The Gap in the Endless Mountain

Stretching across the northwest corner of New Jersey is a ridge that the Lenape people called Kittatinny – the Endless Mountain. Kittatinny is part of an Appalachian ridgeline that extends from southern New York to Virginia.

One of the few passages through the mountain is formed by the Delaware River: a feature called the Delaware Water Gap.

Delaware Water Gap

Looking West from Mount Tammany, a point named for a Lenape chief honored for his diplomacy, the observer sees Mount Minsi across the water in Pennsylvania.

The climb up is fairly steep, and on a cloudy day you can see how high a 1500 foot elevation can be.

Minsi in Clouds

This area was once home to a branch of the Lenape known as the Minsi, whose name means “People of the Stony Country.”

Today, Interstate 80, a high-speed corridor from the Hudson River to points west, travels through the Gap. Numerous hikers ascend Mount Tammany all year.

A quieter and slightly longer trip to the peak can be made by taking the Blue Dot Trail.

Dunnfield Creek

Looking south from the ridge, the old Lackawanna Cutoff rail bridge over the Delaware can be seen. Trains that crossed this bridge would have then headed through the Gap.

Delaware Viaduct View

Speaking of the Lackawanna Cutoff, an astute observer can also find the top of the Paulinskill Viaduct peeking out over the treetops.

paulinskill-viaduct-from-kittatinny

Kittatinny is a region rich in history. Today it still forms a boundary and a landmark for travelers going between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The best way to appreciate the mountain is of course by walking on it.

delaware-river-and-minsi

Notes:

Boysen, Robert L. Kittatinny Trails. New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, 2004.

Hikes at the Gap, National Park Service.
http://www.nps.gov/dewa/planyourvisit/upload/sb2Hikes.pdf

Lane, Wheaton J. From Indian Trail to Iron Horse: Travel and Transportation in New Jersey, 1620-1860. Princeton University Press, 1939. (Minsi Name, page 15).

Norwood, Joseph White. The Tammany Legend. Meador, 1938.
http://www.archive.org/stream/tammanylegendtam00norw/tammanylegendtam00norw_djvu.txt