Weekend Getaway to AMC's Mohican Outdoor Center
August 15, 2013

Weekend Getaway to AMC's Mohican Outdoor Center

When it comes to outdoor adventures, our children’s grandparents, Nana Beth and Opi-Din, are a tough pair to impress. Having just returned from their annual summer hiking trip to Glacier National Park out west, they had already seen quite a bit of spectacular outdoor scenery. Nevertheless, we had no doubt that a weekend with us at AMC's Mohican Outdoor Center, nestled in the New Jersey side of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, would wow them. Even better, we were joined by some dear family friends, Mr. and Mrs. Kochey, and their granddaughter, Christy, which basically made us a crowd covering every age group between 7 and 81.

Among the best things about Mohican is the wide variety of outdoor activities it offers. There are short, steep hikes—like the Rattlesnake Swamp Trail—as well as longer hikes with more varied elevation, such as the Coppermine Trail. If you wanted to use Mohican as the base camp for a longer journey you can also hop on the Appalachian Trail. Mohican also sits on the shore of Catfish Pond, and is an excellent location to spot flora and fauna of numerous varieties. Among the things Halina and Riley found most fascinating—as we’ll chronicle in our next post—was the extraordinary diversity of mushrooms thriving on the ground.

Hiking and Paddling

We arrived close to sunset on a recent Friday, so we didn’t set off on a hike then. However Catfish Pond was just a short walk from our cabin—one of a number of lodging options, including tent camping—so we ambled over to show Nana Beth and Opi-Din. Along the dirt road, our kids regaled their grandparents of the time we saw a rattlesnake sunning itself just outside the boathouse where we were now headed. This led to a discussion about the black bear we had also spotted on the Rattlesnake Swamp Trail on a previous visit—just in case anyone doubted there was much potential for adventure.

After admiring the idyllic pond we returned to the cabin, just in time to spend a passing rain shower on the screened-in porch.  Much to our surprise, we were able to get a fire going in the wet barbeque and it lasted through roasted marshmallows for dessert.  We went to bed relatively early—10 pm—and set no alarms so we could be well-rested for hiking the next day. We’ll write about journey on the Coppermine Trail in our next post—but suffice it to say that it was a good trek for all age and ability levels. Even better was when we arrived back at the cabin and were joined our friends, who live in nearby Sparta, NJ. Though tired from our hike, we perked right up and eagerly led them to Catfish Pond.

We rented paddles at the Visitor Center for $10 apiece and walked down to the pond just as the sun was beginning to go down. Mr. Kochey and Opi-Din took off in single kayaks, while the kids, Christy, and Cheryl paddled about in a canoe.  William and the ladies enjoyed the incredible view from the rocking chairs that line the wide, second-story deck of the boathouse overlooking the water and forest on the far shore. It was—to say the least—idyllic. Even when the boaters disappeared around the bend, those on porch could still hear their laughter echoing off the water. The sun dropped down west directly in front of us, and just like that the day went from warm and hot to slightly chilly.

Fortunately it just a quick walk back to the cabin, where we feasted on grilled scallop and steak kebabs and—of course—ended the evening by consuming a bagful of toasted marshmallows.

Getting There and Away

Mohican is about an hour from New York City by car. You can also catch a van that leaves from Midtown on Friday afternoons and returns on Sunday.

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