Discovering Delaware Water Gap:
A Field Book for Young Naturalists
NPS Logo

As you soar over Kittatiny Mountain, far beneath you on the rocky summit a tiny figure jumps and shouts, "Hey, everybody, there's a bald eagle!"

Immediately, sixty binoculars turn upward to catch a glimpse of you—America's rarely seen national bird—as you float easily on the rising air currents with your 2-meter wingspan. The hawkwatch observers can see your white head and tail, your curved yellow beak, and your dark chocolate body. Enjoying your wild freedom, you glide by them unconcerned.

Kittatiny Mountain, a prominent ridge of the Appalachian range, is your migration route southward each autumn. Other birds of prey, especially broad-winged hawks and red-tailed hawks, also follow this route, riding the strong updraft air currents and scarcely ever needing to flap their wings.

Below you, in eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey, lies Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, a 28,000-hectare swath of long ridges and valleys stretching north and south along the scenic Delaware River. The river flows between fields and woodlands, passing rural towns and beaches and picnic facilities. Autumn foliage paints brilliant red and yellow and orange across the land below. It is quiet. With your keen eyes you can make out hundreds of humans below you, swimming, canoeing, boating, hiking, fishing, hunting, painting, bicycling, and exploring the natural communities of plants and animals.

Beyond sight of the hawkwatch observers, you pass over the famous Delaware Water Gap. Here the river cuts a huge slice through Kittatiny Mountain. High cliffs break forth from heavily forested hillsides and, jutting upward at a sharp angle, flank the river on both sides. The river itself is a blue-green ribbon as it slips through the water gap and continues on its way southeastward to the sea.

<<< Previous
Next >>>

Last Updated: 30-Apr-2010