Waterfalls Galore on the Delaware Water Gap NRA, NPS and Grey Towers (Gifford Pinchot Mansion), USFS

8/8/14 Friday in East Stroudsburg,PA (Timothy Lake South-TT/OW)

Made it out with our packed lunches by 9:45 am for our journey to the PEEC (Pocono Environmental Education Center). We were going to take the Tumbling Waters trail to a waterfalls but when we saw it was 3.1 miles (moderate – difficult) with only 1 waterfall, we decided to take the more relaxing hike: Two Ponds. Not much to see of the ponds, but fun bits along the way. They had a “graveyard” for common items purchased these days – showing how long it takes for these to return to the earth. At one time, after logging the place clean, loggers planted trees (Red Pine) in straight rows so they’d be more easily harvested. The rock wall was left when settlers used the walls as an enclosure for animals as well as a place to get rid of the rocks in the land. Over the years they learned this land was too shallow, rocky and acidic for crops and moved. on. This was great to just have time to let the forest soothe us.

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Onward to George W Childs Recreations Site, north of the PEEC. He purchased this land in 1892 to create a park that would restore people as only nature can. After he died his wife ran the place then deeded it to PA. It’s beautifully designed to fully enjoy the waterfalls here. We also enjoyed our picnic lunch here. These falls were a sweet delight, each in their own unique fashion. So restorative, so peaceful.

Factory Falls: lots of short falls of water.

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Fullmer Falls: split personality

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Deer Leap Falls. As John noted, the only bad thing about waterfalls is that they like to be located in canyons.

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There was a Woolen Mill here. We get to enjoy it’s remains: a foundation.

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I liked their benches too

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Next stop: Raymondskill Falls, still farther north. This was a really short walk, steep down and naturally steep up, but short! Beautiful just the same.

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One more thing. I wanted to see the interesting mansion where Gifford Pinchot (PIN choh) lived, in Milford, PA.

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Even though it’s part of the US Forest Service they offer half off for any individual that holds a Senior Pass, thus John and I both got into the guided tour for a total of $7. By this time we it was a bit late so we got the last tour, at 4 pm. We did have time to watch some old videos from the time of Pinchot before our tour. We learned that his father James made his money in wallpaper. He then retired at 44 and built Grey Towers. Thus Gifford inherited it. His brother got the other half of the property and his descendants still own it. James saw his father log his land of all its trees and the devastating effects, so he became a visionary for conservation. He saw an interest in Gifford so asked if he wanted to be a forester. Gifford had never heard the term. Only in Europe, where James made and sold his wallpaper, were there true efforts at forestry. Loving the outdoors Gifford signed on. His final schooling in forestry was in Europe. Under President Theodore Roosevelt he began the US Forest Service. Unfortunately Taft (the next President) didn’t like how he operated and fired Gifford. Fortunately the people loved his vision of caring for our resources so they could be sustained, his vision of their necessity for the common man. He fought the corruption in which the rich and powerful dominated the agenda of government. In time he became Governor of Pennsylvania for 2 terms. Among other things he had roads built throughout the state to “get the farmers out of the mud.” During FDR’s time Gifford helped suggest the CCC, which is based on his plan with building the PA roads. (PS: this is one of very few photos that show FDR’s leg braces).  His family was French and adored Napoleon, so we were treated to a statue and some literature they had of his. They were also heavy into Social Justice and the Greatest Good, so it was natural that Gifford followed in their steps. He married Cornelia (Dutch) at age 49. She was a powerful and astute suffragette. I’d say darn creative too.

As you enter the huge oak door, you see a spacious space. The painting was created by a Hudson River Valley Painter. The Fleur-de-lis are for his French family, the Rhododendrons for Pennsylvania. The next paintings are of James and his wife. Handsome couple, eh? He didn’t rob the cradle. His painting was done later than hers. The door is to the only water closet in the house. Kind of hidden because there was no door knob then, you opened they door by pushing one side so the other side would open out.

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Next was the library. Off of this room, in one of the 3 towers, was Gifford’s study. This bust is of his grandfather Amos, who spent his life fighting for people he thought were bullied by “Big Business” and government. The globe is over 100 years old! The painting was done in Europe of Gifford, his sister Antonia and his mom (still beautiful).

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The sitting room, completely redecorated by Cornelia – adding books, the marble framed fireplace, the tromp l’eol paintings and removing the dining room. She felt the best place for meals was out in the great outdoors (this was their summer home), so that’s where she built it. Note the bowl you see on the left of the fireplace.

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On to the outdoors towards the dining room. Under a wisteria cover, protecting from sun and rain, is her “finger bowl”, where the food was placed in bowls and rafts on the water. Guests were required to pass their food via those bowls, across the water, not to the person next to you. The one near the fireplace was meant for this job, but when they tried to send a 25 lb. Turkey in it, it swam for the bottom. Thus it was moved to the sitting room. Cornelia loved to use real millstones for decoration as well.

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The view now from their once treeless yard. Her landscaper said the turkey statues were $600. She balked at that price. He said he’d pay for them, they were a gift. She didn’t want charity. In the end she paid $300 for them both. We saw these steps in one of the home movies, when Cornelia was taking Gifford Jr (their only child) down them.

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We got home to find a box had been delivered. Our Minnetonka Moccasins! I’d just ordered them from Amazon yesterday. I’m impressed. Hard to find them with leather bottoms, like these.

Hearing a badminton game happening just next to us in the empty site, I just felt like leaving. Apparently the people on the site beyond that think they have rights to set up their net and all in an empty site. Hmm, so what if someone wanted that site? They were kind as I left our rig, but when I returned (John was watching Jeopardy) I just stopped at the neighbors on our other side to ask about their Beaver (RV). We got into a great conversation then John came over to join us. Soon their daughter and son-in-law arrived with a tent to set up on their site. Thus we felt it was time to vamoose to our own rig for the rest of “Les Miserables”. Great show. Great ending to a soothing day. As for the badminton, it was after 6 pm when they set it up and they took it down before dark. You can’t grumble over a little fun.


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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4 Responses to Waterfalls Galore on the Delaware Water Gap NRA, NPS and Grey Towers (Gifford Pinchot Mansion), USFS

  1. sv92 says:

    I love your pictures, the quality is great. What type of camera do you use?

    • tjelser says:

      I have a Canon Power Shot. Non removable lens but it has a great range: 24mm to 850mm (35X optical). That’s what I enjoy most about it.

      • sv92 says:

        No way! I would’ve bet money you used a DSLR. That’s super cool. Thanks!

      • tjelser says:

        My apologies, I didn’t give you the whole description: Canon PowerShot SX40HS. I believe it is a DSLR. Someone told me it’s a “bridge camera” because the lens isn’t removable. I had an SLR (film), but found I rarely would change the lens. The moment would have passed before I could get it changed. So I’ve been really happy with the capabilities of this lens and camera.

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