Roamed on 10/2012
Unnamed pond by Arrow Island trailhead
After my first experience with Braiden’s directions (see the Road to Ruins post) I was a little leery to do it again. However, the sheer amount of cool stuff that he knows meant that I was bound to take his advice again. This time, however, I made sure to get a map from him with detailed instructions. The goal: Slateford Quarry, a waterfall in an old shale quarry.
Unfortunately, this time was no more successful than last time. Actually, it was far more annoying. Only the first step in the instructions was correct “Park at the Arrow Island Overlook.” From there I was supposed to walk up the road and find an old road that would lead me easily down to the creek. Well, I hiked quite a ways, but there was definitely no road, or if there was one it had decayed beyond recognition. That alone should have set off warning bells in my head. However, the chance for seeing a waterfall in an old shale quarry drove me on.
It was rather tough going, having to rock hop down the creek. It would have been quite pleasant to go wading in the summer, but in the fall chill that wasn't an option. I had to criss-cross the stream three to four times before finally reaching the waterfall. It was definitely as amazing as advertised, Slateford Creek plunging down 40 feet into the quarry.
The tunnel through the rhododendron
Because dying a horrible death was not on the agenda for the day, I decided to find another way. The fall was just too cool to go back empty handed. Going around had its own share of difficulties. The sides of the ravine were coated with an almost impenetrable wall of rhododendrons. I had to force my way through the thicket which was not pleasant at all. Thankfully, I was able to catch a break on the way down and found a natural tunnel through the undergrowth.
I overshot the quarry and had to backtrack a bit but boy was it worth it.
The fall was quite spectacular but I thought the quarry was just as interesting. I had been to a few others in the park, but this one you could really see the drill marks in the wall. It’s hard to imagine that all of them were drilled by hand using a sledge hammer and iron bit.
After what I endured there was no way in hell I was hiking back the way I came, so I decided to follow the creek. I knew that it would eventually lead out to the road and I could walk the road back to my car.
I was shocked to find that leading out from the quarry was a really nice trail. Wide, flat and paralleling the creek it went straight to a pull off on the side of the road. It took me less then 1/3 the time to hike out as it did to go in. As I trudged up the side of the hill back to my car I silently cursed Braiden for sending me the most difficult way possible.
Directions: Head South from Delaware Water Gap on Rt. 611. Turn right onto National Park Drive. The road makes a 180 degree turn after you cross a bridge. In the middle of the turn there should be a pull off on the left that fits one or two cars. Park and follow the edge of the woods up the road (away from the bridge) until you hit the path. If you start trudging up the side of the hill you have gone too far!
My first job for the National Park Service was at Great Basin National Park. One of the things that they gave me when I first got there was a lime green government notebook. They told me that I could do whatever I wanted with the book. What I wanted was a sense of humor, so from that day forward it has been used to capture interesting quotes from park visitors. The first batch of sayings from the green book is all quotes about Great Basin NP’s wonderful cave Lehman Caves. This particular collection focuses on the youngest visitors, because as the age goes down the chances for them saying something funny go up.
Ranger: “What does this formation look like?”
Boy: “ A long, dark, orange tunnel we can’t go down.”
Ranger: “It’s made out of the mineral calcite.”
5 year old boy: “So it’s a germ?”
Ranger: “What does this look like to you?”
Boy: “A cave.”
Ranger: “The early visitors wrote here with pencil.”
Boy: “ They wrote with pretzels?”
Boy: “I know what this room’s called.”
Ranger: “What’s it called?”
Boy: “It’s called something room!”
Ranger: “People had a habit of telling tall tales back then…”
Boy: “People had tails?!”