Overnighter

grendel

Explorer
Feb 24, 2006
561
2
18
Fredericksburg VA
Took my son and nephew on a camp out last saturday. We parked at Atsion and hiked back to a spot not far from lower forge. The weather was perfect, sunny, cool ,and no bugs at all. I was really suprised at how dry it was. We spent some time out by Mannis duck pond and it was almost dry. I have never seen it so low.The ground was muddy and had this stange "bouncy" feel to it, our feet sank in about an inch but I could easily push a five foot long hiking stick into the mud all the way to it's top in places.
It was full of animal tracks though, we even found a set of bear track across the middle. In fact when we left I discovered that I had set my backpack down in a nice pile of bear scat. Luckily it was dry enough that it didn't stick. The night was cold and brightly lit by a nearly full moon. We built a very small fire and cooked hot dogs and marsmellows for dessert.
My son is only seven and he got a little scared when we heard some coyotes in the distance. This was his first camp out in the pines. I have had him out all over Virginia but the pines spooked him a little. I got up early enough to watch the sun rise. This is one of those times when I wish I had the writing skills to capture the moment.
It was foggy but the cedars were backlit with orange light and there was just enough autumn colors to catch the eye. It is amazing how fast the scene changes as the light grows stronger and the fog burns off. It was one of those moments that you feel like you want to be a part of the scene , remember every detail. A perfect pines moment. What a treasure The pine barrens are.
I said no bugs. I hiked in and out in shorts and actually got about ten chigger bites. A small price to pay for such a show.
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
22,515
4,456
1,093
Took my son and nephew on a camp out last saturday. We parked at Atsion and hiked back to a spot not far from lower forge. The weather was perfect, sunny, cool ,and no bugs at all. I was really suprised at how dry it was. We spent some time out by Mannis duck pond and it was almost dry. I have never seen it so low.The ground was muddy and had this stange "bouncy" feel to it, our feet sank in about an inch but I could easily push a five foot long hiking stick into the mud all the way to it's top in places.
It was full of animal tracks though, we even found a set of bear track across the middle. In fact when we left I discovered that I had set my backpack down in a nice pile of bear scat. Luckily it was dry enough that it didn't stick. The night was cold and brightly lit by a nearly full moon. We built a very small fire and cooked hot dogs and marsmellows for dessert.
My son is only seven and he got a little scared when we heard some coyotes in the distance. This was his first camp out in the pines. I have had him out all over Virginia but the pines spooked him a little. I got up early enough to watch the sun rise. This is one of those times when I wish I had the writing skills to capture the moment.
It was foggy but the cedars were backlit with orange light and there was just enough autumn colors to catch the eye. It is amazing how fast the scene changes as the light grows stronger and the fog burns off. It was one of those moments that you feel like you want to be a part of the scene , remember every detail. A perfect pines moment. What a treasure The pine barrens are.
I said no bugs. I hiked in and out in shorts and actually got about ten chigger bites. A small price to pay for such a show.
Your writing skills are good enough to keep my interest. An outing that I am sure you never will forget. Thanks!

Guy
 

46er

BANNED
Mar 24, 2004
8,838
2,118
1,093
Coastal NJ
Thanks for a great report, it had me reminiscing of the times with my 2 sons. These are the times you will remember forever; time with your son and family.
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,468
2,125
1,093
Pestletown, N.J.
Mannis is probably my favorite area in the pines. To me its "deep in the pines" which is where I prefer to be.
Nice report and fine writing.
Scott
 

woodjin

Piney
Nov 8, 2004
4,274
244
1,043
Near Mt. Misery
Wow! I'm glad you and your son had such a great experience. Like others have commented before me...I think you did a great job of describing that sun rise.

Jeff
 

grendel

Explorer
Feb 24, 2006
561
2
18
Fredericksburg VA
Are you ever hassled for camping outside of designated camping areas? I practice very low impact camping and would love to pack back in the Pines but I fear hassles from the rangers.
They will only hassle you if they see you. I mean after all it is New Jersey, what can you do and not risk being hassled by the law? I figure if I get caught and have to pay a fine after enjoying many peaceful, and quite wilderness trips then it is worth the price. I also leave no trace and I am very cautious with fire. If you must have a fire dig a pit, saving all the moss from the top. Use the sand from the hole to form a fire ring. Burn only small pieces of scrub oak and be sure to burn it all. Wet the remaining coals and bury it. Then replace the moss. I have spots that I have camped in dozens of times and There is no fire trace.
The other side of the coin is a fire is the best way to get caught.
 

dragoncjo

Piney
Aug 12, 2005
1,363
96
1,028
38
camden county
Got any pictures of the bear tracks?

