Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Quick Catch at the Zoo

At the AT&T Zoo just before 5:00, getting just a little preoccupied with photography, flippin' an egg into the current under the exit bridge a couple of minutes later, I hooked my first quickly. I spent more than three minutes with my Go Pro mounted on my extension bar and placed underwater and half-in, half-out, taking that long to make sure some footage works as still shots.

Then I got into what turned out to be an onerous process--feels real good now--of missing at least 50 hits. I caught 13 in the hour-and-a-half I fished, losing another almost at my feet, losing a few others during the fight, all of them coming on one-pound test Suffix. A couple of them measured nearly 13 inches, these fish really running long and hard on the microlight.

That current right at the downstream edge of the bridge is especially difficult to drift when water is high and moving as it did today. Color was OK. Not clear, but not dingy, either. But the flow made getting a direct pull impossible, though I picked up the line quickly enough on these 13 fish. I let the trout take eggs a couple of seconds before setting, but obviously this didn't work too well, though it did work better than pulling back immediately.

I emptied a  large jar of Atlas Mike's King. (I think it's possible I bought the last large jars of salmon eggs available in the nation, at Walmart, Morris Plains, in December last year or January. I cleaned them out of large jars.) Then I got started on Shrimp. I was going to stay around until I reached a total of 15, but I inadvertently snapped off my rig, and then I found tying on a new little snap with that thin line so aggravating, that I decided it was wise to bow out before I felt any worse. Doesn't seem I would have felt that way now, but getting home early to get started on other stuff hasn't let me down. My hand-to-eye coordination has gone so far south with age--they told me 15 years ago I need tri-focal lenses, but I use only reading glasses on occasion--that it is the revenge of my brother David. I pitied him while I was growing up. He does use glasses. His frustrations with tying knots. I was reminded of Winston Churchill--"Never, never, never, never give in." Then, I kept trying, but when a wisp of wisdom visited me, whispering that I can let it go and it will be OK, I listened instead to this.

Eating some trout at present. Cooked them well before darkness fell, thinking I could have caught 25 or 30, maybe more, had I stayed. Definitely would have caught more, had I got the hook into them more often.

Have music playing on my laptop. "Haitian Divorce," Steely Dan. Segued into it from a number of old Motown selections: "Family Affair," "Diamond in the Back," Boz Scaggs' "Lowdown" tossed in, "Who's that Lady," and "What's Going On." Makes Chris Hayes on TV interesting.

Donald Fagan just drips with sentimentality. So much for the tearful reunion. I'm going back to Motown.

…Though you may not drive, a great big Cadillac.

"Summer Kick Off" for Delaware Watergap

Funny how the "Summer Kick Off" makes Delaware Watergap National Recreation Area seem a madhouse of busy visitors to me, but I know its 70,000 acres are plenty to accommodate. That might not seem like many acres, given the amount of total space up there in Warren and Sussex, but the park stretches far north of the gap itself, and despite the fact that numbers of visitors over the course of a summer are very high, when I go, I always find solitude in forested space.

Me, my wife, and son used to go up there every Memorial Day weekend, and I miss these escapades now curtailed by a busy shift schedule.

Release Date:  May 20, 2019

Contact:  Kathleen Sandt, Public Affairs Specialist,; (570) 426-2472

Park Prepares for Summer Visitors

Bushkill, PA:  Employees at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area have been busy gearing up and getting facilities ready for a busy summer season.  The 70,000-acre national park unit is located in PA and NJ and is one of the top 25 most-visited national park units in the country with 3.2 million visits recorded in 2018.  

“This summer, our visitors will likely see more of our staff stationed at busy sites throughout the park where we can better serve the public’s needs.  We’re going where the people are and where we can be of most assistance. ” said Superintendent Sula Jacobs of the park’s summer plans.  “We’ve been planning ahead and getting the park ready to welcome our visitors and offer them a wonderful national park visit,” she added.  “But for the best trips, we recommend that visitors plan ahead too.”

Get information in person, online, or by phone:

  • Park Headquarters is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, except federal holidays.  Stop by or call (570) 426-2452 for assistance during business hours.
  • Dingmans Falls Visitor Center is open Fridays from 11 am to 5 pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am to 5 pm from June 15 to September 2.
  • Visit the park website at
  • Follow us on Facebook at

Take a hike: 

All trails in PA are open except the following which will remain closed until further notice due to public hazard and ongoing trail maintenance and construction work:

  • George W. Childs Park
  • Adams Creek Trail and drainage area
  • Hornbecks Creek/Indian Ladders Trail
  • Conashaugh Trail 

All trails in NJ are OPEN with the exception of the lower portion of the Van Campens Glen Trail.  The trail is open from the upper parking area to the trail bridge just downstream from the waterfall.  The remainder of the trail is closed due to hazardous conditions and trail construction work.    

