Mohican Outdoor Center & Delaware Water Gap

Breakfast in New Jersey. Lunch in Pennsylvania. Dinner back home in Connecticut. It was another busy couple of days for the Livingston Family. We visited the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Mohican Outdoor Center in Blairstown, New Jersey. This was our first time visiting Mohican, but it won’t be our last. Debbie and I are members of AMC’s board of advisors, and our biannual meeting was at Mohican, a beautiful camp in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

I’ve passed through the Water Gap in recent years, but really hadn’t been back there for outdoor recreation since I was a Boy Scout. Nearly 25 years ago, I got earned my BSA 50 Miler Afloat award on a canoe trip down the Delaware River when I was a kid. I remember that we were guided by folks from the Pack Shack, a local outfitter. This recent trip brought back fond memories of that escapade. Just thinking of the fun we had on that adventure is enough to make me smile.

So, we were back in the Water Gap with our whole family, and it was a blast. Nothing is better than going for a trail run on the Appalachian Trail before breakfast. Nothing beats a quiet canoe paddle on flat water after breakfast. Mohican is situated on beautiful Catfish Pond and borders the AT. It’s a magical place only 90 minutes from New York City and 120 minutes from Philadelphia.

This morning, Debbie and I got out for that short run, and with the exception of missing our cutoff on to the Rattlesnake Swamp Trail, we enjoyed the rocky track. Later in the day, Debbie and her mom, Barbara, took our kids on their first canoe trip. They spotted for me while I swam all over the pond. I wore my wetsuit because the water was quite cold. Our kids had a great time on their maiden voyage.

Mohican is chock full of critters. We saw a beaver, many squirrels, two deer, several centipedes, worms, geese, ducks, fish, and best of all, a bald eagle. Sticking with the Boy Scouts theme, Mohican is an old  Boy Scout camp. It was known as Camp Mohican back in the 1930’s. The AMC took over the property in 1993, and has upgraded it nicely. We stayed in one of the updated lodges, a rustic bunkhouse with a full kitchen and rooms that sleep two to four. Mohican was laid out like the classic camps I attended when I was a Scout, so that was pretty cool. It brought back good memories of my time at Lake of Isles and Camp Yawgoog.

Last night, we heard from the great leaders running AMC’s Youth Opportunities Program in New York City and Newark. YOP has been a wonderful success, training dozens of counselors and thousands of urban and at-risk youth. It was inspiring to hear about the fantastic work that these AMCers and community volunteers are doing. Our family zips off to the mountains anytime we wish, and we are careful not to take that privilege for granted. Our children are being raised with a love of the outdoors and an appreciation for nature, but YOP highlights that there are kids who have never seen the woods. What a shame. I’m so proud of AMC’s education mission.

On our way home, we briefly headed south to the Kittatinny Point Visitor Center and to see the heart of the Water Gap where the AT drops off of Mount Minsi. We were back in the van in no time and headed home for yet another trail adventure tomorrow.

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