I agree with grendel rangers will hasle you just to hasle you.....nobody is allowed to just enjoy the pines for fun and relaxation in their minds.....there always so suspicious it makes you feel guilty for being there sometimes.

I remember the days I spent with my dad in the woods....there is really no better father son time than that.
 

grendel

Explorer
Feb 24, 2006
561
2
18
Fredericksburg VA
Got any pictures of the bear tracks?

I agree with grendel rangers will hasle you just to hasle you.....nobody is allowed to just enjoy the pines for fun and relaxation in their minds.....there always so suspicious it makes you feel guilty for being there sometimes.

I remember the days I spent with my dad in the woods....there is really no better father son time than that.
No pics. I am sure they are still there, they were cutting across the pond south to north just about in the middle. We tracked up the place pretty bad, but we followed the bear string without stepping on them. They were old tracks and were made at a time when the mud was sticky and sort of peeled off a sandy base.You could still make out the hind foot and front foot though. The bear was walking, alternate track pattern- front back front back. Small bear, hind prints were maybe 6-7 inches. The scat I found was also small, not much more than dog size, full of hair, seeds and some kind of grass heads.
 

kayak karl

Explorer
Sep 18, 2008
495
79
28
64
Swedesboro, NJ
Stealth camping

Are you ever hassled for camping outside of designated camping areas? I practice very low impact camping and would love to pack back in the Pines but I fear hassles from the rangers.
i feel the same way. i do not like STEALTH CAMPING. i ALWAYS pay my $2 and set out for a site. if i do not make it to a wilderness site i know enough not to have a campfire, in at dusk and out at dawn and call Batsto and tell them i did not reach site and give GPS or map coordinates to where i am.
Just my opinion :)
 

grendel

Explorer
Feb 24, 2006
561
2
18
Fredericksburg VA
I just don't enjoy camping, or doing anything else really, when I know I am in violation and subject to getting rousted at any time if I'm unlucky.
I agree.I am thinking of all the reports on this site of rangers going through tents, coolers, vehicles, and any other private property which has surrendered that status by being at a public campsite in the state of NJ. I also hate being rousted. In the eyes of the rangers everyone is in violation the moment they set foot on state poperty.
You are on the right side of this issue. I break the law and deserve to be punished. Also most folks are better off staying out of the deep woods, if everyone camped off trail there would be brush fires every weekend. It is amazing how every other state manages to survive primitive camping.
 

BlueMoonMuskrat

Explorer
Sep 12, 2008
138
0
16
the public campsites are few and far between. i don't condone it, but camping off of the trail is the way to go. of course, always using safe camping practices like being very careful with the fire, not destroy any live plants or trees, and carry out all trash.

the public camp sites seem way too large and open, and anyone in a vehicle can just drive right up to you.
 

kayak karl

Explorer
Sep 18, 2008
495
79
28
64
Swedesboro, NJ
Fire

The resent fire is a good example why NJ should not allow stealth camping. how would they find campers?, where are they? it would be a big waste of time. AND if somebody is is in those woods and dies, i guarantee they will sue NJ. its the nature of the beast today. we asked for rules to protect us (voting), we got them. now we need to follow them. the pine are delicate, lets HELP preserve them. pay your fee, have fun and pass it on to our children. :)
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
22,515
4,456
1,093
I suspect that stealth camping has caused little if any fires. Party fires and arson fires would be my guess as the culprits most of the time when the fire is remote.


Guy
 

woodjin

Piney
Nov 8, 2004
4,274
244
1,043
Near Mt. Misery
I agree with Guy on this matter. The law is justified of course, but responsible camping, as Grendel has practiced, poses little threat. I agree it should not be encouraged for the masses however.

I don't think anyone, whether camping or hiking,legal or illegal, has any legal grounds to sue the state over injuries sustained in the woods.

Jeff
 

kayak karl

Explorer
Sep 18, 2008
495
79
28
64
Swedesboro, NJ
Sorry

I suspect that stealth camping has caused little if any fires. Party fires and arson fires would be my guess as the culprits most of the time when the fire is remote.


Guy
Sorry. I was not insinuating that stealth camping caused the fire. low-impact campers are probably the most considerate of all. but when there is a fire their first concern is PEOPLE and to get campers out of the woods. they need to know where they are. i wish we could camp anywhere, even if it just meant give a rough coordinate you would be at. it only takes a few to ruin thing for the rest. my hat goes off the our NJ Rangers, they have a hard, hard job (and short handed). i just follow the rules to make it easier on them.

it would be nice to have some spots we could camp on the Batona trail for people hiking end-end:rolleyes:

Hike Safe