Monday, October 26, 2015

Musconetcong River Gorge Nature Trail and Dinner at The Ship Inn, Milford, New Jersey

For three years or so, I've meant to hike in the Musconetcong River Gorge. We had little time after I got off work, and then after my son got off his job an hour later this afternoon, but we rounded out more than a mile of walking and a 200-foot vertical ascent on the way back, most of that at the end of the walk, which we paced steadily, allowing us to breathe deeply, rhythmically, and really know we made effort. That's a feeling I would never want to pass through life without. I reminded my wife, Trish, of her ambition to hike Mt. Tammany at the Delaware Watergap.

"Tammany is a 1200-foot vertical ascent in about a mile flat. That's climbing like we just did for another thousand feet, and in some places, a lot steeper," I said.

My son and I have done it many times, and made more ambitious ascents elsewhere. It's good to be reminded. And Trish was not dissuaded, though I didn't mean to say she couldn't do it--just sort of try to strike a balance on the issue. And on the contrary of any suggestion that she can't, she pointed out that she would have summited in 1993, had "a real hiker" taken her.

You know what it's like when your eye narrows at the corner.

"You brought no water along and didn't give me proper boots," she said.

It was 92 degrees out that afternoon...I knew with a sinking feeling she has a real point.

The Gorge descends further down to the river itself, although I don't know of trails, and we didn't have time to investigate. But the factory or mill down by the river as you approach the park on County Road 519 is really cool-looking, at least to us, and I'd like to see if I can get some photos some day.

The 30-foot Warren Glen Dam just below the CR 519 bridge is an obstruction which, once political will breaks it, will open the river to a flourishing ecology and more holdover and wild trout, although the immediate sections here aren't stocked. Surely some holdovers work there way down.

We planned to meet Matt's Grandpa in Milford at the Ship Inn. As it turned out, we had plenty time to cross the Delaware River and check out Upper Black Eddy, and then park and linger around the Inn for a few photos while waiting. The ride down CR 519 had been like nothing.

As it turned out, after five or 10 minutes, my Dad had been waiting inside, sipping a Coke. The Ship Inn has a black-painted, patterned interior tin roof, and a rustic ambiance nice to settle into for a couple of hours of conversation. The beer on tap is brewed on the premises. Mine was full-bodied, yet mellow, a nice example of New Jersey's first brew pub, modeled on the English idea, although my beer wasn't room temperature and just as well. I had been eager for that beer. The burger was good too, and the desert some of the richest chocolate I've tasted in a long while.

Gotta watch that weight!

But here's a link to yet another excellent restaurant in Milford reviewed:

 Last big toad we'll see this year (we saw a little one further along).
 Antiques to the left and the sort of slide-out of a ridge beyond.
 Nice antique shop.
 Way back in 1978--I was 17--I drove up an hour from Lawrence to fish the Hakiokake Creek, beginning on the other side of the bridge I stood on to snap this photo, and I continued upward to fish the pool to the right in the photo and beyond into the brush and trees, long before the Ship Inn became established, but long after the Victorian era of its origin. I caught 30-some rainbow trout that spring day, and never encountered another angler.
The Ship Inn

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