strangeness in a cedar swamp

woodjin

Piney
Nov 8, 2004
4,274
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Near Mt. Misery
After spending the morning with Guy, Jessica, and Chris (Hewey) we parted ways and I spent some time investigating something that has been bugging me for a long time.

There is a cedar swamp along the north branch of Mt. Misery brook and right in the heart of that swamp is a circle of non-cedar growth. I came across it looking at aerial photos and I was trying to figure why it was there. It has always been there going back to 1930. What was it? Hmmm. today I found out.

http://maps.njpinebarrens.com/#lat=39.91692031566155&lng=-74.44158911705017&z=17&type=nj2007&gpx=

take a look at MSN birdseye for a more descriptive photo.

Anyway, the cedar swamp was extrememly dense, it was a tough go



My GPS was useless in this swamp and was sending me in several wrong directions when it did work, so I finally abandoned it and did it the old fashion way. Meanwhile, I got around the swamp pretty good. small spungs were everywhere, especially with these high water levels.



this is an un-named spur of mt. misery brook. From the thick of the swamp, I would say it is witnessed seldomly.



I came acros this. A cedar that had apparently been rubbed by deer. However, there was no deer path leading to it, and no other rubs around, also, it was about 5' high from the base and that base sat up on a small hummock. Jersey Devil perhaps? rubbing his still ever growing horns?



there also appeared to be verticle scratches that penetrated the inner bark. This was deep in the swamp.



I feared that my destination was going to turn out to be a maple/blueberry swamp. but when I finally got there I was in for a surprise. Suddenly the elevation increased dramatically and I was surpised to find monster mountain laurel, large pines, sassafrass and sour gum. The understory was quite clear and what appeared to be teaberry covered the ground, however there was no fruit which seems unusual. There was green brier but it was not overwhelming.

Some of these shots were taken from an old tree stand, the only one I found in the area.






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This was interesting. Your eyes are not decieving you. It is an american Holly as tall as the pines. Huge. There were several very large hollys and mountain laurel nearly two stories high.


Here is my glove, to the left on one of the massive holly trunks.



So, in conclusion, I would guess that this abnormal, or unusual inconsistancy within a dense cedar swamp was at one time an island in a once larger watershed. As the water levels lowered (for whatever reason) the cedar took over, but were unable to overtake the highest elevations of the island.

Any other thoughts on this would be welcome.

Jeff
 

bobpbx

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Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
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Pines; Bamber area
I agree with all that you said Jeff, including the Jersey Devil sharpening his horns on that tree.

I have been nearly there, but my target was different. Do you see that patch of savanna below the end of that sand road to the right of your Island? I was trying to reach that to see if any orchids were growing there. That area is mighty, mighty tight.

What you found was a virgin Island of plants untouched by the fires that sweep through there. The Cedars protect the Island from burning.

Good exploring Jeff.
 

Boyd

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Jul 31, 2004
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Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
I came acros this. A cedar that had apparently been rubbed by deer. However, there was no deer path leading to it, and no other rubs around, also, it was about 5' high from the base and that base sat up on a small hummock. Jersey Devil perhaps? rubbing his still ever growing horns?
There are some cedars on my own land just like this. On a couple of them, the stripped bark is way up high - 20 feet maybe. Proof that the Jersey Devil can fly! :jd: But seriously, what causes this? Seems like squirrels or birds are the likely culprits. Or could it be some kind of insect?

Nice report Jeff and some great photos also!
 

Mudtrudger

New Member
Feb 4, 2009
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Coastal Monmouth
Great pics, Woodjin, I wish I had been with you.

I assume you came in from Butler Place Road on the west. If you examine the aerial from 1930, note the old road running from the cranberry operation on the North Branch going east within a few hundred feet of your island. It went to the Buckingham Road coming up from the area around Pasadena, just south of the crossing that I was told was called Mary's Bridge or Crossing.

About 15 years ago, I tried to find some evidence of that road, without much luck. There would have had to be a bridge of some kind or a ford to cross the southern branch that comes from Goose Pond.

I came in from the east following what may have been the route of that road and entered the cedars from that direction. I found your island but no sign of the road on the north side of it. I didn't continue west to Butler Place Road, but crossed the stream and exited to the north.
 

Teegate

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Sep 17, 2002
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Nice exploration Jeff! If I did not have to get home I would have loved to go.

Guy
 

Hewey

Piney
Mar 10, 2005
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Pinewald, NJ
Nice report. I wish I would have had some more time to explore on Sunday, Looks like I missed out on a great spot.

Chris
 

woodjin

Piney
Nov 8, 2004
4,274
244
1,043
Near Mt. Misery
Great pics, Woodjin, I wish I had been with you.

I assume you came in from Butler Place Road on the west. If you examine the aerial from 1930, note the old road running from the cranberry operation on the North Branch going east within a few hundred feet of your island. It went to the Buckingham Road coming up from the area around Pasadena, just south of the crossing that I was told was called Mary's Bridge or Crossing.

About 15 years ago, I tried to find some evidence of that road, without much luck. There would have had to be a bridge of some kind or a ford to cross the southern branch that comes from Goose Pond.

I came in from the east following what may have been the route of that road and entered the cedars from that direction. I found your island but no sign of the road on the north side of it. I didn't continue west to Butler Place Road, but crossed the stream and exited to the north.
that is interesting, Mudtrudger. Yes I did enter from Butler Place Road. If you examine some other photos from other dates you might see why finding the 1930 road might have been so difficult (photos on historicaerials.com) In 1940 the road you mention seems nearly gone. Then there was major cedar harvesting in the 50's, maybe into the 60's. I think the cordoroy roads and serious cutting during that time period pretty much erased the road you are seeing in 1930.

I did enter from the north so I had to have crossed that road. There were two inncidents where I was crossing a old cordoroy roads. They were too overgrown to depict by photo. The cedar in there seem young, I almost think it was cut more recently. I could see many, many stumps of more mature trees. this stump was larger than it seems in the photo


thanks for bringing that up. That certainly is interesting. How did you know of that road. Did they have those historic photos available 15 years ago? Or were you accessing some other resource?

Jeff
 

Mudtrudger

New Member
Feb 4, 2009
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Coastal Monmouth
Until I found the 1930 aerial on this website, I had no knowlege that the road existed, which is why I didn't continue to look for it. I thought that there was evidence that it existed in the remnants of sand roads along the south of the bogs west of Butler Place Road and also going west from Mary's Bridge along the south side of that eastern-most feeder of North Branch.

Back then, I was leading some crazy hikes in the area and this was one of my favorite areas and I was always looking for new routes across the streams.

By the way I got the name Mary's Bridge from Chris Bethman, but have never found any other reference for it.

Do anyone have any info on when Butler Place Road first crossed North Branch?