The Upper Batsto

woodjin

Piney
Nov 8, 2004
4,283
243
1,043
Near Mt. Misery
I live near the upper reaches of the Batsto river (north of Carranza). A couple weeks back I had a chance to get back in there. Access to the river in this area is very difficult. No roads or trails exist anymore that meet, or boarder it's banks. A stark contrast to the many access points on the batsto further south/east. This area of the batsto is as forsaken and lonely as the southern portions are popular and well traveled.

Working my way to the river required a great deal of crawling on my hands and knees in tick infested woods. Arriving at the river I was surprised at how narrow it was. It's banks are muddy and blowdowns? Well, check out the photos:







Too many blowdowns to kayak, and too muddy a river bottom to walk in waders. I think I might attempt it with an old truck inner tube. There is something to be said for a challenge...one that has kept it very largely ignored for a very long time.

Interestingly, I found what appears to be an old cord road (very old) leading right to the river. Note the cut on the log in the foreground.



Here is a closer pic of the cut log



another cut log at the batsto.



Jeff
 

BEHR655

Piney
Feb 19, 2003
2,711
5
1,018
Merchantville, NJ
www.behr655.smugmug.com
Nice report Jeff and beautiful pictures. I had the good fortune to kayak the upper Batsto last week the section between Hampton Furnace and Quaker Bridge. A very nice section and much more wild than the lower section. Not as wild as where you were though.

Steve
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
21,619
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Always nice to go where most people don't, and some goods finds along the way too!

Thanks Jeff!

Guy
 

Ben Ruset

Administrator
Site Administrator
Oct 12, 2004
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Asbury Park, NJ
Nice trip. Always interesting to find the old cord roads. I don't think there's a spot in the Pines that humans haven't been to.
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,228
1,687
1,093
Pestletown, N.J.
Nice work Jeff.
About 15 years ago our sportsmen's club was considering relocating to the upper Batsto River area.
The old Rosedale Gun Club (not related to the one in Pestletown) sat on the south side of 532 right near the headwater and was for sale. I would imagine it is still there.
Additional land was available from the Philadelphia Herpetological Society too, if I remember correctly.
Ultimately it was too wet for our range and facility needs and we felt that we would lose a lot of our older members because of the longer drive.
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,228
1,687
1,093
Pestletown, N.J.
Did some research at work just now.
The land is still owned by Rosedale Deer Club and PHS.
It is block 1502 lots 6&7 in Tabernacle Twp.
In your front yard Jeff.
I don't know if it is still for sale though.
 

woodjin

Piney
Nov 8, 2004
4,283
243
1,043
Near Mt. Misery
Yes, I studied the tax maps near my house. That land is no longer for sale. Other than Rosedale and PHS, alot of that land in there is owned by Quail Inc, which I believe is the incorporated name for the goose pond gun club. Of course the state owns alot as well. the bog system in there is very old.

Jeff
 

jerimichelle

New Member
Sep 20, 2008
13
0
1
This area of the batsto is as forsaken and lonely as the southern portions are popular and well traveled.

Working my way to the river required a great deal of crawling on my hands and knees in tick infested woods.
Wow! Now that is what I call commitment.

Too many blowdowns to kayak, and too muddy a river bottom to walk in waders. I think I might attempt it with an old truck inner tube. There is something to be said for a challenge...one that has kept it very largely ignored for a very long time.
Shame about all those blowdowns. Curious though, how muddy is 'too muddy for waders'?
 

woodjin

Piney
Nov 8, 2004
4,283
243
1,043
Near Mt. Misery
Curious though, how muddy is 'too muddy for waders'?
Too muddy for waders would be mud deeper than my hip waders. Chest waders would be an option but they are cumbersome and besides, once you are up to your hips in mud you're not anywhere fast anyway. I suspect in many spots, there is probably at least a foot or more of mud depth below the water, which adds to the depth you are sinking in. Very typical condition in the pine barrens. Seems like it is either firm sand underwater or deep mud. Not much inbetween.

Jeff
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
11,214
1,910
1,093
Pines; Bamber area
Did some research at work just now. The land is still owned by Rosedale Deer Club and PHS. I don't know if it is still for sale though.
PBX did a trip in 2002 entitled "Begin the Batsto". We went from near the boot camp upstream to find the source of the Batsto until we ran out of flow. We graciously received permission from Cutt's Cranberry bogs to cross their property, but the gun club told us NO! :argh:

I really wanted to see some of the impoundments they have back there. But, I changed the route a bit. After they told us no I didn't want to be on their stinking property. Here is the trip report below.

