Couple of Batona Trail Questions

Kevinhooa

Explorer
Mar 12, 2008
332
25
28
36
Hammonton, NJ.
www.flickr.com
Maggie,

Some areas seemed to have more blazes than others. I'm sure they might be maintained by different folks in different areas, especially as help comes and goes over the years. This trail intersects with so many roads, I really didn't mind the frequency of the blazes so much.

I did see a bit of trash, but picked up what I could that was smaller along the way. That seems to be typical these days in the areas of heavy traffic in the pines though, especially around the river drop-offs.
 

manumuskin

Piney
Jul 20, 2003
7,483
1,550
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55
millville nj
www.youtube.com
It could be that the people doing the blazing have never been taught the proper way to blaze a trail or possibly it could be other people not belonging to the club doing their own blazing because it's their favorite section and they feel there wasn't enough blazes.Also many folks do not know how to read a map and so are totally dependent on the blazes and may have complained there weren't enough. The way I understand it there should be about one blaze per 100 yards and there should be no more then two or possibly three visible at any one time.The one your at and one in each direction and at times when the trail is clear you don't need that many.Blazes should be about 6 by 3 inches with double blazes at turns with the top blaze off set in the direction of the turn.Thee blazes denote trails end. As a not brown paint covers excess blazes well.
 

Old Crazy

Explorer
Oct 13, 2007
480
91
28
Stinking Creek, NJ
I think the higher number of blazes on the Batona Trail is due to the frequency of fire lines and dirt roads that intersect it. For people who are unfamiliar with the trail, it's really easy to wander off it in some spots.
 
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ecampbell

Piney
Jan 2, 2003
2,509
560
1,093
No, it's way over marked in sections. Many times on both sides of the trail while walking in the same direction. Mile markers are starting to appear too. The cutting up of every small tree that falls across it. Not much of a wilderness experience any more.
 
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NJChileHead

Explorer
Dec 22, 2011
695
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It could be that the people doing the blazing have never been taught the proper way to blaze a trail or possibly it could be other people not belonging to the club doing their own blazing because it's their favorite section and they feel there wasn't enough blazes.Also many folks do not know how to read a map and so are totally dependent on the blazes and may have complained there weren't enough. The way I understand it there should be about one blaze per 100 yards and there should be no more then two or possibly three visible at any one time.The one your at and one in each direction and at times when the trail is clear you don't need that many.Blazes should be about 6 by 3 inches with double blazes at turns with the top blaze off set in the direction of the turn.Thee blazes denote trails end. As a not brown paint covers excess blazes well.

I'd venture to guess that many people are putting the map and compass aside for the GPS on their phone, and maybe in some places folks are losing their signal, becoming disoriented and this is compensation for it?
 
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MikeBickerson

Explorer
Feb 8, 2004
740
258
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37
Barringtonl, NJ
www.southjerseytrails.org
At the risk of sounding like a total ingrate, which I don't want to be but uncomfortably recognize that I might be (since I am a user but not a maintainer of the Batona Trail), does anyone share my dismay at the over-blazing of this trail? I have stood in certain places along the trail and been able to count at least 12 visible paint marks only by moving my head. There might also now be a wooden block on a tree declaring that I am at "mile 23.5" or whatever. Some of the blazes are a foot or more in length (i.e., obnoxiously large) . The number of blazes seems to have exploded over the last few years, and to me, it detracts from the experience in a very significant way.

Like I said, I do feel like a #$%& for saying this, because of course I am grateful for the people that maintain the trail. But why are so many paint blazes and other human intrusions necessary on a trail like this?
I'm not a big fan of the mileage signs, but I'll take the new overblazing over the old faded-to-being-worthless blazing that was the usual until a few years ago, because at least someone is out there keeping an eye on things. I'm no stranger to hiking in the pines or on the Batona, but there were regularly spots where the trail would simply evaporate into nothing. Combine that with this being pre-GPS and then early GPS days, and the nightmare of inaccuracy that was that terrible green map that they used to have at the ranger stations and its amazing that more people didn't need rescuing out there on a regular basis. There were stretches of miles and miles that hadn't had a whiff of pink paint for years and years and years. We used to walk around with the topo maps, because it was easier to figure out where we had to bushwack from them than from the official trail map.

The worst time I somehow ended up on a firebreak. The blazes were infrequent enough and hard enough to spot that I ended up back on the trail before I realized I had been off it, but had been turned around by the break. Never knew what happened until we passed the same tire in a puddle we'd seen miles back and it dawned on us that that tire looked way too familiar. That was not a fun day, dragging a pack of Scouts out of the woods in the rain.

Next time I did that stretch of trail, I was super careful and alert... and still couldn't figure out where the stupid trail was supposed to go. Found where I lost it the previous time, couldn't find where it was supposed to go. Ended up skipping that section with a short road walk for years after that... it was a ten minute detour and way better than trying to figure out that mess.

It's the polar opposite now, even when my brand new 11 year old Scouts are in charge of the hike, they never loose the trail. I get to tell "When I was your age" stories and they look at me like I'm crazy. :)
 

Kevinhooa

Explorer
Mar 12, 2008
332
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Hammonton, NJ.
www.flickr.com
One thing that saved us twice was having two dogs on this hike. We always confirmed a blaze before heading down a junction but sometimes the dogs seemingly picked up the scent of the previous folks on the trail and were already 10-20+ yards ahead before we figured it out. This was while mostly night hiking though.
 

Maggie

Scout
Sep 16, 2015
43
23
8
Three Bridges, NJ
It would take some doing to get truly "lost" on this trail. A few lost minutes on a road or fire plowline followed by some backtracking, that's about it.
Don't misunderstand...I really like the trail, just not so much the heavy hand of man.
 

GermanG

Piney
Apr 2, 2005
1,028
282
1,063
Little Egg Harbor
I've been involved way too often in searches for lost hikers in the last 25 years and the reasons given by the hikers for having become lost never fail to amaze me. It's normally a case of either setting off too late in the day for the trail length, which wasn't checked in the first place, or a wrong turn is taken and the sudden lack of blazes in not considered to be a problem and the hiker(s) just forge happily on until they eventually realize they are lost. I regularly hike trails all over the state and some could certainly be better-marked, but the problems are usually at intersections with other marked or unmarked trails. Going crazy with blazes between those points, either in number or in size, is not necessary and detracts from the wilderness experience. If one is hiking a blazed trail and it suddenly is no longer blazed after a reasonable distance, it's a simple matter of returning to the last intersection and searching for blazes that might have been missed the first time.

This reminds me of the recent mileage signs going up on local rivers. I'm sure that some paddlers find this a convenience, and while we are it it perhaps a mini Wawa could be placed at regular intervals along the stream, along with outfitters to supply one with extra clothes that were not thought of until after capsizing. And lets not forget emergency phones every so often along the stream, in case your cellphone gets wet due to not thinking a dry bag was worth the money either.

There are places for people who need such hand-holding while hiking. They are called malls. :)
 

Old Crazy

Explorer
Oct 13, 2007
480
91
28
Stinking Creek, NJ
I noticed all the new blazes on the Batona Trail when I was hiking it today, and I did think it was a bit excessive. But when 5pm rolled around and I still had two hours of walking before I would reach my truck, I have to admit I was happy for the extra blazes because there was virtually no moonlight and it was really dark out there tonight.
 

92 Blazer Jeff

Explorer
Aug 24, 2015
258
100
43
GLASSBORO,NJ
The mile markers on the rivers is to help find some one in the event of a emergence. They can ask what was the last marker number you past
when you call.