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  1. #1
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    NJ Pine Barrens Father's Day Hike with daughter and SilentOrpheus

    My 19-year-old daughter (interim trail name Banelet) asked me what I wanted for Father's Day, and I said I wanted her to go backpacking and hammock camping with me in the Pine Barrens. She's never backpacked and never slept in a hammock.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    We started our day in Atlantic City at the Borgata casino buffet; we met her grandfather for a Father's Day meal. We didn't just wreck the buffet; we humiliated it. I ate enough to feed a third-world nation for a month. I tried my hands at craps and a little blackjack, but didn't have much luck. I stopped after a $50 donation to Borgata.

    We left AC and arrived at Batsto Village around 3:30 pm. HF member SilentOrpheus (Banelet calls him SilentOrifice) was already there waiting on us. We got our permits, changed clothes, and hit the trail by 4:15 pm. We took the closed section of the Mullica River trail (bridge out) - the water was pretty high, so we had to take off our shoes and wade across. The water felt nice and cool on our tootsies.

    Banelet is coming off an MCL tear a couple months ago (as am I, coincidentally), so I was concerned about her ability to hike 7.5 miles with a backpack. No worries whatsoever - she had no problems keeping up with me and SilentOrpheus, no matter what the pace. She was absolutely loving her first backbacking trip, and she was digging the Pine Barrens.

    We hiked up the Mullica River trail, and took a break at Mullica River campsite. There was nobody there. We took a rest and filled up on water from the pump. New twist: they've put fire rings and grills at every campsite. They also cut down trees to make the campsites more tent-friendly - what a travesty for hammock campers.

    We took the crossover to Quaker Bridge, and then hiked on to Lower Forge. The thunderstorms threatened, but we hiked between the raindrops. There was only a couple of brief showers but they felt good; nothing to cause us to break out the rain gear.

    Lower Forge was also totally unoccupied - seems like Sunday is not a hiking/camping day for most in the Pine Barrens. Lower Forge campsites were also equipped with brand-new fire ring/grills.

    Since Banelet had never hung in a hammock, I was kind of dreading instructing her on the nuances of hanging a tarp and hammock, whoopie slings, Dutch Flyz, Dutch Hooks, and Dutch Whoopie hooks. I showed her how to work a whoopie sling, and then did a second demonstration. My daughter cut me off and said, "You forget who you're talking to. I'm very good with my hands - you don't need to tell me twice."

    And it's true. My two sons have been on several hammock camping trips and they're thick - they can't remember how a whoopie or a Tarp Flyz works. I end up having to set them up myself. Or I get SilentOrpheus to set up their hammocks and tarps. He's a better parent than me.

    When I have home improvement projects around the house, I don't get my two sons to help me. I wouldn't even trust them with a power tool. I get Banelet to help me - you show her something once and it's a life skill for her. She is great with her hands.

    We had some dinner - Banelet was not too keen on my Indian Curry dehydrated meal. SilentOrpheus and I started in on our post-meal giggles, singing and whistling songs and having a fine time. Everything was hunky dory until a massive spider arrived about two inches from my foot. Banelet described it as "bigger than a field mouse." It was definitely huge. Silent Orpheus insists (after Googling) that it was a wolf spider.

    After the huge spider moved on, I started pointing out all the other spiders around (like the one crawling across my leg). Banelet got totally freaked out and went straight to the hammock and bugnet - she wanted nothing to do with the spiders. She loved the hammock, the HG 20* Phoenix, and the HG 20* UQ. She did not use the TQ until she woke up cold, then grabbed it and enveloped herself in downy goodness. I used my HG 0* Incubator UQ, with a fleece blanket as a top quilt. I was very comfy. Lows were around 59 degrees.

    In the morning we had our coffee and oatmeal, and I took a swim in the Batsto River. We hit the trail kinda late (SilentOrpheus was looking kinda pissed at me 'cause I was slow packing up). I think I must have told him I would wake up early or something - what was I thinking? We hit the trail around 10:30 or 11, and SilentOrpheus was obviously on a mission. Usually he is dragging behind me, but he was blazing the trail, waiting impatiently for me and Banelet to catch up.

    We discussed whether to take the Mullica River trail detour or fjord the Mullica River again. Banelet voted for fjording the river - she was definitely hot by then. We took off our shoes and really enjoyed the cold river water. Once we arrived at Batsto Village we got cold Dr. Peppers out of the machine.

    SilentOrpheus says, according to his GPS tracker, we did the 7.98 miles in 2 hours 42 minutes, or 2.9 miles per hour. As Silent Orpheus said, "Not bad for an old cripple (me), a young cripple (Banelet), and a middle-aged cripple (SilentOrpheus)."

    Banelet had a great time. She loves backpacking; she loves hammocks. She can't wait to hit the trail again. I got myself a hiking buddy! That's a great Father's Day gift.
    Last edited by SilvrSurfr; 06-17-2013 at 22:41.

