Mt. Tammany Letterbox

Finding the “Mt. Tammany Letterbox” was just one small part of this interesting late summer day. Dad and Aaron came along for the exercise, and the views, and probably the pancake breakfast as well. We began by eating a filling breakfast at Compton’s, of course. I had blueberry French toast, along with bacon and hot tea. Then we headed up the mountain. The plan was to do the “usual” route of the Red Dot Trail up Mt. Tammany, and then take the fire road past Waterboy’s Helispot geocache, go up to Sunfish Pond on the Turquoise Trail and come back down on the AT. That was fine with me. The day started out cool and incredibly humid … and the bugs!!! (Like Rich when we encounter ticks, I could still feel them crawling on me much later that night.) The views weren’t spectacular, but the fog was starting to burn off by the time we reached the main overlook. At that point, I went to search for the letterbox while dad and Aaron rested. The box was an easy find, and it was very pleasant to sit on the ledge high above the river and stamp into the notebooks. Young kids were climbing around on the rocks below us, but they weren’t annoying or too loud.

While we were hiking on the fire road past Helispot, the sky got very dark and rain felt imminent. There were some sprinkles while we walked on the Turquoise Trail, but then the sun came out again. By the time we reached Sunfish Pond, it was very warm. I was able to talk Dad and Aaron into taking the Dunnfield Creek Trail back to the parking lot; I was curious what it was like since I’d never hiked the entire trail before. Well, let’s just say it’ll be many years before I live this down. The trail is long, steep, extremely rocky, and involves several stream crossings (if you recall, Aaron despises those). [I thought it was great.] Anyway, we reached the first crossing and it didn’t pose much of a problem. There were some boulders to cross on and their top surfaces were all above the level of the water. But then we came to a sign that indicated there were two stream crossings ahead, and that there was a detour on a higher level to take when the creek is high. We didn’t know just what they meant by “high” so we tried the lower trail with the crossings. We ended up taking off our boots and wading through both times (along with a French-Canadian family who happened to be there at the same time). It felt great to me – my feet were hot anyway – but the guys didn’t love it so much. And while at the second crossing, it began to pour. We were soaked within about 15 seconds, and it really didn’t let up at all until we reached the AT near the parking lot. We had a few dry moments, and then not only did the pouring rain return, but thunder and lightning were right overhead, as well. We weren’t far from the car, though. Dad had been interested in seeing the cave, but not in the pouring rain. It’s too bad we didn’t go beforehand as I’d hoped to, but then we would’ve been out later on the trail and would’ve gotten even wetter.

For dinner, we went to the Barley Creek pub that Rich and I (and Dave, once) went to after our rides a few times. I didn’t realize how hungry I was till I started eating. I had Jalapeno Poppers, some Lava Fries (really too hot for me), the Fish and Chips, and, for dessert, the Key Lime Pie I’d been mooning over all summer but had never tried. And I had the barley wine that I really like. It rained most of the way home!

Dad and Aaron stand in the Dunnfield Creek parking area, ready for adventure!

Looking south along the Delaware, toward Arrow Island.

Zhanna and Aaron high above Interstate 80, and loving it.

Looking across the Gap at Mt. Minsi. (There’s a letterbox on that mountain, too.)

Aaron looks to greater heights while Dad appears to be in pain.

A simple letterbox, in excellent condition. There was a nicely carved DWGNRA stamp to add to my notebook.

Dad rests on the ledge near the summit, looking out over the river and the highways.

It’s been an extremely wet summer and fall, just perfect for mushrooms. We saw plenty on our hike.

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