Sunday, August 29, 2010

19 July 2010 Rain & Franklin & Rain & Delaware Water Gap & Rain

It was a rough start to the day with grey skies followed by pouring rain.

We started our day's fun with a return visit to the Franklin Mineral Museum. The displays are still incredible.

Last year we didn't go to the tailings piles to hunt for rocks. This year we fixed that. :-) Yep, you've gotta be a geek to enjoy crawling through the rocks in 90 degree sunshine.

Mineral Nirvana...

After you gather your rocks you can walk back up the hill to a shed where you can put your collection under light to see how well you've chosen. Okay, we needed a bit of practice. No problem though since you just place your minerals into an empty 5-gallon pail and return them to the pile.

Then you get to hunt for more.

We got much better the second time.

After our adventures at the Franklin Mineral Museum, we made our way to the Tilman Ravine Natural Area in Stokes State Forest. This is a truly special area. We were able to find one cache in the area, but were thwarted on our second hunt by an art class near ground zero. I think one of the art class attendees was sitting at ground zero. When an area is this beautiful, coming back for a dnf is easy.

By the time we got near Delaware Water Gap, the sky was threatening more rain. Sometimes you get to a parking area for a cache and ask why was it rated the way it was. This was one of those caches. It was less than 0.2 miles from parking to the cache and appeared to be a gentle trail. After walking for a bit and realizing the 0.2 mile distance was really more like a half-mile each way, we got a glimpse of the rock face below and realized this cache would earn its 3 1/2 terrain. I just hoped we would get off the face before the big rain came.

I spent the week eating raspberries and blueberries. This trail had both. There was an unlimited amount for raspberries along the trail until we reached the rock face. Once we were near the cache site, we found lots of ripe blueberries. We ate as long as we could trying to leave time to find the cache and scurry away before the rain. On the way down I was tracing my steps and eating even more berries. While Ali was quite a bit ahead of me, I stopped for even more red raspberries. While eating berries, I heard a rustle of vegetation just ahead of me and to my right. The rustle of the vegetation was followed by a grunt from a bear. The bear's second grunt sent me racing toward the geo-mobile and yelling ahead to Ali to get in the truck. I guess I ran fast enough.

Our next cache hunt was for an April 2001 hide. We had a great trip for finding heritage caches. This one didn't really deliver on what we had expected. It's in a great area but didn't really do much other than take you up the trail and bring you back down. The earlier rain left a lot of salamanders on the trail including the one below walking on ferns.

The older cache did serve to bring us to a really interesting historical area. As far back as 1934, the Army Corps proposed building a hydro-electric dam on the Delaware River. The dam was to be built at Tocks Island on 70,000 acres of land. In 1965, President Johnson authorized the building of what would have been the largest dam east of the Mississippi and the corps began buying land and displacing farmers. Conservation finally won out and the Delaware Water Gap became the amazing park it is today. The pictures below are from the coring trials that were run by the army corps. The cores were dragged into the woods and left alongside an old road. It was an amazing sight.

We were done for the day and wanted to walk along the river for a bit. We had just started walking when the skies opened again with another bout of rain. Despite the returning rain, it was still a grand day.

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