Most Remote Area in the Pines

Ben Ruset

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I've been doing a lot of thinking and wanted to start a thread to see what other people thought. What do you think is the most remote area in the Pines?

A big part of me wants to say the Forked River Mountains area, but they're so damn close to big towns, and a LOT of people go there. Maybe the Great Swamp?

Or, do you think that the Pine Barrens can be considered "wilderness" since civilization is usually no more than a few miles away from any spot?

That's a question that's stumping me...
 

Badfish740

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bruset said:
Or, do you think that the Pine Barrens can be considered "wilderness" since civilization is usually no more than a few miles away from any spot?

Interesting topic...honestly I've not done enough exploring of the more remote areas to really weigh in but I think partially you're right. I mean let's face it-it's not like the Pines can be compared to somewhere like Alaska where the most efficient way to reach some places is by hiring a bush pilot. However, it is quite possible to sit in the middle of Wharton State Forest and feel completely and utterly cut off from civilization. Not to mention the fact that it's entirely possible to get completely disoriented and hopelessly lost in the Pines. Of course I think you also need to factor in the topography-dense undergrowth, near impenetrable swamps, and a confusing landscape. I'm sure some spots, despite their being located in the middle of an extremely densely populated state, just don't see that much human activity simply because it's difficult if not damn near impossible to get there even by walking.

I really enjoy the Pines for two reasons-one is I would venture to say that 60% of New Jerseyans (most of those living up here in the north), not to mention the rest of the eastern seaboard, don't know or care about the Pines-its just a bunch of trees and sand they pass on the way to the shore. They truly are New Jersey's best kept secret in a lot of ways. Second, there's just something I like about the fact this state is so small yet it contains and is close to so much. On a Saturday I can hunt pheasants at Colliers Mills and on a Sunday I can hop a train to New York City to catch a Broadway show...variety really is the spice 'o life.

Long story short? I'm not really sure...lol
 

suresue592003

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Apr 4, 2004
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Well laugh all you want...but when I lived at Friendship my father had called me and my mom outside in the dark to hear this noise. I still remember hanging on to my mom"s pantleg and hearing the panting and wailing comning across the bogs. My dad who lived in the pines all his life said he had never heard anything like it. The last time I heard something even close to that sound (which is embedded in my memory forever) was during a trip to Nash's cabin. It was dusk when me and a friend went on what was surpose to be a short hike to see bobcat scrapings. My son waited in the truck. A long story short...we ended up taking the wrong turn and it got dark. Real dark...and now we were far away and pretty much lost. My son never answered our screams. But something did. Running we back tracked, stopped half way and heard it yell again. This time closer. We agreed, it was following us. Being a woman...this was not a good time of month for me and alot of stuff was racing through my head. I don't know what was going faster, my thoughts or my legs! Finally my son, racing through the pitch swampy blackness found us. I couldn't believe his courage. I never dreamed he would venture out of the safety of the truck. At this point we were almost back to the truck. We wasted no time getting out of there. This was the closest thing I have ever heard to the mystery screams of Friendship bogs. This is why I vote Nash's cabin as the most remote place in the pines.
 

Badfish740

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I'm not laughing. I've been to some scary places but the Pines at night is just downright spooky. I don't know whether it's all the Jersey Devil stories I heard as a kid or what, but as beautiful as it is out there once the sun goes down it's a much different place, that's for sure.
 

Teegate

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As for a general area such as The FRM, or Martha, or Friendship, that is all debatable. But for specific spots that is much easier. The word "remote" for the pines should be how easy or hard it is to get in or out of an area. So I have two places that I would say is the most remote.

The first and the most remote is where I was a few weeks ago in the cedar swamp by Jackson road. By far! The second one is the area a few of us members hiked along the Tulpehocken. To get to it you have to wade through water, or cross the stream on downed trees, or by luck find the cedar bridge that someone built. That area fascinated me as soon as I saw it.

Guy
 

Boyd

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Gerania

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Boyd said:
Hmm, would that be "most remote" or "most secluded"... or "most inaccessible" maybe? :)

I would place a much more subjective slant on it... places which seem like the end of the earth, where it's hard to remember you're in New Jersey. It probably doesn't meet your definition, but this general area seems "remote" to me:

http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=39.772868,-74.465933&spn=0.022316,0.037422&t=k&hl=en

If you pan north from there across 72, there's a group of clearings which from the air look like scattered alphabet letters. Must be NJ's version of crop circles.

Gillian
 

Boyd

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Yeah, I've noticed that "alphabet soup" before on terraserver... fascinating!

The area I'm thinking of is not far from Spring Hill, in the vicinity of Sooey Rd - see here also: http://terraserver.microsoft.com/image.aspx?T=2&S=12&Z=18&X=681&Y=5504&W=2

If you hike out there in the vicinity of Goose Pond it seems very remote also. I always enjoy wandering in that area around Penn State Forest and the Pine Plains, and like what Scofield, Green and Zimmerman said about it in their book "Fifty Hikes in New Jersey":

"There is nothing else in New Jersey that compares with the incredibly expansive vista created by five-foot-tall stunted pine trees. The chapparal-like combination of white sand and clumps of green is reminiscent of both the high southwest deserts and the Cape Cod dunes"

This area seems to get the author's vote for "most remote" as well:

"With the exception of an occasional military transport plan taking off from McGuire Air Force Base to the north, this section of the forest is about as remote as you get in the Pine Barrens."
 

