Delaware Water Gap

Belvidere, the “town of the beautiful view” nestles upon the broad terraces under the Jersey ridges at the mouth of Pequest Creek, and looks prettily out upon the high hills and distant mountains across the Delaware. Above the town, the river makes a great bend to the westward in rounding the huge and almost perpendicular mass of Manunka Chunk Mountain, a name which has been got by a process of gradual evolution from its Indian title of “Penungauchung.” Here, through a gorge just above, is got the first view of the distant Water Gap, cleft down in the dark blue Kittatinny ten miles away. Approaching it as the river winds, all the views have this great Gap for the gem of the landscape, the ponderous wall of the Kittatinny stretching broadly across the horizon and steadily rising into greater prominence as it comes nearer.

“I lift my eyes and ye are ever there, Wrapped in the folds of the imperial air, And crowned with the gold of morn or evening rare, O, far blue hills.”

As it is gradually approached, the Gap and its en-closing ridge attain enormous proportions, dwarfing the smaller hills, among which the narrow, placid river flows below; and it is realized how tame are all the other ridges through which the Delaware has passed compared with this towering Blue Ridge, having the low-lying Blockade Mountain just behind, and partly closing the Gap. Soon we reach the foot of the range, and, bending with the river suddenly to the left, enter the Gap. Scarcely have we entered when the river, which has been swinging to the left, bends around again gradually to the right, and in a moment we are through the gorge, the river then circling around the Blockade Mountain, which has been so named because it seems always stupidly in the way.

The Indians called the Water Gap “Pohoqualin,” meaning ” the river between the mountains.” The Delaware flows through it with a width of eight hundred feet and at an elevation of about three hundred feet above tide. It is twenty-nine miles northeast of the Lehigh Gap where the Lehigh River passes the Blue Ridge, and there are five other gaps between them, of which the ” Wind Gap,” heretofore referred to, is the chief. For many years this Wind Gap provided the only route to reach the country north of the Kittatinny. About two and a half miles south-west of the Delaware is “Tat’s Gap,” named in memory of Moses Fonda Tatamy, an old time Indian interpreter in this region, and familiarly called “Tat’s” for short. The greatest of all these passes, however, is the Water Gap, where the Blue Ridge, rent asunder, has two noble peaks guarding the portals, towering sixteen hundred feet high, and named in honor of the Indians—Mount Minsi in Pennsylvania, after the tribes of the Minisink, and Mount Tammany in New Jersey, for the great chief of the Lenni Lenapes.

“Crags, knolls and mounds, in dire confusion hurled, The fragmentary elements of an earlier world.”

The Water Gap is a popular summer resort, there being numerous hotels and boarding-houses in eligible locations all about it, and the romantic scenery has been opened up by roads and paths leading to all the points of view. It is on such a stupendous scale, and exhibits the geological changes wrought during countless ages so well, that it always attracts the greatest interest. To the northward spread the fertile valleys of the Minisink; and the Delaware, which below the Gap flows to the southeast, passing through all the ridges, comes from the northeast above the Gap, and flows along the base of the Kittatinny for miles, as if seeking the outlet which it at length finds in this remarkable pass.