====================================

Its quite likely that none of the members who went on this trip can ever
again cross a bridge over the Batsto River, however small that bridge,
without thinking of the time they traveled upstream to the source that
warm day in May, 2002.

Trip members were the main crew; Bob Bruneau, Bob Moyer, Phil
Iapallucci, Joe Wszolek, Mike Baker, Doug Cook, and Paul Follman.

The weather was 55 and sunny when we started out about ½ mile from the
boot camp. We stayed close to the river at first, passing through a
hardwood swamp, yet able to walk right along the bank. We were walking
in a normally wet area for most of this trip, but it was bone dry. The
drought ain’t over yet.

It did not take us too long to be channeled away from the river sort of
natural like by the vegetation that started to clog our way. At one
point we were actually thrust out into a path that ran through the
lowland pine forest on the west side. The path, according to Mike, ran
straight to Carranzza Road. Not wanting to be cheaters, we took a deep
breath and plunged into the vegetation towards the river again. We
thrashed, and cursed, and sweated, and thrashed some more until we had
the river in sight.

Again we stayed in sight of the river as long as we could, but you know
what? We were eventually forced out again to the path, which we
gleefully took the last 150 yards to Carranzza road and the bridge.

After a short respite, we followed a dirt road north just west of the
river till we came to a tributary by a burned out area. We crossed the
burn area and headed by blind instinct to the water again. We followed a
fire cut for awhile, and then plunged into the thicket again until we
again sighted the mighty Batsto once again. At this point the river
still seemed the same size.

At this point Joe and Paul took the lead for what seemed like a mile
through close-quartered hardwood swamp. We ended up at a high beaver
dam. Paul took the initiative (and the guts I might add) to cross it
carefully to the other side. Only thing was, we weren’t going up that
side of the river, so we had to call him back. Sorry Paul-nice
acrobatics though.

We headed north again, looking for the second tributary upstream from
where we stood. It became more and more dense as we went upriver, and my
compass became a worthless piece of trivia. Enter one mightily prepared
explorer, the world traveler, the man of the hour and everyone’s
trekking friend, Mr. Bob (don’t leave it at home if it fits in the bag)
Bruneau. Thanks to Bob and his GPS (I gotta get one now) we eventually
found the first tributary, which was close enough to the target one that
we just had to cross to the other side at this opportunity.

Now Phil took over at this most excruciating point in the trip. We
needed a fearless point man and he fit the bill perfectly. We had to
fight, and crawl, and grovel our way out of that swamp, but Phil was up
to the task. He beat back all comers and goers and other diverse
vegetation such as greenbrier, huckleberry, magnolia, laurel, red oak,
and young cedar. We emerged onto a dim trail all hot and nasty with
about 20 ticks on each of our bodies (no kidding).

We headed down to Goose Pond, but left it quick since it was privately
owned and we were woefully exposed. We backtracked and ate a quick lunch
while pulling off the ticks. We had enough of the briar for a bit, so we
took that dim trail north along the river about a half-mile till we came
out on route 532 and some semblance of civilization. We walked over the
bridge to regroup and plan our attack on the bogs across the street,
where the water was a’ coming from. The river at this point had dwindled
to about 30” feet wide and 6” deep.

We crossed 532 and headed along the bog dikes until they petered out.
The way ahead blocked by a formidable thicket of young cedar, we turned
west a bit into the surrounding forest and skirted the barricade nature
had thrown in our way. We made a smooth arc back to the stream when the
coast was clear. Now the creek was really small. It was down to about 20
inches wide, and the current was barely visible. It branched off several
times along the bogs, we always chose the strongest looking branch.

Now we followed it along the final dike. It lay there like a puddle as
we walked north along a wide bog dike. We could see that the abandoned
bog along the creek was really a seep for the whole river. This did not
look like a bog that was ever actually planted. They scraped the ground
clean, and forgot to plant. The river had no oomph in it to fill it up.
There was a puddle of water in the low spots, and we surmise it was
seeping slowly out of the aquifer. At the end of the dike, the flow just
about stopped. We had come to the edge of a cedar swamp that seemed to
feed both the Batsto and Friendship Creek, which hurries along towards
the Rancoacas.

While the others sat and cooled off along the bank where it all begins,
Mike and I walked about 50 yards further, till the water actually ended.

Trumpets sounded in the distance and the clouds parted to reveal angels
singing the song of the Batsto. We had found the source of all those
canoe rides and flower hunts we enjoy.

