South Jersey Trails is four years old! In celebration, I highlight an area I’ve been blessed enough to spend the last 24 years exploring – the Pine Barrens. I started with a post on the Best Hikes in the Pine Barrens. But hiking isn’t what hooked me on the pine barrens all those years ago (and boy, what great hiking there is there), it was the history.
So when you think of ghost towns, you probably think like me: cowboys, swinging doors, tumbleweeds…
You know, this. (Note – Bodie State Park in California).
But the pine barrens have dozens of ghost towns of their own. Sure, there weren’t many shootouts in the pine barrens (except Hampton Bogs that one time). And they are definitely short on tumbleweeds. But they all have their own, fascinating history.
Cape May Point State Park – Cape May, Cape May County, NJ
Distance – 3.2 miles of trail total
Type – Series of loops
Difficulty: 2 of 10
Total score: 9 of 10
Updated – March 3, 2017
Website – Cape May Point State Park
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.
Terrain – Mostly tidal marshlands with small patches of forest
Surface – boardwalks and dirt
Trailheads – 38°55’59.64″N, 74°57’30.34″W or
38°55’57.43″N, 38°55’57.43″N or
John’s Woods Preserve and Weymouth County Park – , County, NJ
Distance – 2.5 miles total (not including wandering around Weymouth Furnace)
Type – Out and back with a branch down to the river.
Difficulty: 4 of 10 – trail not well marked, sometimes all but disappears.
Total score: 5 of 10
If you are looking for information on canoeing the Great Egg Harbor River from Weymouth, check here
Website – Atlantic County Parks
Open – 7:30 AM to 1/2 hour after sunset.
Terrain – woods with some wetlands
Surface – dirt and sand
Weymouth – no hiking trails
John’s Woods – 39°31’3.69″N, 74°46’47.96″W
Wow did the White Horse Pike (off to the left there) look different in 1916.
So, I disappeared off the blog for about a month and a half there (Sorry!), which was partially due to helping my church get ready for…
Our 100th Birthday!
Due to a deficiency in my birth year, I missed the first 65 years of our time as a church, so I volunteered to go through the picture archives and scan hundreds and hundreds of pictures and to make a slide slow. You know, for fun.
This is what fun looks like. Look how happy those people are to have a pump! Also, I really wish I knew the story behind this picture.
The payoff for you, my loyal readers, is that you didn’t have to put up with posts from me for six whole weeks.
The payoff is that I found a picture labeled as being from a church hike in 1920. Sadly, the photo did not list where this hike took place.
I’m so taken with this picture that, from now on, we here at South Jersey Trails will only be hiking in period costumes from the 1920s.
I expect REI to be rolling out their retro hiking wear line in time for holidays as well.
Anyway, happy 100th Birthday to Ascension Lutheran Church of Haddon Heights!
So, I somehow ended up at a public meeting last night. I’m not normally a public meeting guy. And it had been a long day at work. Besides, I hadn’t even planned on going.
But ten minutes before it started, I found my car heading in that direction. I ended up at the…
Public Meeting at the Bellmawr Public Library.
Camp Dix, later renamed Fort Dix, in New Jersey’s pine barrens was one of the major deployment centers for soldiers from the United States heading for World War I (or “The Great War” or “The War to End All Wars” as they would have know it).
Last winter, I bought a picture set stamped “Fort Dix” that shows many of the various training exercises that soldiers would have been put through. While I can’t tell if the photos are from Camp Dix itself (which is certainly possible, the studio was in New York), the training depicted in the pictures had to be very similar. They are a window on an interesting slice of local and national history, and are pretty awesome to boot, so I thought I’d share before they get hung up on the wall of the house!
Cedar Swamp Trail – Great Cedar Swamp Division – Cape May National Wildlife Refuge – Ocean View (Dennis Township), Cape May County, NJ
Distance – 1.2 miles
Type – Lollipop
Difficulty: 2 of 10 (Note: this looks like it would be a good spot to be a mosquito in the warm months, plan accordingly)
Total score: 7 of 10
Website – Cape May National Wildlife Refuge
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.
Terrain – meadows, woods, and, of course, swamps
Trailheads – 39°15’6.87″N, 74°42’10.94″W