Monday, October 25, 2010
Plants of Mt. Tammany
I've long wanted my kids to know the pleasure of climbing a mountain. What is life after all, but a long and challenging hike towards a view of the infinite? So news of a substantial mountain only an hour and a half away, combined with the promise of fall colors, prompted me to pull my family out of its weekend routine for an autumn jaunt.
First plants to catch my eye were the witch hazels, blooming incongruously in late October, their flowers mixing with the yellow of the leaves.
A note about the trails. The trailhead for the "Red Dot" trail is accessed from I-80 as it heads into the Delaware Water Gap. There are two parking lots several hundred feet apart, the second of which has very basic facilities. Most people take the "Red Dot" trail up and down, but the "Blue" trail, which is a bit longer but gentler in slope, is a great way to hike down the mountain. It's easier on the knees, escapes the traffic noise rising from the Gap, and passes through the savanna woodland at the top and a gorgeous valley of waterfalls down near the bottom.