A Winter's Walk through the Cedars at Double Trouble

J

JeffD

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The body of water that runs through Double Trouble State Park outside of Bayville is called Cedar Creek for good reason. It meanders through a mosiac of open fields and woods filled with Atlantic white cedar.

I took a winter's walk recently at Double Trouble, off route 618, a little west of the Garden State Parkway underpass. I came from the opposite direction, along 618 where it comes in off of route 530 on the outskirts of Whiting. I passed by a sign for the park, as I caught a glipse of it out of the corner of my eye. I'm not accustomed to looking sideways. I backed up only to find that this wasn't the entrance. I came to another Double Trouble sign a little ways down the road. I was on guard this time for sideways facing signs. It was at a crossroads, and the sign was in perfect postion for someone heading straight into the park from that road.

The entrance was an opening in the woods, with a rustic park building or two. Up ahead was a clearing, and several historic buildings of the company town, where cranberries that were grown there were packed, where timber was cut and sawed, and people lived shopped and kids went to school. The directions on a rough map I found outside a park building of Double Trouble were not clear to me. It could have been at least partially due to wanting to get moving on a cold, windy day. I got on an unpaved road, and after a short distance, wanted to get on the other side of a stream that seperated me from another section that had a narrower path and was closed in more by trees. I backtracked to the village and walked a little further along the edge of it this time, and found a trail that skirted the stream. The stream disappeared after awhile but then the trail led to the edge of a bigger body of water. It must have been Cedar Creek.

I walked a little further to a clearing by a dam. I crossed the dam, where only a trickle of water from a lake ran across. On the other side I was enveloped by cedars many times my height, and walked across patches of ice. I felt warmer now, not just because I had been walking, but the cedars sheltered me from the wind. I walked about half a mile until I came to a naturally formed skating rink. I turned around, and just before the dam I turned right and hiked on the opposite side of Cedar Creek. I somehow found a wider path, an unpaved road, a followed it as it seemed to make a sort of large loop around the park. At one point, a jogger unobtrusively passed by. I followed the unpaved road away from the village and then across it, heading towards where I believed were the cranberry bogs. It walked quite a distance, and found at one point the road went further way from the village. In this area was a much narrower path, a triail that went through the cedar woods. I followed the trail, where I was tightly enveloped in the woodlot, shelded from the cold wind. There were markers with displays. This route proved a more direct and pleasant way to return to the village and the parking lot.

I was amazed at the vastness of the land, and the wealth of cedar trees. The village took up just a small part of the 5000 acre plus park, as did the cranberry growing area. The cranberries were grown close to the packing plant. The cranberry and other bogs have served as a filter to soak up and use excess nutrients that could clog the creek that freely runs through Double Trouble as well as provide wildlife habitat. The last time I visited the park, someone told me that cranberries are no longer cultivated there. The park's website mentions that The Jersey Devil Cranberry Company is leased active cranberry bogs.

http://www.state.nj.us/dep/forestry/parks/double.htm

Double Trouble is testimony that harvesting the land, using it for hiking, canoeing and other recreation, and maintaining the beauty and integrity of the environment is compatible. And the large woodlots of Atlantic white cedar provide shelter from the elements for man and beast.
 

Teegate

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Nice to see you are still getting out there to hike, and you did not get lost :)

Guy
 

Ben Ruset

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I really need to get down to Double Trouble one of these days. I also want to visit Whitesbog village.

Jeff, did you look at the photos of the cranberry pickers during the 1938 harvest at Whitesbog?

You can view them in the "historic photos" image gallery at the menu above. I had no idea of the amount of work - work even done by little kids - involved with a cranberry harvest.
 
J

JeffD

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I thought I'd visit a park with formal trails, Guy. That way I didn't get lost. :)

I took a look at some of the cranberry growing photos, Ben. I first saw a random image and during another session clicked on the 1938 cranberry farm photo link. Wasn't that during the depression? I guess the cranberry fields are sort of New Jersey's version of the south's cotton fields. The deptression was a bad time in American history, as well as for England, Germany, and other nations. The depression was the sour fruit of a culture of decadent, mean, greedy, dishonest people. The government was corrupt and tended to back rougues and scoundrels. According to a report of a speech by a Pennsylvania congressman from that era, the government took the hard earned money of everyday people and wrote promissory notes to crooks, foreign and domestic, who defaulted on the notes, at the taxpayers expense. According to, I believe his name was congressman McFadden, this was in large part the reason for hobos, etc. Sounds a lot like Enron and Worldcom, doesn't it? And today we have politicians using taxpayer's money to go on vacation in Ireland, backing special interests that hurt the livelihood of farmers, etc.

The cranberry industry spanned different eras, and 1938 was part of the social history of New Jersey. I found very little information about the history of Double Trouble. Maybe in the spring when the office is open I could find something.

