What began as a simple question from Dad on Friday—”Are you walking tomorrow morning?”—turned into one of the strangest and most fun days we’ve had in a long time. I expected that we would walk to see Dolly the donkey and possibly the Whites, or if we were feeling ambitious perhaps walk around Lake Scranton, maybe even twice. But Rich began poking around online and suggested Bruce Lake. And it only took him a few minutes more to discover Der Jaeger and to determine that we must go there. As soon as I saw the menu on their website, I was hooked. I had to try this place!
But first, we had to earn our “beer & brats” (or whatever we would end up eating) with some exercise. The Bruce Lake area, part of the Delaware State Forest, has a lot going for it. Many trails of different lengths and characters cross the area and blend with the trail system at nearby Promised Land State Park to the south. A peat bog is gradually encroaching on Egypt Meadow Lake, providing perfect habitat for carnivorous plants such as sundews, pitcher plants and bladderwort. In winter, the area is great for skiing and snowshoeing, too.
Our goal for this Saturday morning was simply to walk the wide, relatively level woods road from Route 390 eastward to Bruce Lake and back, passing by Panther Swamp and Egypt Meadow Lake on the way. And that’s what we did! It was a relaxing, quiet and peaceful walk on a beautiful spring day. Even the snakes were out, sunning themselves on the bridge over Egypt Meadow Lake. Although we didn’t have a good way to make a loop out of it, an out-and-back was just fine for a leisurely day like today.
So while we probably didn’t get a whole lot of exercise, we still worked up an appetite. We drove to Der Jaeger, with no real idea what we were in for!
Picture walking into your grandma’s attic (a very clean attic, that is), haphazardly arranging a few tables, and pulling over some heavy high backed upholstered chairs to sit amongst all the antiquey things, whilst steaming hot European goodies magically appear before your eyes (after, admittedly, a bit of a wait). Hostess/chef/owner Sylvana was rushing about, all sound and fury (but with a smile and laugh!) and just kept producing the goodies while chatting with the guests. Her husband Janusz was bopping in and out, carrying plates of sausages to and from the outdoor grill, making funny comments with raised eyebrows like “of course we have beer.”
The beer and brats were as good as always after a hike (maybe better since they were, you know, cooked by actual Germans), but the real standout was the dessert, Kaiserschmarrn, that Sylvana concocted on a whim. Without much prepared for dessert she offered a few ideas off the top of her head, and this one sounded interesting—little did I know I was going to receive a pillowy cake—like a sweet souffle in pancake form—blanketed with warm mixed berries and fresh whipped heavy cream. She kept asking if it was OK because she’d never made it before, only seen her mother make it. I told her then and later in an email that it was one of the best desserts I’d ever had!
The cozy, comfortable weirdness that is Der Jaeger could not be matched by Lakeville Supply across the highway. That place was just plain weird. While we waited for our food, Dad was intrigued by their signs advertising everything from fencing to bird seed to sheds, so after our meal we checked it out. They certainly do have a little of everything … from Amish-made furniture to moose napkin holders to baking powder, in a big open room. Rich barely touched a wooden woodpecker-shaped birdhouse and it came crashing down from the ceiling (fortunately it didn’t break). The guy working there was really glad to see us leave, even if we were his only customers all week!
Dad expected that we had a tri-station in our sights for the ride home, and he was right. This time it was URBAN, one I had initially noticed a few years ago on our NGS maps of geodetic triangulation. It’s just a few feet off the highway (Route 191), so we weren’t expecting to find much, but the station and RM 2 (and, to our surprise, the original witness post) are intact. There was no sign of RM 1. The azimuth mark was noted as destroyed in the official recovery from 1974.
It wasn’t until we got home that I realized we’d been very close to TT 11 J, a USGS traverse station disk that might, like others in the “J” series, be made of golden Aich’s metal. It doesn’t appear on the old topo maps, but I suspect it’s near the intersection of Goose Pond Road and Old Goose Pond Road, at approximately N 41.406694°, W75.262431°. We’ll build another trip around that search and, I’m sure, another visit to Der Jaeger.