Tag Archives: Hiking

We’re in the Philadelphia Inquirer today!

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So, a certain South Jersey hiking blog was written about on the front page of the South Jersey section of the Philadelphia Inquirer today.

“South Jersey man’s hiking blog has half million fans, and climbing”
http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/south-jersey-mans-hiking-blog-has-half-million-fans-and-climbing-20170611.html

Big thank you to Kevin Riordan for taking interest in our little blog here, and for writing such a nice article about it!  Big thank you to Kevin and Elizabeth (who managed to get nice pictures of me) for schlepping two miles through the woods with me last Thursday, and then still have nice things things to say!

And, of course, thank you to everyone who comes to read what I have to say about the dirt paths through the woods, meadows, marshes, and swamps of the greatest state in the Union, South Jersey.

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Levin Nature Conservancy – Mt. Laurel, NJ

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Melvin and Florence Levin Nature Conservancy – Mt. Laurel, Burlington County, NJ
Distance –  a little over 2 miles of trails (we did 2 1/4 miles with some backtrack and only missed one cut-through trail) total
Type – Loop with a cut-through and a spur
Difficulty:  1 of 10
Total score: 5  of 10

Website –  None
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.

Terrain – woods and swamp with a bit of grassland
Surface – some parts are boardwalk, some parts crushed stone dust, and some parts grass and dirt (or in our case, mud.  Thanks rain)

Trailheads –  39°56’51.50″N,  74°52’40.67″W – this is the main one off of the parking lot, although there are others along Hainsport-Mt Laurel Road, and along Hartford Road (this is the best spot to park)

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Mill Pond Trail – Port Republic, NJ

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Mill Pond Trail – Port Republic Trail System  – Port Republic, Atlantic County, NJ
Distance – 1.9 miles total (does not include the cut through, nor the access trail to get to other parts of the wider trail system)
Type – Loop
Difficulty:  2 of 10
Total score: 7 of 10

Website – Port Republic Trail System (Facebook page, no website)
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.

Terrain – pine forest with a bit of swamp
Surface – dirt

Trailheads –  39°30’39.03″N,  74°30’15.30″W

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A. Jerome Walnut Nature Trail – Barnegat Light, NJ

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A. Jerome Walnut Nature Trail – Barnegat Light, Long Beach Island, Ocean County, NJ
Distance –  0.25 miles total (one way), but paths off this trail can greatly extend your hike (we did 1 1/2 miles and could have extended it more)
Type – U trail (ends do not connect, must backtrack or walk around the block)
Difficulty:  3 of 10 – sand can be such a pain to walk in.
Total score:  6 of 10

Website – None
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.

Terrain – dunes and beach
Surface – Boardwalk and loose sand

Trailheads –  39°45’12.95″N,  74° 6’20.78″W OR  39°45’10.43″N,  74° 6’23.32″W
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Best Hikes in the Pine Barrens

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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!

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Corson’s Inlet State Park – Ocean City, NJ

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Corson’s Inlet State Park – Ocean City, Cape May County, NJ
Distance –  Rail trail – 0.75 total out-and-back.  Yellow Trail – 0.25 miles one way.  Red Trail – 0.4 miles one way.  We did 2.4 miles total covering all three of these and a beach walk back from the Red to Yellow Trail.  Can also extend this beach walk around the tip of the island.
Type – Series of out-and-back trails that can be looped off with beach walks if you choose.
Difficulty:  2 of 10
Total score: 7 of 10

Website – Corsons Inlet State Park
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.

Terrain – beach and dunes
Surface – gravel (rail trail) or sand (Yellow or Red Trails)

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Trailheads –39°13’1.92″ N,  74°38’45.74″ W (Rail trail from parking lot)
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39°12’59.56″N,  74°38’46.87″W (Yellow Trail from parking lot)
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39°13’7.57″N,  74°38’20.26″W (Red Trail from end of Central Ave just past intersection with 59th Street)

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Eldora Nature Preserve – Delmont, NJ

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Eldora Nature Preserve – Delmont (Maurice River Township), Cumberland County, NJ
Distance –  2.8 miles of trails (official).  We did 3.0 miles of trails (with slight overlap).
Type – Series of loops.
Difficulty:  3 of 10
Total score: 5 of 10

Website – The Nature Conservancy
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.

Terrain – Woods, marsh, and a bit of swamp.
Surface – Mostly dirt.

Trailheads –  39°13’2.81″N,  74°55’18.94″W (at back of parking lot)

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