Sunday, August 17, 2014

August 2014: New York, Delaware River Hike #6: Damascus Forest Trail

Damascus Forest Trail

The Damascus Forest Trail is just a few miles on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, very close to the town of Narrowsburg, New York.  This was the last of the six hikes we needed to get the patch from the National Park Service.

The Damascus Forest Trail is a gentle, two mile loop trail through an old growth hemlock forest.  The trailguide suggests that this section of forest, managed by the Damascus Township gives one an idea of what the forests looked like before civilization.  For my part, it was a peaceful, two mile stroll through a shady glen.

This is not a destination hike, rather it is a journey hike.  There was no single thing to look at, rather it was a beautiful walk and a perfect hike to finish up with the six.  Throughout this hike and several of the others, we encountered abandoned stone walls, presumably placed here by the early colonists who lived here.  I wondered who the people were who attempted to tame this land and how successful they were and for how long.  I wondered why they abandoned this forest.  I wondered if the walls were thrown up as skirmish lines during the Revolutionary War or if they were built later for another purpose.  All questions were left unanswered but not in an unsatisfying way.

At the trailhead there were a couple of signs and a map, then the trail was blazed with yellow so we would know the way.  One of the signs was a posting of the rules.  Pay close attention to rule #17.


Rule #17:  Only quiet hunting allowed here


This hike had a few small hills and every so often a large rock protruded from the soil, only to be attacked and subdued by lichen and moss

The forests around this area are very wet and nature immediately begins returning the dead things to the earth

The trail through the Damascus Forest

The hemlocks

Deadfalls become a new place for life to exist

The little oak leaf on the moss was cool

Large boulder

lichen medallion interposed with moss

Halfway through the hike we encountered stone walls that had obviously been in place for a very long time

More of the same

And another

Still another


Tiny ferns subduing a fallen log

It was a very peaceful forest

and coloful

So many mushrooms, so many varieties

We don't have a great deal of mushrooms in Idaho

Moss covered boulder

Moss covered tree

Tiny orange mushrooms

The trail through the hemlocks

Patterns in nature fascinate me

The tree doesn't have a chance against nature's erasers



Cricket inside the loo

The Damascus Forest at the end of the trail

This was a very serene hike.  I was glad we decided to hike it last.  I had originally wanted to start either at the top of the map or at the bottom and hit the hikes as they came.  Someone who had lived there for many years suggested we approach the hikes in a different order, which was the order we ended up following.  It was a better way to do things in retrospect.

On the way out, we passed the National Park Service headquarters for this region.  We stopped in and got our patches.  There were six of us that hit all six hikes.  None of the hikes were as strenuous as the hikes I'm used to in the west, but I don't think anyone was trying to compete.  Each of the six hikes were there for a specific reason.  It is up to each individual hiker to determine what that reason is.  The Damascus Forest ended up being one of the hikes I liked a lot, even though there wasn't any one thing that was important to see.  Sometimes a journey hike is all you need.

The patch

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