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  1. #1
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Another 2-nighter in the Pine Barrens!

    Had a great two nights in the Pine Barrens 12/29 and 12/30, 2011, with KYBob from Connecticut. KYBob is a lurker who would never in a million years join HF. He wouldn't want to join any club (or forum) that would have him as a member!

    We parked at Batona Camp & hiked 6.5 miles to Lower Forge in under two hours, arriving at dusk. Lower Forge to Batona section of the Batona Trail is well-marked and it's almost impossible to get lost, unlike the Batsto to Lower Forge section that's fractured and bewildering at times (especially at night).



    The turnoff to Lower Forge campsite was washed out again, but the water wasn't too deep so we just walked across without getting our feet wet. I collected firewood in the dark, and found a couple of 20 ft. deadfall trees that was all the firewood we needed. I dragged them a couple hundred yards back to camp and we sawed them with Bahco Swedish folding saws.

    KYBob cooked up some Hawk Vittles Sausage & Peppers. After hearing so many rave reviews, I found this Hawk Vittles dish very disappointing in the flavor department. Still, it was good to have something other than the Mountain House I've been eating.

    The temps got below freezing. We heard two or three coyotes, which is always a happy reassurance that you are actually out in some kind of semi-wilderness.

    In the morning we hiked north to Batona and made even better time than the trip south. The temps rose steadily throughout the day, and I shed layer after layer. We had lunch on the trail - I had an individual serving of tuna salad with crackers, and some trail mix for dessert. KYBob ate some kind of nasty four-year-old MRE that made me gag just looking at it. After eating that crap in the military, I will never eat an MRE as long as I live.

    By 1:30 pm the temps were in the 50s. About a half-mile from Batona, I took a breal, and KYBob hiked on without me. I laid down on the side of the trail in the sunshine and would have sworn it was summer. It was the best five minutes of rest I ever had - the only thing that spoiled it was realizing that it's 55 degrees in December and that ain't natural. Basically, we've had no winter so far in New Jersey. This weather is not helping me test out my gear for winter camping. I even had mosquitoes buzzing around me at one point.

    We got to Batona and were the only ones camping. We hung our hammocks, but I skipped the tarp since no rain was in the forecast. I set up the fire so all it needed was a match when the time came to light it. KYBob thinks he's some kind of master fire builder and immediately started criticizing my fire. I told him that tonight was my night to make the fire - he had made the fire the night before. "Can I make a suggestion?" KYBob would say. And I would reply, "No, your input is not required. I am making the fire tonight." KYBob would not leave it alone.

    "Leaves and pine needles are not going to burn. You need more twigs and proper kindling," KYBob offered. "Bite me," I replied. "All the fire is on top and none on the bottom," Bob observed, and I offered an expletive in response. What Bob did not know, because he was too busy talking, was that I purposely made the fire to burn from the top down, a method I found on YouTube to keep you warm all night without having to get up and tend the fire.

    KYBob made steaks-on-a-stick, cooked on the fire KYBob said would never burn. The steaks were really good, and we had way too much food for two people. The fire burned hot all night and was still going strong in the morning. KYBob implied that I had stayed up all night nursing it to make him and his expert fire-burning analysis look bad, but I didn't put so much as a stick on it.

    I really didn't want to leave in the morning; there's a bond developing between me and the Pine Barrens. It feels like home.

    Through a combination of hiking and playing basketball regularly, my legs are now in shape and hiking-ready. I had no leg soreness at all post trip. I'll be ready for any pre-hike before the NJ Winter Hang (unless it snows)!

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    another good one. I see winter made a short visit. ;-)

  3. #3
    I Learn So Others Can Too FireInMyBones's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing. Looks like more fun than previous.
    -Jeremy "Brother Bones" Owner of Bonefire™ Gear

    "If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:11

    Quote Originally Posted by FLRider View Post
    FireInMyBones; he's a mountain goat crossed with a marathoner.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member jbphilly's Avatar
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    Hey, I was there the same night (well, a little ways away, close to Atsion Lake). Just made a thread about it. I'm glad you like that area so much - I think it's kind of nice for a bit, but not somewhere I'd want to spend that much time...of course, I was on a mountain bike and that sandy soil is a bike's worst enemy, so that was part of it. I did find an amazing campsite by Atsion Lake last summer when I went out, but couldn't relive it this time due to the lake being shut.

    The weather on the 30th was incredible and probably saved my life, since I got overconfident and tried to roll through a foot-deep puddle and wiped out.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Slo's Avatar
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    lmao, I got a kick out of you riding Bob to hurry up.. genuine lol
    "I ain't here for a long time, I'm here for a good time"

    - George Strait

  6. #6
    Member joehasbeard's Avatar
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    ah surfr i'm jealous, i wanted to give the pine barrens a shot on Saturday since it's supposed to be in the 50s all day but alas, it's not in the cards. Batona's only about an hour away from me.
    Only the dreamer venoms all his days,
    Bearing more woe than all his sins deserve.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Spurr's Avatar
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    You need more twigs and proper kindling, " KYBob offered. "Bite me," I replied. LMAO, sounds like me and a buddy of mine...

    Very good video as well....
    If a woman doesn't find you handsome, she should at least find you handy...Red Green

    Jerry,

  8. #8
    New Member TrailKits's Avatar
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    Nice! I'll have to hit the barrens at some point soon. I'm close enough.
    "The map is not the territory." A. Korzybski
    www.TrailKits.com

  9. #9
    Member Weta's Avatar
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    Good read, cheers. That top down fire method works well & it's 'unconventional' as we've been taught the reverse method.
    "I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!"- Dr Suess

  10. #10
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    I love the Pine Barrens in winter because you don't see many people. Some people complain that the Pine Barrens are flat and monotonous, but I can't really agree. There are so many streams and rivers and swamps - what's not to love?

    KYBob is the kind who will argue about anything with the total conviction that he's right, until he takes the complete opposite position and is equally convinced he's right.

    He spent the better part of a year arguing why hammocks were stupid. We'd go camping, he in his tent, and I in my hammock, and he would droan on and on about what's wrong with hammocks. Of course, he now has a hammock and argues the opposite.

    If I had a dollar for every time KYBob says, "I've got forty years of hiking and camping experience and I know what I'm talking about," I'd be a rich man.

    When I was trying to cook the potatoes, onions and peppers in aluminum foil, KYBob kept pulling the packets out of the coals. "I'm telling you, don't put aluminum foil in the coals. It will burn up and all the food will fall in the fire. This is forty years of hiking and camping experience talking." He apparently was unaware that the Boy Scouts and other campers have been cooking meals in aluminum foil for decades.

    KYBob and his forty years of experience were truly amazed that the aluminum foil didn't incinerate.

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