Cowaw by Snake Hunter
The raucous bus ride to camp always included a lunch stop at Hot Dog Johnnys in Buttzville (hee hee). Great hot dogs with unique condiments, always hot and crispy fries, and of course Birch Beer in a frozen mug. A roadside classic, Johnnys is located on a beautiful stretch of Route 46 just before you hit the Delaware Water Gap. It was sited alongside a clear and fast moving trout stream, with deep looking woods on the far bank. For many of us this was our first experience with real woods, mountains and animals. Back home our trips were limited to going down the shore. If we went anywhere at all with our parents, it would be the beach. Never the woods or mountains. Flatlanders. Coastal creatures.
Camp Cowaw was our districtís summer camp just north of the Gap. To get there one must drive directly through the dramatic and rocky Delaware Water Gap. As we rode through we were instructed to look up at the cliffs on the northern ridge. There you would hopefully see, for just a second, a big Indian Head peering off the top of the cliffs. Not everyone saw it and Iím only partially sure that I have seen it, as the sighting is fleeting and almost apparition like. An Indian spirit welcome? You would then turn off at the last exit in NJ, off the truck jammed, noisy, Route 80 and onto the quiet and serene, Old Mine Road. Suddenly youíre in a shady wilderness. As you ride along you see that you are paralleling the Delaware river as you head north on this old road. A scout leader mentions that this road is one of the oldest trails in North America, owing to its natural and convenient connection to the river. This route was used by the local tribes long before the Europeans came around and started naming everything. During those last few miles before arriving at camp, you rode past steep, fern covered rock walls that had small streams and little waterfalls trickling down the sides. Everything was lush and green . At times the forest would form a canopy so thick over the road that the trees would touch the bus and leaves would poke through the open windows as we went past. Real woods for the first time. Looked like a great place for a snake hunter.
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