East Plains Wilderness, A PBX Hike

Discussion in 'Get Togethers, Events, and Trip Reports' started by Teegate, Mar 17, 2018.

  1. Teegate

    Teegate Administrator
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    All,

    On 1/31/2018 all members of PBX received this edited message from Bob.


    This trip won’t be roses and green grass. It will at times be a hard bushwack through pygmy pines and scrub oaks, those species snatching at your clothing, trying mightily to tear them off your body and fling the scraps to the wind and to the turkey vultures overhead, who will be casting an evil eye upon you, as they circle lower and lower, eager to rip and tear at your wasted flesh.

    This is all true. And I have to selfishly say, that I designed this trip because I want to be tested a bit, and to see what this wilderness is like, because we’ll be in some areas that nobody goes through on foot. Sure, we might hear the whine of a motorcycle now and then, but they have a ride out. We won’t be so lucky.

    I used to be a Costco member, of which there is one at the junction of route 72 and the Parkway. I’d often go in the door, while also peering over at the plains, which in that area begins on the side of their building (really), and wonder, “what’s it like to walk from here to route 539 through that tangle”?

    If you want to join me, we’ll likely meet on route 539, on Saturday, 17 March. We are starting at Costco (of course!), so time and exact location to meet will be determined later.

    Five miles as the crow flies men!



    Happy Trails!


    bob



    So this morning at 8:30 eight members of PBX met at the end of our hike on 539 and we then promptly drove two vehicles to the Costo parking lot to start our day. By 9:07AM we were on the move.


    In the parking lot.


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    The view from the parking lot that inspired Bob.


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    The first location we were heading to was 1 mile away. It was an old dump that I visited a few years back and mentioned it on this site. In 1931 the dump is not there in the aerial photos but by 1951 it was. It is obvious the towns in that area along the shore were using this property to dispose of their trash. However, in the 1956 aerials the state had built the Garden State Parkway effectively blocking the road to the dump off.


    1951

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    And in 1956 you can see the Parkway blocking the road.


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    And the view of a very small portion of the dump when I visited there in the past.


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    After leaving there we started to smell the controlled burning that went on today. Soon we could see a faint plume in the distance.



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    Bob decided to have a better look. He stood on my back and climbed this tree.


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    Another hour of hiking and we stopped for lunch.



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    Some of the crew.



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    Into the obyss.


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    Bob with his new backpack. Quite impressive if I say so myself. Looks well built. (The backpack that is :) )

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    And later in the day the plume was more impressive.



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    And then it was over.

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    I was most impressed with a stone hill we came upon along the route. In the past someone had mined large pieces of stone to either built foundations for homes, a fireplace, or even property stones. I will return one day to investigate further.

    Tracks to come later.


    Guy
     
    #1 Teegate, Mar 17, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
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  2. Teegate

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  3. smoke_jumper

    smoke_jumper Piney

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    Looks like a awesome hike. I wish I could have made it.
     
  4. bobpbx

    bobpbx Piney
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    Nice report Guy. I just woke up after 9 hours. It is definitely not getting easier as I age. After lunch, when I got up, I felt like I did at the "end" of hikes in my early 50's. I'll dig through my camera and see if there's anything on it.

    The camaraderie, however, gets better and better! How does that work? I had a great time with you all yesterday. That is worth everything.
     
  5. Teegate

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    You would have watched me fall into a stream. Bob took a photo after I got out so maybe he will post it later. Paul also fell in.
     
  6. Teegate

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    My knee is bruised from slamming into the stump when falling into the stream. Last night I had problems standing up as my leg kept giving out. No problems with that today but it is sore to the touch.
     
  7. Teegate

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    We saw an ATV and a few motorcycles at the sand pit and crossing one road a truck passed by us. That was it for 7 hours of walking.

    When we first met at 539 we saw a state cop pull over a car near us. He was obviously speeding. But within a minute the cop let him go. As the man drove by we realized why. It was a FFS personnel heading to the controlled burning. We would not have been so lucky.
     
  8. bobpbx

    bobpbx Piney
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    Guy had a rough second half, tumbling (literally) into a tributary of Westecunk Creek. He always takes these accidents with good nature, usually joking about them! And here is Chris showing the size of some cedars in that area. We saw many beautifully straight ones too. A very varied landscape, we went from typical pine Ocean County pine barrens, to cedar swamp, to old growth pygmy pines, to mixed forest, to gum swamp, and then to a vicious lowland swamp of ink-berry holly and swamp maple right near the end that really tired us all out. The last photo is a shot of the controlled burn from about 5 miles away. It was white smoke, so hard to see. I had read somewhere that white smoke is more likely in grassland, so the range was probably burning the meadows surrounding the runway. Just a guess.

    guy.JPG chris.JPG pristine gum swamp.JPG treeshot.JPG
     
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  9. Teegate

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    Jessica and I have been trying to learn the various types of trees and Scott spent some time yesterday telling us about Black Gum trees. If you see this type of tree with small thin branches you have a Black Gum. They usually are in wet areas and have the moss around the base as you can see in Bob's photo above. That is the same tree as in my photo. In the summer months it may not be wet around them but you can be sure that sometime during the year it will be wet.


    bg.jpg
     
  10. smoke_jumper

    smoke_jumper Piney

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    Nice size white cedar. I want go revisit a past hike where we found some big ones. Chris and I hugged one and only one hand overlapped if I remember correctly.
     