Use the Pocono Pony’s Hiker Shuttle to get back and forth between the Park and Ride lot in the town of Delaware Water Gap, PA and the Kittatinny Point/Appalachian Trail/Dunnfield Creek/Lake Lenape area trails at the south end of the park.  The shuttle fee is $1 per person for a roundtrip fare and runs every 30 minutes on summer weekends.  Schedules are available at:

Cool Off In or On the River: 

  • All beaches and boat/canoe launches are open for the season.  A $10/car fee is charged 7 days a week; annual passes are available for $45. 
  • Visit the park website for a list of businesses in the area that rent canoes, kayaks, and rafts and provide transportation or bring your own. 
  • Use the free River Runner shuttle to transport your own canoes, kayaks, and gear for a day on the river. Check schedules at
  • Always wear a properly-fitted US Coast Guard-approved lifejacket when on or near the water.

Go for a Ride…or a Drive:

  • The McDade Trail in PA is a great place to ride your bike (and it’s the only trail in the park where bikes are permitted).  You can start and finish at the same place or do a one-way trip using the free River Runner shuttle to transport you and your bike on weekends.
  • Visit the park website for information on bicycle rentals in the area.
  • Take a scenic drive and enjoy the views. 
  • Visit one of our partner-operated sites (check their websites for hours and program offerings):

Pick a Place to Picnic:  All picnic areas are open except for those at George W. Childs Park and Van Campens Glen.  Check the park website for group size limits and restrictions.  Grills are not provided anywhere in the park and are only permitted at Milford Beach, Turtle Beach, Smithfield Beach, Toms Creek Picnic Area, Bushkill General Store Picnic Area,  Watergate Recreation Site, Hialeah Picnic Area, and Namanock Recreation Site.  Some areas are “carry in/carry out” so please take all of your food scraps, trash, and other waste with you when you leave so that wild animals are not attracted to these areas. 

Pitch a Tent: 

  • Valley View and Rivers Bend group campsites are available to groups of 5 or more people by reservation.  Call (570) 426-2434 or email for information or to make a reservation.
  • Alosa River Campsites are available to river users by reservation.  There are 6 individual campsites at this location. Go to  or call (877) 444-6777 to reserve your riverside campsite before you visit.  There is no vehicle access to these campsites.
  • Dingmans Campground offers tent and RV sites.   For more information or to make a reservation visit their website at Dingmans Campground or call (570) 828-1551. 
  • River camping is available to those on extended river trips in accordance with park regulations.  Designated river campsites can be found on the park website.
  • Backpacking on the Appalachian Trail is permitted in accordance with park regulations.
  • A complete list of campgrounds, river campsites, and regulations is available on the park’s website.  Make reservations well in advance as campsites and campgrounds are in high demand during the summer months.

Watch Water Fall:  Visit the tallest waterfalls in PA and NJ!  Raymondskill Falls in PA drops 165’ in three segments while Buttermilk Falls on Mountain Road in Walpack, NJ tumbles 75’ from side of Kittatinny Ridge.  Both have stairs and an observation area. The Hackers Falls Trail and the Tumbling Waters Trail at Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) are also great places to check out waterfalls.  There is no fee to visit waterfalls within the recreation area.  Visit the park website for trail maps.

Take a stroll back in time:    Visit Millbrook Village, a re-created nineteenth-century museum village where costumed rangers and volunteer guides provide tours and demonstrations of period crafts and trades.  Millbrook buildings are open on Saturdays and on the first and third Sunday of the month from 10 am to 4 pm between June 15 and September 2.   The grounds are open for self-guided tours daily during daylight hours.   Admission is free.  Special events are held throughout the year.

Learn something new:  Take a class or enroll in a workshop with one of our park partners.  Make something of your summer at Peters Valley School of Craft where you can learn blacksmithing, ceramics, fiber arts, jewelry-making, and a host of other fine arts and crafts.  Sign up for an orienteering or birdwatching program, learn how to build a fire, or attend Quilt Camp at PEEC.  Take a guided hike, learn to use a map and compass, or take a wilderness first aid course at Mohican Outdoor Center. For a complete list of classes, workshops and programs and information on dates, times and how to register, visit the individual organization’s website.    

Tips for Travelers: 

  • Travel on Tuesday… or Wednesday, or Thursday to beat the crowds.  Weekends are busy.
  • Plan ahead!  Visit the park website or call ahead to find out what you can and can’t do, where you can go, what you need to bring, and what you should leave at home. 
  • Have a Plan B… and C in case the places you wish to visit are already full when you arrive. Many popular destinations are full by 10 am on summer weekends. 
  • Know before you go!  Be aware of rules and regulations and check safety information for a fun and safe visit. 

