Our friend J was given a ZIpCar membership for her birthday, so we got together yesterday to drive to Delaware Water Gap. It was a typical un-car crew from NYC: OHS had lost her out of state license; I don’t remember the last time I drove, although my license is up to date. J handled the wheel, but it had been a while for her, too: there were some sudden mid-lane shenanigans that kept us on our toes, and a trucker who’d seen Duel too many times. We took the BQE to 278 across the Verrazano ($10?!) and Staten Island to 95 north. Then 280 to 80 and smoothly towards the west. It’s less than a two-hour drive, especially on a Sunday morning; we arrived there about 9:30. It was sunny the whole way out, but when we got there clouds were thickening. It would be partially cloudy all day, with most welcome rays of sun at critical times. The trees were more colorful on the coastal plain. Most had fallen in the hills, but not all. The gap itself is loud with the traffic zooming to and from Pennsylvania on I-80, but we climbed above it all. We took what turned out to the most challenging of the trails, going up to Mount Tammany (tiger, tiger!) for the view of the Winona Cliffs on the PA side.
1527 feet, and windy, by then the sun was hitting us delightfully. What an awesome day for a hike! We meet more people coming the other way, the gentler trail, and there were a surprising number of tiny hikers, kids under 10. What troupers! One offered us grapes while we were picnicking. Props to J’s pumpkin chocolate chip bread. We went on the blue blazed trail, the green blazed, which followed Dunnfield Creek, a brook trout stream, and the Holly Springs Trail before coming back to the parking lot on the AT (Appalachian Trail). The great white blaze! About five hours total. We ran into some fellow Brooklynites J knew from the Co-op. A black and white Newfoundland dog came up to say hello to us and I said, “This is the first bear we’ve seen today. What’s his name?” “Bear,” said his people.
In some practices, one goes to the mountain for enlightenment. J revealed that the H. in Jesus H. Christ, that perennial theological puzzle of the mysterious middle name, stood for Hussein.