Tag Archives: Mullica River

Best Hikes in the Pine Barrens

Featured Image -- 14769

So today marks FOUR YEARS of this ridiculous blog.  I’ll type that again for dramatic effect- FOUR YEARS.

Four is an important number for this blog, because, when I started, I figured that was about top end estimate for how many people would ever look that this big, dumb prestigious project of mine (and that was counting on my mother being able to find it on the Internet to see cute pictures of her grandson). But my, oh, my, how we’ve grown up.  In the past four years, nearly EIGHT PEOPLE have read this blog.

Okay, it’s a few more than that, and sometimes I worry about you folks because of that.  But thanks just the same for coming along for the ride.

In celebration, I highlight an area I’ve been blessed enough to spend the last 24 years exploring – the Pine Barrens.  Sure, the pine barrens aren’t as sexy as some natural areas in North Jersey.  You won’t find many clear flowing rivers (just iced tea colored), mama bears followed by lines of cubs, or breathtaking vistas.

Instead, it’s hundreds of square miles of pine trees, the more subtle beauty of a pitch pine, the reclaimed cranberry bog, the carnivorous plant, the nearly forgotten ruins of a once prosperous town.  It’s the wild flowers at Friendship, the collapsing packing house at Whitesbog, the abandoned tracks of the Central Railroad of New Jersey, and the sweeping views from Apple Pie Hill.  It’s the cedar water of the Wading River, the iron slag along the trail at Martha, the cedar swamps at Wells Mills (oh, how I love cedar swamps), and the pine snakes by Bricksbrae.  It’s hearing coyotes howling while camping at Bodine, a dip in the river while backpacking through Lower Forge, watching the American Legion Post carry Emilio Carranza’s body from the woods yet another July day, the beautiful stars in winter above Goshen Pond, looking at the raccoon prints in the fireplace bricks at Buzbys General Store, or the peeping of the frogs in the Spring.

If you haven’t spent time here, or haven’t spent enough time here, or simply are looking for some places you haven’t explored, I’m offering a series of three posts on the pines, starting with ten fourteen trails to get you started (it was really hard to narrow them down)…

I have, of course, ranked them (for fighting with each other on the Internet’s sake), cutting down a list of 46 hikes I’ve done out in Jersey Devil country, but these are all winners!

Continue reading

19 Comments

Filed under Backpacking, Hiking, History, Outdoors., pine barrens, South Jersey

Mullica River Trail – Atsion to Batsto, NJ – Backpack or hike!

mullica36

Mullica River Trail – Wharton State Forest – Atsion, Shamong, Burlington County to Batsto, Hammonton, Atlantic County, NJ
Distance: 9.5 miles (can be done as a one night backpacking trip or as a day hike)
Type: One way
Difficulty:  3 of 10
Total score:  7 of 10

Terrain – forest, swamps, meadows

Trailheads – Atsion –  39°44’30.37″N,  74°43’33.55″W (next to ranger station/general store) –   (5.5 miles to campsite from here)
Batsto –  39°38’33.67″N,  74°39’18.61″W (on dirt Batsto Lake Road) (4 miles to campsite from here)

Note – you can also

Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Backpacking, Hiking, History, Outdoors., pine barrens, South Jersey

Mullica River Paddle (Overnight) – Atsion to Pleasant Mills

You can tell it's fun because my thumb is up.

You can tell it’s fun because my thumb is up.

Mullica River Paddle – Atsion to Pleasant Mills – Burlington County, NJ- Overnight or all in one go!
Distance: Best guess – 10 miles.  Heard everything from 8 (seems short) to 15 (seems long). The official number is 10, but ever that didn’t seem right.
Type: One way
Difficulty: 7 of 10, mostly for length
Total score: 10 of 10.

Terrain – Narrow, winding river with lots and lots of sharp curves.  Later on, broad marsh lands.

Put ins – Atsion –  39° 44.397’N,  74° 43.473’W.  This is located across from the old Cotton Mill, a short distance off of Rt 206, directly across from Atsion Lake (but NOT Quaker Bridge Road… if you see a church, you are on the wrong road!)

Old Cotton Mill

Old Cotton Mill

Take outs – Pleasant Mills –  39° 38.388’N,  74° 39.541’W.  For pickups, if headed toward Batsto, this is the road to the RIGHT just after the intersection of Rt 542 (Nesco Road) and 643 (Pleasant Mills Road), just past the Pleasant Mills-Batsto Cemetery.  You’ll notice yourself driving on a bridge across the river, the turn is right after this.  You can also leave cars at Batsto and have a nice little walk of a mile or two.
You can also go another few hours and come out at Crowley’s Landing  just past Batsto –  39° 37.583’N,  74° 37.156’W
If you are superhuman, you can also paddle UP the Batsto River and make it into Batsto Lake.

Continue reading

18 Comments

Filed under Canoeing, Outdoors., pine barrens, South Jersey