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  1. #1
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    6/29 Overnighter - Blueberry season in the Pine Barrens!

    My son is home from college so we went out for an overnighter. I checked ReserveAmerica and nobody reserved my favorite site, #004 at Lower Forge. We took a chance and just walked into Atsion office and paid $6 total for the campsite, as opposed to $18.75 if I used the website. The down side with walk-in is there's no guarantee there will be an available campsite.

    We originally planned on hiking 10 miles Saturday, and 7.5 miles on Sunday, but it was extremely humid. We went the most direct route, 6.5 miles. There were plenty of blueberries to be had, but I had difficulty convincing my son that they were safe. Oh well, more for me!

    We saw more wildlife than I am accustomed to seeing including an entertaining turtle:



    He didn't like the camera so his strategy was to hide behind my son's boots.

    We also found a Northern Scarlet snake, a pretty rare snake for these parts. At first I thought it was a coral snake (poisonous), and told my son to stay away from him. I poked the snake with my boot, and that's when I realized he was dead. My son said, "If you thought it was poisonous, why would you move it with your foot?" Why, to see if it was dead, obviously! Once I flipped him over, I could see he had been run over.

    When we got to the Lower Forge turnoff from Batona Trail, I was disappointed to see five or six vehicles parked there. Apparently, Lower Forge does attract car campers who don't mind dragging their gear 1/3 of a mile. Upon arrival at the campsite, it was crawling with car campers with huge ten-man tents, coolers, the works. They even had a boom box, which they thankfully did not play.

    We set up our hammocks and tarps, and I could see our ground-dwelling neighbors at site #5 were fascinated. It wasn't long before they wandered over to admire our gear. It took us a long time to set up - my son seems to have hammock amnesia. He's been hammock camping plenty of times but can't seem to remember how to do anything. Whoopie slings, Whoopie hooks, Tarp flyz and hooks, underquilts and topquilts are all a mystery to him. We shared a campfire with the neighbors, having a few laughs before retiring at 11 pm.

    A six-year-old kid woke up at 8 am, and he was a holy terror. He would start out saying something like, "Daddy, I think I need to go the bathroom." The father would reply, "Okay, son." Then ten seconds would pass and the little kid would scream at the top of his lungs, "I WANT TO GO TO THE BATHROOM NOW OR I'LL CALL MOM!" I tried to sleep a bit more but this kid kept screaming and issuing "I'LL CALL MOM" ultimatums about a variety of topics. Truly the most obnoxious terrorist kid I've ever met.

    As I was trying to sleep, I overheard some hikers approach our neighbors and beg for water. There were six of them, and they were down to a liter among them. If I hadn't been dozing, I might have given them my Sawyer Squeeze, but somehow I doubt they would have drank brown water. My son was certainly none too keen on it - I had to force him to chug a liter of filtered Mullica River water before we hiked out, just so he didn't pass out. "Am I gonna get diarrhea?" he asked.

    I took a swim in the Mullica River before we packed up and left. My son wanted nothing to do with the cool refreshing waters. "It looks dirty," he said. I'm glad I cooled off because it was even more humid hiking out. The water lilies were in bloom on Beaver Pond - very pretty.

    Last edited by SilvrSurfr; 07-01-2013 at 12:43.

  2. #2
    silentorpheus's Avatar
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    As bummed as I am that I had to miss out this time, I'm glad I didn't have to deal with crazy humidity and loud neighbors. Glad no one snagged site 4 though - sounds like you lucked out by choosing to walk up and register.

    Good to hear you guys had a good time. I take it only one of the boys tagged along?

  3. #3
    Klaussinator's Avatar
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    Ha, sounds like a fun yet interesting trip.
    In general, when I'm out camping, I don't want neighbors. Why do ya think I'm trying to get away from the `burbs?!?

    -Klauss
    My Blog: http://www.klaussinator.com My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/rexmichaelson

    "But hey, 2 trees anywhere is a bedroom waiting to happen, right?"

  4. #4
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Yep, my 21-year-old son came. My wife didn't allow my 14-year-old son to come because he got a sunburn, and my daughter was working.

    Our neighbors at site #5 SWEAR they found bear tracks at Lower Forge down by the Mullica River the morning we arrived. I am not sure I believed them - they were car campers and I got the impression they wouldn't know a bear track from a Rottweiler track. Still, it IS blueberry season so it's entirely possible. Needless to say, I put the bear bag far away from our campsite, just to be sure.

    The good thing about the car campers with their 60-gallon coolers is that the bears would probably go after them first and leave my Ursack alone.

  5. #5
    silentorpheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilvrSurfr View Post
    Yep, my 21-year-old son came. My wife didn't allow my 14-year-old son to come because he got a sunburn, and my daughter was working.

    Our neighbors at site #5 SWEAR they found bear tracks at Lower Forge down by the Mullica River the morning we arrived. I am not sure I believed them - they were car campers and I got the impression they wouldn't know a bear track from a Rottweiler track. Still, it IS blueberry season so it's entirely possible. Needless to say, I put the bear bag far away from our campsite, just to be sure.

    The good thing about the car campers with their 60-gallon coolers is that the bears would probably go after them first and leave my Ursack alone.
    True. Plus they might not want to cart the full coolers back out - so they might be inclined to share with you.

  6. #6
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentorpheus View Post
    True. Plus they might not want to cart the full coolers back out - so they might be inclined to share with you.
    I must admit the smell of bacon and eggs in the morning was intoxicating. They cooked up a mess of them in the morning and even offered us some. I stuck to my oatmeal and fresh blueberries, however.

    Didn't hear any coyotes this trip - maybe the bears scared them away!

  7. #7
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    6/29 Overnighter - Blueberry season in the Pine Barrens!

    I am going to be down there next weekend. I hope there are still some berries.

  8. #8
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stalker42 View Post
    I am going to be down there next weekend. I hope there are still some berries.
    Should be - I think there are three different varieties and some of them were not ripe yet. The bushes along the trail will likely be picked clean, but if you go off trail you'll probably find plenty.

  9. #9

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    I grew up in New Jersey and spent many summers camping and enjoying various activities in the Pine Barrens. I look forward to the trip reports and photos to provide me with short journeys down memory lane. It must be about 35 years since my last experience in the area. Every time I read one of these reports I think about making a trip down there. One of these days...

  10. #10
    Senior Member Durangoz's Avatar
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    Nice! I love picking blueberries. I grew up in W. Long Branch and have never been to the Pine Barrens. I must check it out sometime when we visit home, it looks like fun.

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