footsteps of many who have gone before you. You can go for a leisurely float down the Delaware River if you like. Lots to do here for the nature lover, not so much for people who like to shop and check out touristy stuff. Its been a great stay, we plan on returning to the area on our way back from Maine...we will see you again soon down the road! Bye for now.....