The trip that started the blog.
I looked past my handlebars at my twins, who turned 7 on this trip, then at the rest of my family, and ahead at the other family of 6 that have been our partners in bike-camp trips for 6 years now, and I realized I had to start documenting the madness. Things are mellower now that no one is in diapers and all of the kids can bike independently. That said, they now are avid complainers at times, but the excitement of the annual bike camp trip remains.
2013 version of Papa with some of the intrepid bike-camp kids
For this bike trip, we stayed at the group camping area at Valley View at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The park exists in PA and also NJ along both sides of the Delaware River. Group campsites are excellent options for even small groups, in fact our family alone would qualify since the minimum number of campers here is 5. The trouble can be contacting the appropriate office to secure your permit, as evidenced by the facts that (1)our friends called at least 10 times before reaching the person in charge (no there is not an answering machine), (2) that our chosen site was occupied by a Boy Scout troop without a permit when we arrived, and (3) a rowdy group of twenty-somethings, equally permitless, was also on hand at Valley View.
Valley View campsite on the Delaware
I will not go on to the sordid details of the unlicensed partiers; suffice it to say that four rangers came in the morning to write numerous citations for them and escort them and their copious empty bottles out of the park. The boy scouts left quietly. Our other nights there were peaceful as we were the only occupants of the camp.
Within the DWGNRC was a bike trail of about 35 miles, and the lovely Dingman’s Falls area of the park. Nearby passes the Appalachian Trail. We decided to forgo The Niagra of Pennsylvania in favor of these free public land activities. Dingman’s Falls had a wonderful boardwalk-style path that went by two waterfalls – Dingman’s falls and the Silverthread falls. The hiking was easy; these were paths that could be traversed by wheelchair or stroller if need be. There are stairs next to Dingman’s Falls, and we did climb up several levels for different views of the falling water.
Silverthread (left) and Dingman’s Falls
We biked the bike trail, on which on which our campsite was located roughly in the middle. Southbound, the going got tough, more of mountain biking rather than the flatter, mild paths to the north. We saw bountiful wildlife – deer, rabbits, a fox, even a bear in the distance! There were several places on the bike trail with access to creeks, so we went creek walking as well. The northbound bike trail ended at a large, grassy picnic area in heavy use that weekend. I believe the northbound trail ends at Dingman’s Falls, though we didn’t make it that far.
wooded part of bike trail (left) and a creek
We also hiked about 5 miles on the AT. Much grumbling by the adolescents, maybe justified due to the difficult terrain, but the views were stunning! The hiking was rocky, often uphill, and filled with blooming mountain laurel. We accessed the trail from the town of East Stroudsburg.
View from the AT – worth the climb!
In between, we were introduced to the game of Kubb (pronounced ‘koob’), a lawn game of knocking down blocks of wood, which may or may not have originated with the ancient Vikings.
Kubb – Fiercely (2nd from right) is about to throw a baton
Papa immediately constructed our own Kubb set within hours of arriving home after this trip.