Previously posted in another thread but I thought I'd post a new thread:
Does anyone want to hike & hang the NJ Pine Barrens 12/9 to 12/11? I'm starting at Batsto Village on Friday afternoon between 1 and 3 pm, then hiking to Lower Forge Wilderness Camp approx. 7.5 miles away. Kayak Karl has expressed interest, but he would come after work and hike in at night. Dylan might also join, and a couple of others have expressed interest.
Friday night at Lower Forge, then Saturday morning hike to Batona Camp, another 7 miles away and spend Saturday night 12/10 there. Depart Sunday 12/11.
For Friday night 12/9 at Lower Forge, I think you have no choice but to hike in (though you could probably canoe or kayak) to this wilderness campsite from either Batona or Batsto - no car access. However, for Saturday nite, you can drive into Batona Camp.
Kayak Karl suggested this route as a pre-hike for the NJ Winter Hang 2012 in January. As soon as he mentioned it I was interested, but I'd rather know the Pine Barrens a bit better before committing. Therefore this hike gives me a lay of the land, a trial run, because conditions are likely to be much different in January. I call it a pre-hike of the pre-hike. And I also get to test out my Hammock Gear 20* Burrow and Phoenix!
The Batona trail is easy hiking, flat as a board, though the trails are quite sandy. The Pine Barrens remind me of the northern panhandle of Florida, with plentiful water and sandy soil. The uplands are pine with a smattering of oak, while the lowland riparian areas have lots of white cedar. And at night, the stars are so bright. I would imagine the Pine Barrens have the lowest light pollution of anywhere in NJ.
This will be my third trip to the Pine Barrens in a month. I can't believe I have lived in NJ for 21 years and never camped or hiked there (I have canoe'd). It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, and it's hard to believe it's in New Jersey.