The International Writers Magazine
:US Travel

Bushkill Falls
Ari Kaufman

Escape New York City and head west on Interstate 80 and within 20 miles or so, you would hardly recognize the terrain. Behind you are the skyscrapers and industrial wastelands of the Bronx and Essex County New Jersey, and, at least in the fall, you are surrounded by incandescent colors and stupefying scenery, even alongside a national interstate. On a brisk, late October day, my buddy Ryan and I did just this.

An hour and a half later (after emerging from the massive tolls and traffic of the Cross Bronx Expressway and the George Washington Bridge), we found our way along to US highway 46 all the way to the Delaware Water Gap. The "gap" is not named for the river emanating from our first state, and this pertinent portion actually separates two other states: Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

A few short hikes up diminutive hills and alongside the roaring river in extreme Western New Jersey, with the Independence State only a Tiger Woods sand wedge away, Ryan and I determined we had engulfed a good deal of the foliage and splendor of this hidden region just south of the Poconos.  So, being a consistent visitor to this region - that inspired "Dirty Dancing" - when he was a youth, Ryan suggested an extra 25-mile journey north into the Poconos, to a place named Bushkill Falls. The weather was still holding up at about 52 degrees and cloudy, thus we pushed on.

Bushkill Falls is on Broad Street (PA route 611), the same road that 100 miles to the south deposits drivers in the in the city center of Philadelphia and eventually at the sports complex just south of the city. It has a $9 admission fee, and on a damp mid 50s windy late afternoon, Ryan and I mused about not partaking. However, with the advice of his dad who had been, we decided to eschew our hesitation and entered.
We were not disappointed. Bushkill falls was majestic. My most recent traipse thru a "falls" area was at High Gorge Falls near Lake Placid, New York back in July. That was pretty impressive, but Bushkill is more than just falls.

There were four trails, and although we never quite made heads nor tails of the route of any, we traversed bridges, rocks, woods and eventually forded fjords deep into the woods away from the water.
After getting completely lost (one of the many perks of being off the beaten path) we hiked up desolate trails, found random steps, discussed college basketball alongside babbling brooks, and I drank fresh water from the docile streams.

Being from Southern California, this type of georgrpahy is still somewhat foreign to my viewing pleasure, at least on a consistent basis. I have taken day or extended sojourns to many similar areas, but having now lived through the fall of foliage in New York, DC and beyond, I am more awe-inspired every day. Doubtlessly, you can't compare the great canyons, mountains and deserts of Eastern Cailfornia, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, to the tranquil, melancholy, old-fashioned appeal of the northeast, but who says I can't have my cake and eat it too?
© Ari J. Kaufman November 2005 (Politics) (Sports, Travel)
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