  2. #2
    njredneck's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great fathers day.

  3. #3
    peanuts's Avatar
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    sounds like a perfect father's day!!!
    Peanuts

    "A womans place is on the trail"

  4. #4

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    Good one! You are getting to an age where a Sherpa helps... ;-))
    YMMV

    HYOH

    Free advice worth what you paid for it. ;-)

  5. #5
    Old Gorge Rat Hawk-eye's Avatar
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    Good on you pal ... and big thumbs up to your daughter!

    WARNING: Will discuss Rhurbarb Strawberry Pie and Livermush at random.


    "A democracy is two wolves and a small lamb voting on what to have for dinner.
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  6. #6
    Yoda's Avatar
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    Awesome trip report, sounds like it was a great fathers day for you, as Hawk-eye said big thumbs up to your daughter.
    Formerly known as "Cranky Bear"....

    "yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift---thats why its called a present" - Master Oogway

    It's always best if your an early riser!

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  7. #7
    silentorpheus's Avatar
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    Figured I'd throw in my thoughts, and I'll post a few photos once I get them uploaded.

    Met SilvrSurf and his daughter at Batsto, and we geared up and got on the trail around 4:15pm on Sunday. It was a hot one, but it was mostly overcast and looked like it wanted to rain more than a few times. We got sprinkled on once or twice while on the trail - but it didn't much matter, since we were drenched anyway. 84 degrees and humid as all get out in the Pine Barrens makes for a damp hike. The sweat seemed to attract the horseflies, so we alternated making jokes, telling stories, and swatting flies. Luckily they weren't interested in biting - just in flying in our ears and eyes.

    We stopped for water 5 miles in at Mullica River Camp, then headed on to Lower Forge. Got to camp around 7:30, and set to getting our equipment up. Tarps went up first - which was good, because it decided to rain lightly for 5 minutes - that was about all we saw of the 40% chance of thunderstorms that were forecast. After that it was clear skies, bright half moon, and even some stars.

    Got our hammocks up, changed into some slightly drier clothes, and settled in to make dinner. The flies turned to mosquitos, but they weren't too bad. About the time it got dark was when the whippoorwills started. When I turned in at midnight, they were still going strong. Add to that the coyotes howling in the distance, and the frogs down in the nearby river, and it was quite a noisy night!

    We sat around telling stories, eating our dinners, and trying to keep SilvrSurfr's Emberlit from going out. At one point SS went to grab his food bag, and swore, and said something about a spider. He switched his headlamp from red to white, and there was a GIANT spider next to his Ursack. Looked like a walking pine cone - no joke, it was the size of a walnut . Did some google-fu when I got home, and it turns out it wasn't just one spider, it was a female wolf spider...they carry their young on their backs - check it out when you have a chance - so it was more like a few hundred spiders in one giant package. I find the fact that something like that exists both fascinating and terrifying.

    Eventually his daughter had enough of the spiders and other crawling things, and retreated to the relative safety of her hammock and bugnet. We stayed up a while longer, and then followed suit around midnight.

    The next morning we woke around 7:30 - 8:00, made breakfast, and I snapped a few shots of out setups. We started the packing up process, and didn't get on the trail till 10:30. I'll admit I was getting antsy - just because I could tell that the day wasn't going to be cloudy, and it was already hot. I knew we were in for a scorcher, and I wanted to get out before we were stuck hiking in the hottest part of the day. Ah well.

    Took the lead and pushed hard till we got to Mullica again, where we stopped and had lunch and rehydrated. From there it was around 5 miles back to Batsto. It was hot, the flies were fierce, and we were all feeling the heat and the burning in our legs - but we pushed on, took a brief pause to wade back through the stream we crossed on the way out (man, did that feel great on our feet after all the miles in the sun), and got back to the parking lot a little after 2pm. Not bad for three hikers with knee issues.

    Today I'm tired, sunburned, and nursing some sore leg muscles, but all in all, it was a great way to spend Father's Day. I can't wait until my little guy is old enough to come on adventures like this.

    And the obligatory pics, to prove we actually went, will be up shortly.

    Cheers!

  8. #8
    silentorpheus's Avatar
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    And the promised pictures.

    My rig - Superfly, WBBB 1.1 DL, 20˚ Phoenix, 20˚ Burrow.

    SilvrSurfr - HG Winter Palace, BIAS SL, 0˚ Incubator, Wool Blanket.

    SS Daughter - GT Funky Forest Tarp, BIAS DL, 20˚ Phoenix, 20˚ Burrow.
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  9. #9
    silentorpheus's Avatar
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    Spider

    Oh, and though this isn't a picture of the actual spider we saw, it gives you an idea of what we're talking about.
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  10. #10
    TallPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentorpheus View Post
    Oh, and though this isn't a picture of the actual spider we saw, it gives you an idea of what we're talking about.
    Great report from both of you.
    Though I could do without the knowledge that such spiders are out there - yikes!

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