Leaf Peeping in the Poconos
I was determined to get some good “East Coast” shots on this web site and I figured what better time to do it than during peak leaf-turning season? I consulted the Internet, asked a couple of motorcycle friends and made a rough plan. Here’s what I found.
October 14, 2009
New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York
I started by heading northwest to Pennsylvania. New Jersey has some nice colors, but I really wanted to get to the Poconos, where I knew that I would find lots of turning trees (as well as new sights). I was excited to find “Dingmans Ferry” on my route, as I had heard the name years ago while working in the Poconos and it always fascinated me. And now, the chance to go over the ferry was truly a bonus I hadn’t counted on! And a good thing, too, as the ferry was replaced by a bridge over 180 years ago. So instead, I paid $1 to go over one of the last privately-owned bridges in the country. And while the original bridge was replaced numerous times over the years, this was the oldest version, standing for over 100 years.
After crossing the bridge I made my way west, following what I hoped was the route I had scoped out from home, when a waterfall caught my eye. There was a wide spot in the road and a small park to the side. “No Parking” signs were everywhere, so I just rode the KLR around the gate and down the access road to the nearest picnic table. It was the middle of the day in the middle of the week in the middle of October; who would be around to notice? Apparently a lot of people. I felt guilty as numerous hikers and picnicers wandered by my bike while I took photos. Whoops. Only when I left did I see the main entrance further up the road. Next time I’ll park where I’m supposed to.
Dingmans Ferry Bridge – got that?
Meanwhile, the park, called “Childs Park“, named for George W. Childs, was very beautiful. There were the remains of a wool mill, abandoned over 150 years ago, picnic tables and what looked to be numerous trails. And also one doe, who proved to know exactly where to stand in order to not be properly photographed.
Childs Park – 1892
I didn’t block it – I rode around it
Wool mill, circa 1832
One of three falls in Childs Park
Picnickers below the falls
A shy doe
After meandering around the park I got back on the bike to continue west. I still wasn’t sure where I was going, but it looked like I couldn’t go wrong with the roads I saw. Fortunately I had scouted ahead a bit and recognized a side road that wasn’t on my map – Snow Hill Rd. I cut over onto it and found myself on a lovely unlined road through the middle of nowhere. There wasn’t much for “vast vistas of color”, but the trees surrounding me gave plenty of variety to look at.
Snow Hill Road
Bushkill Creek bridge
Bracken, rocks and logs – how do the deer not break their legs?
Coming down Snow Hill Rd
I came out on the other side of the Delaware State Forest and headed north to Promise Land State Park. I was nearing I-84, which was the edge of my map. I didn’t want to cross it just yet, dreading leaving behind the natural beauty I had found myself in the midst of. So I poked around on my GPS and found a short detour. The detour intersected with a dirt road and I made a note of where I was so that I could come back and explore it. But then I figured “why wait?” and poked around some more on the GPS to find out where it went. Much to my pleasure, it was the perfect alternative to the interstate.
Token shot of the bike
Promise Land State Park
Old Greentown Rd
Ah – end of the pavement
On the way to Greentown
Beautiful back roads
Once at the end of Old Greentown Rd, I bit the bullet and headed north. It looked like I could find some interesting roads up that way and I was right. After reaching the town of Hawley, I looped east and went through Kimbel, following what I think is the Wallenpaupack River. Even if it’s not, it’s a fun word. And then I reached New York state.
On the road near Kimbel, PA
After a quick bite to eat in Barryville, NY, I continued east, this time on #97. The map showed me that the road would follow the banks of a river, but I didn’t realize that the river would be so big, nor that the road would rise and fall so dramatically. At one point I stopped for a “vista view” photo and realized that I must be on the famous (to motorcyclists) “Hawks Nest” – a somewhat twisty road that hugs the mountainside high above the river below. It was a beautiful thing to behold.
Looking down on the Lackawaxen River
Another view of the Lackawaxen
“Hawks Nest” – mind the center line
Ah – all clear and ready to ride
Now it was time to get home. I made it as interesting as possible, considering my lack of knowledge of the “local roads”. Traffic started to thicken up as I neared some larger towns, but it was never bad and once I got onto I-80, things just sped along. To top off my perfect day, Dan was home early from work and waiting to greet me when I got home.
Coming through High Point/Stokes State Park in New Jersey
An hour from home