  11. RednekF350

    RednekF350 Piney

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    Nyssa sylvatica Guy. You have to remember that Bob is seeing this. :)
     
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  12. Teegate

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    I prefer Black Gum.
     
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  13. RednekF350

    RednekF350 Piney

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    IMG_2644 (2) (Medium).JPG Bulletproof, Never gonna die, Knucklehead. Words that I would use to describe myself. Until lately.
    Never had an ache or a pain or any health issues and 60 is less than 6 months away for me. However, starting in October of '17 I started having back pain, not totally debilitating but not much fun either. I am just starting down the path of seeing a doctor and I am not too excited about that either.

    When Bob planned this hike and I saw the mapping I knew it was going to be a challenge but I never gave a second thought to doing it.

    My wife joined us on this one and amazed me with her stamina and her Wallenda-like stream crossing ability. All of us plowed through gnarly cover and some of us did some unintentional swimming. (Paul and Guy) but the day will never be forgotten, as is the case with any of the hikes I have done with this group of really special friends.

    I was listing to starboard a little bit when I got up this morning but I had some wrenching to do because I had a rear caliper stick on the way home last night and I I had to replace it. It was a slow start but I actually felt pretty good and I ended up doing pads on both rear wheels and changing the oil in my wife's truck.

    The tailgate party at the end was a perfect end to the day. We had a multi-cultural celebration with Paul bringing Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's Day and me, being 50% Irish, bringing all the Italian specialties. I also brought a jug of my homemade wine that was left with a surprisingly big dent in it. :)

    Here are a few pictures of some Backwoods Jersey with the Crew IMG_2997 (2) (Medium).JPG IMG_2999 (Medium).JPG IMG_3011 (Medium).JPG IMG_E3002 (Medium).JPG .
     
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  14. 1Jerseydevil

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    Always enjoy reading about your PBX's. Usually learn something new such as black gum, always thought it was just another big "pine tree"
     
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  15. manumuskin

    manumuskin Piney

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    Hey Guy.Those monster trees in the Bear swamp that You,Bob and I visited years back were Black Gum as well.Estimated at any where from 400 to 600 years old.They are a very slow growing tree.The trip i had to cancel recently went to even bigger Tulip Poplar but their estimated at only 250 to 300 years since polar grow like weeds.
     
  16. RednekF350

    RednekF350 Piney

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    Guy's photo was taken very close to the tree and makes it look like a pine tree somewhat. Black gum bark actually looks more like a young white oak. The bark is very gray, slightly platy and usually doesn't get blocky until it gets older.

    The link below contains the most realistic photo that I could find online showing what a black gum looks like most of the time. The photographs and text are copyrighted so I am providing the entire link. Click on the picture of the leaves and go to photo number 5. Photo 6 is a blocky barked version but I usually don't see them that way until they are larger and older.

    https://www.auburn.edu/academic/forestry_wildlife/dendrology/dendrology/blackgum.html
     
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  17. Hewey

    Hewey Piney

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    Another fine day exploring the big pine woods of Jersey with my PBX friends! This was definitely one of the longer more strenuous hikes we have done in some time. Back to the PBX roots. Even with being the youngest one of the bunch, this one left me tired and sore but well worth it. A great day wrapped up with a back woods tail gate always made top notch thanks to Scott's generous hospitality.

    The old dump. You could burn hours up going through all of the old bottles. Judging by the dump contents the old timers must lived on clams, beer and Log Cabin maple syrup.
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    The old Lawrence Line, the old dividing line between West and East Jersey. Now a township boarder line.
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    Guy giving Bob a lift up in to the pine.
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    Our first water crossing. I think it is Cedar run but not 100% positive. What ever the name, it is Pure and clean.
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    Bob and Mark in a cedar swamp.
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    Chris making his way across the last water crossing, Bob in the lead safe and dry.
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    Chris
     
    #17 Hewey, Mar 19, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
  18. 1Jerseydevil

    1Jerseydevil Explorer

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    Thanks for the clarification. I was a bit confused knowing what a sweet gum is. I have one of those and quite large in the front yard complete with literally thousands of those brown spiked seed pods my feet always twist on. Nice tree but dirty and dirty until the spring when the new pods start their life cycle.

    Now I know why Guy's knees hurt and it wasn't from falling in the creek, but actually stepping in the creek to soothe his aching knees. LOL
     
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  19. RednekF350

    RednekF350 Piney

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    Black gum doesn't produce the sticker balls that you are referring to. The woods behind my house when I was a kid was 80% sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua) and the rest was red maple. Textbook deciduous wetlands.

    Not only did we have to rake leaves, we had to rake the sweet gum sticker balls too or they would settle into the grass making for a lumpy walking surface.
     
    #19 RednekF350, Mar 20, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
  20. manumuskin

    manumuskin Piney

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    Black Gum do whats known as fruit flagging.Their leaves turn early,usually maroon or purple.They turn early to alert the birds that their drupes are ripe and ready for eating so the birds can squirt them out else where and make more Black Gum.Sassafrass is also a fruit flgger.