Double Trouble isn't far from you, Ben.

Double Trouble may be a good place for an outing.
 

Ben Ruset

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The Depression started in 1928 and lasted till about the late 1930s. What really got the USA out of the depression was when we mobilized for WW2.

I'm also not planning any more outings. There is such a large amount of work involved, and not much return for the effort. :( But if you would like to plan one, be my guest! :)
 
J

JeffD

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"The Depression started in 1928 and lasted till about the late 1930s. What really got the USA out of the depression was when we mobilized for WW2."

And after that, there was a culture change. By the early 50's, the free marekt was given a chance to work, people were more honest and worked hard. Conservatives ruled. This was a time when for the average family, the man could go out to work and earn enough to support his family. The divorce rate was low, as was crime, and there weren't day care centers like there are now. But alas, history works in cycles. The keep up with the Jone's mentality ensued. I learned years after my family moved that a former neighbor of mine where I spent my early childhood went to jail for embezzling funds from the bank where he worked. His motivation? He wanted to buy a cement swimming pool as did a neighbor.
 
B

bach2yoga

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bruset said:
The Depression started in 1928 and lasted till about the late 1930s. What really got the USA out of the depression was when we mobilized for WW2.

I'm also not planning any more outings. There is such a large amount of work involved, and not much return for the effort. :( But if you would like to plan one, be my guest! :)
That's a shame. :( There have been a number of trips that Barry has planned, that wound up being just the two of us, and a couple that were just three of us.

I was up at Double Trouble back in August with a friend and our children and will swear to my dying day and on my grave that I found bear tracks, though Bob at the time said he would eat his hat if that's what they were (he was not there, did not see them). Would have liked to have seen that! :wink: The tracks were 20 cm. x 10 cm, with 4 toe pads and 4 claws (sometimes the 5th doesn't show), and matched my track finder in all respects. It was pretty cool.

Renee
 

Teegate

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I would have like to have seen that also...along with Bob eating his hat !

If you have even noticed Ed's dog tracks, they can easily be confused with a Bear.

Guy
 
B

bach2yoga

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TeeGate said:
I would have like to have seen that also...along with Bob eating his hat !

If you have even noticed Ed's dog tracks, they can easily be confused with a Bear.

Guy
They resemble the front foot, yes, but not the hind. The hind look completely different, with a long heel in addition of the palm and toe pads and claws. I don't believe any of the canine family has that. There were both front and hind prints there, with the hind print overlapping the front. The front prints of a bear are smaller than the hind, only about 11.5 cm long, which could be a really large dog, like Ed's dogs, but what clinched it in my mind was that the hind prints were also there, quite distinct, and a full 20 cm (I measured them). If I hadn't seen the hind prints I'd aquiese that they were canine.

Renee
 

Ben Ruset

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bach2yoga said:
That's a shame. :( There have been a number of trips that Barry has planned, that wound up being just the two of us, and a couple that were just three of us.
You never know, I may come out of retirement yet. Still, there doesn't seem like there is any shortage of planned outings coming up. Jeff sounds like he has a great idea for one, and Bob Blanda has his Atsion Trash cleanup day coming up as well. Plus my rescheduled outing on March 15 will still happen, even if it is only two or three people.

I have a few pinebarrens related projects of my own simmering that are taking up some of my time. Running this site alone takes 1-2 hours a day, if only in research for upcoming articles or looking for new photos to post.

I don't mind it though, the site is almost like a labor of love for me.

Wow, this was really off-topic. :)
 
J

JeffD

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Bears in Double Trouble? It's bearly possible.

I mentioned the joke awhile back on another thread about the guy who went bear hunting. Yeah, a guy went bear hunting, and when he came to a fork in the road and saw a sign that read HUNTING GROUNDS BEAR LEFT, he turned around and went home.

This would be a good time to find bear tracks. Tracks aren't limited to wet areas but everywhere there is snow. That is, of course, if the bear had come out of hibernation from its cave. I don't know of any caves in the Double Trouble area, or in the Pine Barrens for that matter.

A few months ago I remember hearing on NJ 101.5 about a problem with bears. I don't remember if it was in New York State or New Jersey. If a bear shows up where people come regularly, it certainly could find its way to the Pine Barrens. Double Trouble's site says that beavers can be found at Double Trouble. Beavers generally stay far away from civilization.

There are well preserved artifacts at Double Trouble, not just the buildings, but reminants of operations at the town. Along a stream where I started to hike after I backtracked to get on the other side of the stream, I saw some kind of thing-of-a-bob in the stream on the edge of the village, that evidently had something to do with the cranberry industry. I just wish I could find more information about Double Trouble. Here the village is intact, and you could imagine what life may have been like when Double Trouble was in full swing.