 About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at


Kathleen Sandt

Public Affairs Specialist

National Park Service

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

(O) 570-426-2472

(C) 570-234-9144

“One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, "What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?” 

― Rachel Carson

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Hell of a Thing

It's a hell of a thing for me to have said, "I believe most of my readers take in a paragraph like the one I just wrote--thanks for reading--and it goes from one end of the brain to the other without arousal suggesting any commitment." This in the post the other day on Hopatcong.

It's probably not true. It's probably my own self-doubt. And I must "believe" that only in a bad mood. I was facing my job the next day. True or false, I read that first paragraph minutes ago, and though it does lose its power in the last sentence, otherwise it's elegant enough to feel pleasing, no matter if anyone would think it's only sentimental or not. What's the point of the big shakedown in the next paragraph?

Alright, up against the wall! Am I just an impractical idealist or what?!

How many more times a job will spoil things after a nice day seems infinite. And the barrelhouse is a state of mind I'd probably be a fool to believe I can escape, as if I'm any exception to "a circuitous habit of small concerns." I just want to be. 

Laurie's Report

Laurie Murphy:

With some nicer weather over the weekend, several nice fish made their way to our scales.  Paul Grel, while fishing at night casting lures, landed himself a 9 lb 8 oz Hybrid Striped Bass and Alex Tourinsky caught his 7 lb 3oz Hybrid on herring. Chris & Sabrina Mackin caught their walleye on herring, the 2 bigger fish weighing 6 lb 4 oz and 6 pounds. Richie King weighed in a pickerel at 4 lb 4 oz.  Brooke and Max Hughen, while fishing with their Dad, got into a school of Hybrids while trolling, their 2 largest fish weighing 7 lb 10 oz and 6 lb 6 oz. Also seeing lots of nice yellow perch, taking small herring or jigs.  The Knee Deep Club held their walleye contest this past weekend with a little over 50 entries.  First place finisher was Jack Dziduch with a 9 lb 6oz,  Al Boulais took 2nd place with a 7 lb 6 oz walleye, and 3rd place went to Eddie Mackin with a walleye weighing 5 lb 13 oz.  Gift Certificates went to Tom Sarnacki with with his 4 lb 1 oz walleye, Bill Haase with a 3 1/2 pound walleye and Mike Truglio with his walleye weighing 3 pounds. The next Knee Deep contest is being held on June 23rd , for Smallmouth & Largemouth Bass. Have a Great week !!!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

In the Center of Open Spaces

Some days remind you of larger frames, those days when you find yourself in the center of open spaces, passing through majestic sequences of ordinary hours. You're out in the open under clouds and sun, between sloping hills and trees--not behind doors, windows, and walls--so you might feel an inkling of openness to the extraordinary. If inklings of better visit you while on the job, as they do me, they're mental then, while out here reality itself assures you of a worthwhile world.

I believe most of my readers take in a paragraph like that I just wrote--thanks for reading--and it goes from one end of the brain and out the other without arousal suggesting any commitment. The problem with the world, which people have increasingly called crazy over the past decade, is that people don't shed their thick skins. They build walls of defense so the world doesn't hurt them, and then they end up out-of-touch with any world that will do them good, feeling all the worse. Petty concerns rule the hours and little light penetrates a circuitous habit of means to small ends.

I don't mean to insult you. Especially if you're not that reader, and instead you're not only in agreement with me, but manage to get past triviality. But it's a growing frustration of mine that so many affirmations I engage with the world and account for--to some degree--in this weblog, these seem to get past people as if it's sentimentality. If that's all awareness amounts to--an impractical feeling that will never amount to dollars and sense--then I'm with you. The hell with values and literature. If it amounts to nothing, as most people seem to believe, then I'll resolve to reporting nothing but the plain stupid facts.

Today was a better day than that.

Matt's away in Boston for the summer. My wife and I got word from him this afternoon. He plans on visiting in mid-June. A year ago he caught his first hybrid striper over five pounds. Today Michael Vandenberg and I went out hoping for more, and though we encountered none that big, except perhaps for one fish in Lake Hopatcong's Byram Cove that broke my somehow weakened line too quickly for me to tell what kind of fish, we caught five beautiful bass, the biggest 19 inches, the others ranging between 14 and 18 1/2 inches.

My one concern focused on Michael catching a nice one. That 18 1/2-iucher in the photo was a keeper. But as everything well-planned and well-executed goes, once the chief objective is achieved, the day opens up to greater possibilities. It doesn't matter if a finger can't be put on them. Just this day was one to be remembered, not only because we enjoyed trolling hybrids, but because after we caught some, we felt free to include our work worlds within the wider context of what really makes any of it possible.