Although I did not reveal it to the other members, at that time I was a
little out of my head from being dehydrated. It had turned 70 degrees
while we walked, and I needed more water than I carried. Not to worry
though, I was among friends and I found consolation in the fact that if
I truly needed help, they were there.

We found a dim trail that led north and made it to a road that led back
to Sooy Place right by the cars.

Some events of this trip;

a.) Joe and I saw a large black racer and Paul found a northern water
snake (Paul swears it too was a racer).

b.) Found immature Lady Slippers and Turks Cap lily.

c.) Saw a huge snapper in the bog that looked as big as a midget scuba
diver.

d.) Found a large dead snapper that Doug wanted to eat. We wouldn’t let
him.

e.) One member got 12 tick bites (any others want to fess up?).

One thing was disappointing to me; there were no savannahs or nice
flower bogs this far up the river.

We averaged a score of 8 on this one. Some liked it better than others.
Mike rated it higher than most. Which is surprising since he lugged that
tripod all day. I swear I have yet to hear Mike complain about
anything……way to go Mike.

It was a good trip, and one for the memory books……………Bob.
 
Apr 6, 2004
3,114
176
1,043
Galloway
woodjin said:
Very typical condition in the pine barrens. Seems like it is either firm sand underwater or deep mud. Not much inbetween.
Yep, that seems to be the case. I got a measurement of five feet of peat thickness across the river from my house. Don't want to get stuck in that muck.
 

woodjin

Piney
Nov 8, 2004
4,283
243
1,043
Near Mt. Misery
PBX did a trip in 2002 entitled "Begin the Batsto". We went from near the boot camp upstream to find the source of the Batsto until we ran out of flow. We graciously received permission from Cutt's Cranberry bogs to cross their property, but the gun club told us NO! :argh:

I really wanted to see some of the impoundments they have back there. But, I changed the route a bit. After they told us no I didn't want to be on their stinking property. Here is the trip report below.

====================================

Its quite likely that none of the members who went on this trip can ever
again cross a bridge over the Batsto River, however small that bridge,
without thinking of the time they traveled upstream to the source that
warm day in May, 2002.

Trip members were the main crew; Bob Bruneau, Bob Moyer, Phil
Iapallucci, Joe Wszolek, Mike Baker, Doug Cook, and Paul Follman.

The weather was 55 and sunny when we started out about ½ mile from the
boot camp. We stayed close to the river at first, passing through a
hardwood swamp, yet able to walk right along the bank. We were walking
in a normally wet area for most of this trip, but it was bone dry. The
drought ain’t over yet.

It did not take us too long to be channeled away from the river sort of
natural like by the vegetation that started to clog our way. At one
point we were actually thrust out into a path that ran through the
lowland pine forest on the west side. The path, according to Mike, ran
straight to Carranzza Road. Not wanting to be cheaters, we took a deep
breath and plunged into the vegetation towards the river again. We
thrashed, and cursed, and sweated, and thrashed some more until we had
the river in sight.

Again we stayed in sight of the river as long as we could, but you know
what? We were eventually forced out again to the path, which we
gleefully took the last 150 yards to Carranzza road and the bridge.

After a short respite, we followed a dirt road north just west of the
river till we came to a tributary by a burned out area. We crossed the
burn area and headed by blind instinct to the water again. We followed a
fire cut for awhile, and then plunged into the thicket again until we
again sighted the mighty Batsto once again. At this point the river
still seemed the same size.

At this point Joe and Paul took the lead for what seemed like a mile
through close-quartered hardwood swamp. We ended up at a high beaver
dam. Paul took the initiative (and the guts I might add) to cross it
carefully to the other side. Only thing was, we weren’t going up that
side of the river, so we had to call him back. Sorry Paul-nice
acrobatics though.

We headed north again, looking for the second tributary upstream from
where we stood. It became more and more dense as we went upriver, and my
compass became a worthless piece of trivia. Enter one mightily prepared
explorer, the world traveler, the man of the hour and everyone’s
trekking friend, Mr. Bob (don’t leave it at home if it fits in the bag)
Bruneau. Thanks to Bob and his GPS (I gotta get one now) we eventually
found the first tributary, which was close enough to the target one that
we just had to cross to the other side at this opportunity.

Now Phil took over at this most excruciating point in the trip. We
needed a fearless point man and he fit the bill perfectly. We had to
fight, and crawl, and grovel our way out of that swamp, but Phil was up
to the task. He beat back all comers and goers and other diverse
vegetation such as greenbrier, huckleberry, magnolia, laurel, red oak,
and young cedar. We emerged onto a dim trail all hot and nasty with
about 20 ticks on each of our bodies (no kidding).

