Thursday, August 14, 2014

August 2014: New York, Delaware River Hike #3: Bouchoux Trail (Jensen's Ledges)

Changing the view with my remote

The trail to Jensen's Ledges is listed on the trailguide as a difficult hike.  From the research I have found, the trail is approximately 2.6 miles with over 760 feet of elevation gain.  I am unclear if 2.68 is the mileage to the destination or if it was roundtrip.  The Bouchoux Trail is an in and out hike.  I wasn't really paying attention to mileage as we hiked, but rather on the scenery.  Of all the hikes we took in the Upper Delaware River Valley, this one was the most spectacular in my opinion.  I chose to use the small lens on the way up and the long lens on the way down.

At the trailhead, the path trended upward almost immediately.  Most of the 760 feet of elevation gain came within the first mile of the trail, so relatively speaking this was a reasonably difficult trail.  The trail followed an old road, which I believe was an old quarry road as evidenced by the wagon ruts we followed all the way up and back.  Jensen's Ledges are what remain of an old bluestone quarry.  Bluestone was a popular building material all over the Upper Delaware River Valley.

The destination of this trail are two bluestone ridges or outcroppings that overlook the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River along a significant bend.  The views were spectacular.  We hiked on an alternately rainy and humid day.

The old roadbed

Detail of the roadbed

After the first mile, the trail summited the mountain and the rest of the hike was a leisurely stroll along the ridgeline.  Before the ledges, we encountered a very beautiful waterfall.  A few of us hiked down thirty or forty yards of the waterfall for a better look and the rest of the group went on.  I was one of the few that saw the waterfall closeup.

Humble beginnings of a waterfall over bluestone

Bluestone, trees, water and moss at the fjord 

The waterfall picks up steam

This is after I hiked down about thirty yards.  I didn't hike any further
as the cliff appeared to be sheer at this point

More of the waterfall

Looking further down the canyon.  I imagine this waterfall was several hundred feet in it's entirety

Not a lot of water volume at this time of  year.  Trailguides say it's spectacular in the spring

Bluestone erosion

Cleft in the bluestone

I love reflections

Another view of the cleft in the bluestone at the brink of the falls

From the waterfall it was only a couple hundred yards to the first ledge.  This ledge had obviously been worked and quarried as there was almost no solid rock anywhere.  Instead it was all broken up into various shapes and sizes.  A few enterprising souls have made stone furniture and a few stone cairns at this point.  It was like something right out of the Flintstones.  I posed for a few pictures in my stone easy chair with my stone remote control, looking out at the beautiful view.

First view of Jensen's Ledge #1

Bluestone sculpture.  At first we thought it was a fireplace but there was no evidence of fire anywhere neat

So I believe it's just a really cool sculpture

Flintstone chair with stone remote changing the scenery

On second thought, I'll keep the scenery as is.  Hard to improve this

Cairn gigante

Beautiful view

A more traditional cairn

Bend in the river.  On the bottom left of the image is Pennsylvania

Another view of the bend in the river

Those of us who stayed to look at the waterfall caught up to the others at the second ledge.  This one didn't appear to have been quarried as the other one had.  This one was solid rock with a sheer cliff and dropoff of around 500 feet.

First view of the second ledge

What the bluestone looked like at the second ledge

Rainwater collecting in a depression in the rock, complete with tree reflections

The vista

Living on the edge.  Yeah, that's five hundred feet of nothing in front of me!

This stuff was so cool I had to photograph it twice!

Bluestone covered with organic green

As we headed back down the trail, we learned the other members of our party had missed the first ledge so we guided them to it.  While there, we explored a little more and discovered yet another little trail sculpture.

Part of the cliff face

Another trail sculpture

Last of the beautiful vistas

This may be the work of beavers!

Then I changed my lens for the way down the trail

Pretty wildflower, haven't identified it yet

I've never seen this one before either

Dead tree with living underbrush.  The circle of life


Toadstool or mushroom


More mushrooms

I loved the contrast of color here

Appears to be a penstemon of some sort

Unsure of what this one is as well.  I know the western wildflowers much better

Of all six hikes along the Upper Delaware River, I liked this one the best.  Each hike had something about it that made it special, but in terms of sheer grandeur and majesty, this hike takes it hands down.

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