The road from Columbus, NJ to our camp, paralleling the Delaware River, consisted of only two ruts, in very bad shape. One side had a complete drop off, while the other side faced the mountain for the first 5 miles or so. It was approximately eight miles. The last three miles was much better, level and wider, with more area between the mountain and river.
So, since there was no room for cars coming in the opposite direction, we crossed over the river to Pennsylvania and headed for Wind Gap. As I remember it, we had to make a sharp right turn in Wind Gap and "behold," you were faced with a fair sized hill. We all got out of the bus to make it light enough to climb the hill. Of course, we would race up the hill to beat the bus to the top, and -- Oh yes, we did win. It really put some extra fun into the trip as well as something to relate when you got home.
We would pass Shawnee on the Delaware (Fred Waring's place) that was on a road parallel to the Delaware River. Several miles later, we had to make a turn toward the river. There was some typo of camp by the river's edge. I believe it was called Camp Miller.
There was a large ship bell on the shore. We would ring it loud and long, until we saw farmer Peter Dimmick come out of this house or from his fields. He would bring the scow over to our side. It was our only transportation back to NJ and half a mile from Camp Pahaquarra.
There was stout cable strung across the river, attached to a hook around a tree in front of this house. As I related before, he was a farmer and had this as a sideline. The hook can still be seen, but over the years the hook became part of the tree.
He could transport two cars on his flat bottom scow. We used to help him get us across. He had wooden tools about 24 inches long and 4 inches square. One end was rounded so your hand would fit comfortably. The other end, about 3 inches from the end, had a notch cut in, about 1 1/2 inches deep and 3/4 inches wide. If you hooked the notch on the cable and gave it a slight twist you could walk down the scow, thus creating the power needed to move the scow. Upon reaching the end of the scow, you would release the wooden tool, walk back to the other end and start over again.
About four of us would do this. Once in a while, you would not release the hook soon enough and would snap out of your hand, to float down the river. I have seen it happen more than once. His only remark would be "I can't afford to you as a Captain, sit down and watch the experts do it." Upon reaching shore, he would secure the scow and go back to whatever he was doing. Then, we would either ride to camp, if we came by car, or walk, if we came by bus. In later years, he modernized by adding an outboard motor. Of course, the fun was gone.
September 12, 1999