We headed down to Goose Pond, but left it quick since it was privately
owned and we were woefully exposed. We backtracked and ate a quick lunch
while pulling off the ticks. We had enough of the briar for a bit, so we
took that dim trail north along the river about a half-mile till we came
out on route 532 and some semblance of civilization. We walked over the
bridge to regroup and plan our attack on the bogs across the street,
where the water was a’ coming from. The river at this point had dwindled
to about 30” feet wide and 6” deep.

We crossed 532 and headed along the bog dikes until they petered out.
The way ahead blocked by a formidable thicket of young cedar, we turned
west a bit into the surrounding forest and skirted the barricade nature
had thrown in our way. We made a smooth arc back to the stream when the
coast was clear. Now the creek was really small. It was down to about 20
inches wide, and the current was barely visible. It branched off several
times along the bogs, we always chose the strongest looking branch.

Now we followed it along the final dike. It lay there like a puddle as
we walked north along a wide bog dike. We could see that the abandoned
bog along the creek was really a seep for the whole river. This did not
look like a bog that was ever actually planted. They scraped the ground
clean, and forgot to plant. The river had no oomph in it to fill it up.
There was a puddle of water in the low spots, and we surmise it was
seeping slowly out of the aquifer. At the end of the dike, the flow just
about stopped. We had come to the edge of a cedar swamp that seemed to
feed both the Batsto and Friendship Creek, which hurries along towards
the Rancoacas.

While the others sat and cooled off along the bank where it all begins,
Mike and I walked about 50 yards further, till the water actually ended.

Trumpets sounded in the distance and the clouds parted to reveal angels
singing the song of the Batsto. We had found the source of all those
canoe rides and flower hunts we enjoy.

Although I did not reveal it to the other members, at that time I was a
little out of my head from being dehydrated. It had turned 70 degrees
while we walked, and I needed more water than I carried. Not to worry
though, I was among friends and I found consolation in the fact that if
I truly needed help, they were there.

We found a dim trail that led north and made it to a road that led back
to Sooy Place right by the cars.

Some events of this trip;

a.) Joe and I saw a large black racer and Paul found a northern water
snake (Paul swears it too was a racer).

b.) Found immature Lady Slippers and Turks Cap lily.

c.) Saw a huge snapper in the bog that looked as big as a midget scuba
diver.

d.) Found a large dead snapper that Doug wanted to eat. We wouldn’t let
him.

e.) One member got 12 tick bites (any others want to fess up?).

One thing was disappointing to me; there were no savannahs or nice
flower bogs this far up the river.

We averaged a score of 8 on this one. Some liked it better than others.
Mike rated it higher than most. Which is surprising since he lugged that
tripod all day. I swear I have yet to hear Mike complain about
anything……way to go Mike.

It was a good trip, and one for the memory books……………Bob.

That was a great trip report, and very nicely written. Something I would expect to read in a great explorer's journal. That must have been before I was in PBX, sorry I missed that one. You guys went pretty far in some rough country there.

Jeff
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
11,214
1,910
1,093
Pines; Bamber area
That was a great trip report, and very nicely written. Something I would expect to read in a great explorer's journal. That must have been before I was in PBX, sorry I missed that one. You guys went pretty far in some rough country there.

Jeff
Yes it was prior to your time Jeff. But nobody moves through the woods like you do. For you it would have been a walk in the park.
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,228
1,687
1,093
Pestletown, N.J.
Yes it was prior to your time Jeff. But nobody moves through the woods like you do. For you it would have been a walk in the park.
Bob,
Is Phil Iappalucci a lawyer/judge?
If its the same guy, he sits at my table every week at my gun club meeting.
I will have to strike up a PBX conversation with him if it is him.
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
11,214
1,910
1,093
Pines; Bamber area
Bob,
Is Phil Iappalucci a lawyer/judge?
If its the same guy, he sits at my table every week at my gun club meeting.
I will have to strike up a PBX conversation with him if it is him.
HA! Small world. He is a lawyer. Shorter guy, about 5'5"? Is very opinionated?
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
11,214
1,910
1,093
Pines; Bamber area
That's him.
He wasn't at our meeting last night but he is usually there.
He had a heart attack several years ago, so he slowed down. He would barrel through the briars and come out the other side all ripped up, bloody, and grinning.

Have some fun with him about this.