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Day 20: Cruising the Water Gap

32.5 miles

milbrook village

Milbrook Village

I’ll admit that I was a little nervous that we would be visited at our campsite by the bear, but all was quiet last night. We set out early today and rode through a fair bit of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The Delaware River has cut a deep pass through the mountains of northern Jersey and Pennsylvania and the park spans about 40 miles of the river. Although it was hilly, the roads were quiet and it felt like we had the park to ourselves for most of the day. We traveled on Old Mine Road, which runs the length of the park on the Jersey side. We stopped briefly in Milbrook Village, which is a 19th century village typical of the small hamlets that dotted this part of the county in the 1800s. We also biked through Peters Valley, which is another small village that now serves as a center promoting American Crafts. Unfortunately the shop was closed, but there was some cool sculpture nearby. I’d love to go back and explore this area some more:  there is lots of beautiful scenery and plenty of early American history. It looks like a terrific place to hike as well.

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Day 19: End of Poconos Detour

45 miles

This morning we said goodbye to Susan and Peter, again.  We rode our bikes away from their house, again.  The difference this time is that we were in the Pocono Mountains instead of New Hope and also, we had no bags on our bikes!  Not to worry, it was only a temporary respite.  Since we had a steep uphill at the start to get back to the highway, Susan very generously offered to drive our bags in her car up to the local grocery store.  We needed to stop for a few food items anyway, so it was a welcome opportunity to ride our bikes without heavy gear, for a few miles at least.

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Pocono ferns

Day 18: Last Day in the Poconos

0 miles

Alan in the Boulder Field

Alan emerges from the rocks

Today was our last day in the Poconos. While Peter and Joe played golf, and the girls all went shopping at the outlets, Alan and I stayed home to relax and do some final prep for traveling tomorrow. Once everyone got back to the ski place after lunch, we all piled into the cars for a trip over to Hickory Run State Park and a visit to the Boulder Field. The Boulder Field is just that, a huge barren boulder field in the middle of the forest. It was created during the last glacial period about 20,000 years ago. It’s quite a sight, and you can read more about it here. Our whole group had fun hopping around on the boulders and goofing off in the depressions that people have carved out by moving the rocks around. Apparently the boulders are over 12 feet deep. The Boulder Field is really an amazing place and I loved seeing it.

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Day 17: 4th of July

0 miles

Red Eft

Red Eft

We started our first rest day in the Poconos with a short walk over to the ski hill near Susan and Peter’s house.  We saw some cool red newts along our route.  Apparently they are called “red efts” and they are the juvenile life stage of the eastern newt.  Colorful little things!  After that I took a short soak in the hot tub at the house since my right shoulder has been hurting since yesterday.

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Hot and sweaty day!

Day 16: Tannersville to the Ski Place

24.26 miles

Hot, sweaty day

Hot, sweaty day

We were expecting another hot and sweltering day of riding, so Alan and I decided to get up early and start riding by 7:45 am (which is pretty early by our standards, lately). We knew we would have a big climb to get up onto the Pocono Plateau and we both felt that the sooner we could get it done, the happier we would be. But it didn’t take long to become completely drenched in sweat this morning. For a while, it looked like Alan had ridden through a sprinkler.

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Tiger Lillies along the Delaware River

Day 15: Feelin’ Hot, Hot, Hot

23 miles

Tiger Lillies along the Delaware River

Tiger Lillies along the Delaware River

Whew, was it hot in our tent last night!  We folded the rainfly back halfway to maximize airflow, but it didn’t help much since there wasn’t much of a breeze.  When it did cool off a little in the morning,  I just crawled inside my thin sleeping bag liner and never used my sleeping bag at all.

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Confluence of the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers

Day 14: Easton to Driftstone Campground

22.98 miles

Confluence of Lehigh and Delaware Rivers

Confluence of Lehigh and Delaware Rivers at Easton

We started a little late this morning because we spent some time reevaluating our travel route to the Pocono Mountains. One route we considered would take us there through the town of Jim Thorpe, PA and use canal towpath and rail-trails for much of the way. Sounds great, right? It would have been, I’m sure, but we had a hard time figuring out options for accommodations for the three days that it will take us to get to the Poconos. The east coast is experiencing a bit of a heat wave, so we’re planning shorter mileage-days to help us cope with the heat. We’ve elected to stay on the ACA route along the Delaware River up to the Delaware Water Gap and then head west over to East Stroudsburg and on up to the Poconos. This gives us plenty of options for camping and hotels before we get to Susan and Peter’s house.

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