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Delaware Water Gap - 25-26 Feb. 2017

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  • Delaware Water Gap - 25-26 Feb. 2017

    Last weekend four of us from the Connecticut Section of the GMC hiked in New Jersey while spending the nights in a cabin in Pennsylvania. We were Mandy, Jim, Dick, and myself.

    Saturday: Buttermilk Falls Area

    On Saturday we hiked in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in New Jersey north of the actual water gap. The weather was very warm for February. At one point we came across some women hiking in shorts and tank tops, and they were not underdressed for the weather. The forecast was for rain starting midday, but there wasn't anything more than a few drizzles until we were off the trail. If I remember correctly we met 11 other people during the hike.

    One difficult part of this hike, which kept us alert all day, was that some of the rock was very slippery. It was especially tricky because other rock was fine, and it wasn't usually easy to tell which rock was which.

    We started out by slowly negotiating the massively potholed road leading to Buttermilk Falls, until it ended at a locked gate, probably at the DWGNRA boundary. We road walked the rest of the way to Buttermilk Falls, about a mile.

    Buttermilk Falls is very nice. There are stairs paralleling it and a couple of lookout platforms midway and at the top. Unfortunately, those stairs include some very slippery logs, and I made the mistake of stepping on one. I ended up going over the side. I got scratched up, but not seriously.

    After the falls the trail (Buttermilk Falls Trail) continues to go steeply up for a while, and then moderates. After either 1.4 or 2.0 miles (depending whether you believe the map and one sign or the other sign) it reaches the Appalachian Trail. The AT here follows a ridge, but with woods around, so you only get views on the occasional rock outcropping.

    The AT is very straight and flat here. We took it south first, to Crater Lake. We weren't sure which path was the official loop trail around the lake, but we found a nice lunch area by the lake right near the AT, so we just settled there.

    After lunch we turned back north. When we got back to Buttermilk Falls Trail Dick headed down, and Mandy, Jim and I continued north to Rattlesnake Mountain. The AT after a while drops down to a drainage and back up to the mountain. It's more like a typical woods trail here. Rattlesnake Mountain had some nice views. I also liked the pitch pine / exposed rock areas we kept coming across.

    After Rattlesnake Mountain we headed back south on the AT, down Buttermilk Falls Trail, and back down the road. A few minutes after we started driving back to Penna. the sky opened up and dropped a deluge. We felt sorry for the hikers still out on the trail.

    Sunday: Mt. Tammany

    Sunday was very different from Saturday. It was winter again. In fact, we saw some snow flurries.

    The Delaware River crosses the ridge we were on Saturday further south at the Delaware Water Gap. That's where Rte. I80 and the AT both cross the river. There's a mountain on each side of the gap, Mt. Minsi on the Penna. side, and Mt. Tammany on the N.J. side. We climbed Mt. Tammany. We did it as a loop, following the Mt. Tammany trail CCW, which means it was steeper and with better views of Minsi and the river going up.

    There were lots of people on the trail Sunday, many of which were running.

    The trail doesn't actually go over the true summit of Tammany, but it gets to the southern edge of the summit ridge, where there are great views of Mt. Minsi, the Delaware, and lots of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

    The way back ends up going short distances on the Dunnfield Trail and the Appalachian Trail. This part goes along Dunnfield Creek, which is a very pretty area.

    Much thanks to Mandy for hosting us at her cabin and to Jim and Dick for joining in this adventure.

    Here are the pictures for Saturday (Buttermilk Falls area).
    Here are the pictures for Sunday (Mt. Tammany).



    NE111 in my 50s: 115/115 (67/67, 46/46, 2/2)
    NE111 in my 60s: 49/115 (38/67, 11/46, 0/2)
    NEFF: 50/50; Cat35: 39/39; WNH4K: 39/48; NEHH 84/100
    LT NB 2009

    "I don't much care where [I get to] --" said Alice, "-- so long as I get somewhere," ...
    "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."
    - Lewis Carroll