Oriental

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Gerania said:
If you pan north from there across 72, there's a group of clearings which from the air look like scattered alphabet letters. Must be NJ's version of crop circles.

Gillian

Does anyone have any idea what those clearings are? I wonder if they are "feed strips" put there by deer hunters in the area. Anyone know?
 

Ben Ruset

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Those are "rye strips" - placed by the state for the deer hunters.

A very common thing in the Pines. Greenwood WMA is full of them. Howardsville is almost one big rye strip.
 

Gerania

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I haven't spent any time down there, haven't been to the pond. Sometimes the illusion of remote is good enough. Last year I decided to go to Bear Swamp Hill for the first time. I made a wrong turn. I later figured out that I was on Cabin Road and had spent half an hour/45 minutes walking along what was probably a deer trail. It seemed pretty remote to me at the time, no cars, no people, no noise, no *trash*?!

Gillian


Boyd said:
Yeah, I've noticed that "alphabet soup" before on terraserver... fascinating!

The area I'm thinking of is not far from Spring Hill, in the vicinity of Sooey Rd - see here also: http://terraserver.microsoft.com/image.aspx?T=2&S=12&Z=18&X=681&Y=5504&W=2

If you hike out there in the vicinity of Goose Pond it seems very remote also. I always enjoy wandering in that area around Penn State Forest and the Pine Plains, and like what Scofield, Green and Zimmerman said about it in their book "Fifty Hikes in New Jersey":

"There is nothing else in New Jersey that compares with the incredibly expansive vista created by five-foot-tall stunted pine trees. The chapparal-like combination of white sand and clumps of green is reminiscent of both the high southwest deserts and the Cape Cod dunes"

This area seems to get the author's vote for "most remote" as well:

"With the exception of an occasional military transport plan taking off from McGuire Air Force Base to the north, this section of the forest is about as remote as you get in the Pine Barrens."
 

Teegate

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Boyd said:
"There is nothing else in New Jersey that compares with the incredibly expansive vista created by five-foot-tall stunted pine trees. The chapparal-like combination of white sand and clumps of green is reminiscent of both the high southwest deserts and the Cape Cod dunes"

This area seems to get the author's vote for "most remote" as well:

"With the exception of an occasional military transport plan taking off from McGuire Air Force Base to the north, this section of the forest is about as remote as you get in the Pine Barrens."

They must be trail hikers, because there are more remote places than that.

Guy
 

Boyd

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Hey, don't make that sound like such a put-down... I'm generally a "trail hiker" myself! :) I have been known to wander off occasionally, but I'll leave it to you guys to pick the ticks off and tell us stories about how many hours you spent wandering around lost in the swamps... that just ain't my idea of a fun afternoon ;)

One way you might measure "most remote" would be looking at those maps and satellite photos and imagining a circle that touches paved roads around its circumference. Where could you draw such a circle and have the greatest radius (distance from the nearest paved road)? As you zoom out you realize that there are very few places where you could be more than a few miles from some sign of civilization.

But when you look at some of the vistas from Spring Hill you get the feeling that you're out in the middle of nowhere, with almost no sign of humanity between you and the horizon. I've brought several people up there and they were all surprised to find such a place in New Jersey. I think that's what the authors had in mind, and not some hidden corner of a lonely swamp...
 

Ben Ruset

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What prompted the kernel of this question in my mind was that I had started reading "Into the Wild" by John Krakauer, which is about the true story of a kid who wasn't much younger than I am who decided that he had had enough of the "material" life and took off for a life on the road.

The front of the book sums up the story:

"In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked into the wilderness North of Mt. Mckinley. His name was Christoper Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later his decomposing body was found by a moose hunter..."

It's always been a dream in the back of my head to do nearly what Chris did. Since I have responsibilities and all, I can't take off for Alaska, nor can I die. So I wanted to get a feel for being as far away from civilization as I could for a brief amount of time. The best (and for the most part) safest place is the Pine Barrens.

I have some of my own ideas of the most remote areas, but I just wanted to gather other people's opinions and see if there was something that I missed.

The book, by the way, is AWESOME.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t...002-4763496-0854406?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
 

bobpbx

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Yes, I read that book twice, and the article in "Outsider" magazine. Very interesting. I thought I remembered that name when you mentioned it. He had a 22 rifle when he got dropped off for the trek, I believe, and lived in an abandoned bus.

There is also a book called "Artic Daughter" that I highly recommend about a young woman and a guy who head north from Fairbanks (I think) and live along a wild river system for awhile.
 

Gerania

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wilderness - 1 a (1) : a tract or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings (2) : an area essentially undisturbed by human activity together with its naturally developed life community b : an empty or pathless area or region.

remote - 1 : separated by an interval or space greater than usual
2 : far removed in space, time, or relation.

By definition, uncultivated, uninhabited, essentially undisturbed, parts of the Pine Barrens could be considered a wilderness. Remote, that one is a little harder to come by. With so many roads and trails into the woods and all of the people with 4WD, dirt bikes, even hikers, do you think that you could get far enough away to *feel* as though you were in the wilderness? Excluding aircraft, even the sounds of civilization could rather ruin the whole thing.

A thought, don't camp too near the water. People are instinctively drawn to it, pond, stream, swamp, whatever. If anyone is passing through the area they'll stop to look at the water feature. The water may be the reason that they are there.

Other than the Pine Barrens, regionally, I'd consider something off of tha AT. If you pick a difficult trail section between two shelter/designated camping areas and head off trail into a good sized forest, you probably would find some peace and maybe even some quiet.

Gillian
 
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