Thunder in the Pines

MarkBNJ

Piney
Jun 17, 2007
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The day started out with such promise. I went in on Bryant and over Woodmansie to catch Lauries Road south, for no other reason than that I came in from the north on 539 and wanted to get the hell off pavement. I decided to jog up to Old Halfway and take some pics with the new camera. It was the calm before the storms: 79 degrees, sunny, too breezy for the flies.

Standing on the south rim of the pits I heard the whacks of a hatchet coming from the other side, so I drove over. A couple of trucks were parked there and as soon as I approached a young guy near the tree walked quickly over to one of them and stared intently into the bed. I pulled around and came back and snapped a quick couple of pics. You can see the tree he was chopping on to the right of the dark truck's bumper. Idiot.



Headed down Lauries to Crawley/Sooy's Rd. I spotted these growths on a young tree. I've seen them many times before but I have no idea what causes them.



I made a left on Baptist, since I had never been out that way before. I stopped and tried to get some shots of this amazing sunlight dappling the moss in a cedar bog. I didn't quite capture it, but this is the best of the results.



Not far down from there, after the road becomes Long Causeway. a little road kicks back up to the northwest and runs alongside a lake on the Plains Branch. It's a pretty little lake, with a dock on the far side.



Here's a zoom of the dock.



I followed this road a little further northwest. It was tight, and with a lot of moguls and some good puddles. The sand went from cafe au lait brown to iron red as I travelled north. I took a side road around into this pit, and was really struck by the color of the sands. The whole area is littered with chunks of iron-bearing sandstone.



Back to Long Causeway and south, I turned the corner on Jenkins in front of the old Boar Stag Bogs. Not sure who runs them now. I had received a call from my buddy in Cherry Hill warning me that severe storms were on the way. Looking out across the bogs it seemed like my spell of good weather had run its course.



The qualities of the light as the storms approached and the sky darkened further were really amazing, so I stayed and snapped as long as I felt safe.



The storm was really rolling in fast, and there was a lot of lightning. Very energetic cells we had this afternoon. But the light was so intriguing I just didn't want to leave.



Finally I tossed the camera back in the truck and headed south on Jenkins. Just as I got past the bogs and into the pines all hell tore loose. I decided to head back to the bog. I didn't want to be way out in the open, but I didn't want to be in the pines if the winds kicked up as I expected they would.

I parked near a corner of the bog for a few minutes. My friend called back and said I was probably in for at least an hour of it, so I decided to head out again. Drove out on Jenkins and Lake Oswego Roads in torrential rains and really violent lightning. One strike hit the woods directly to the left of the truck, close enough that the flash and crack were totally simultaneous. Exciting stuff.

Eventually I got back to 563 and headed over to Atsion, where my friend has a cabin rented for the week. We met up there and kicked our feet up on the screen porch while the rain fell. Best ending I could have asked for :).
 

bobpbx

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Oct 25, 2002
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Pines; Bamber area
Cool storm photos.

It's odd-sounding to me to hear the road names. I don't know any road names in the pines (hardly anyway). I go by memory and sight. Looks like you were on the Red Road down by Sim Place. The lake is on Nature Conservancy property.
 

Ben Ruset

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Oct 12, 2004
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Bob may be able to fill in more details than I can, but I think those growths on the trees are caused by a virus. The cedars get it really bad - their growths splinter the trunks and it really looks disgusting.
 

Boyd

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Jul 31, 2004
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That dock is the former site of a house on The Nature Conservancy property - we have referred to it as "TNC House" in other threads here. I took this photo from the dock a few years ago.



That's one of my favorite spots in the pines, but when I tried to go there last year I didn't want to chance going through a huge puddle in my car. Will have to try going in the other way (from Penn State Forest) next time.

If you follow the trail that begins there you will come to a fantastic moss filled cedar swamp - some photos here: http://gallery.njpinebarrens.com/showgallery.php/cat/395

Yesterday was great - I love a good storm when I'm home with nothing in particular to do :) I was out in my woods as it approached and it was quite dramatic - your pictures do a great job of capturing that. Before the storm rolled in it was 82 degrees, and so humid it was stifling. Within a half hour or less the temperature had dropped to 68 degrees and it remained pleasant after the storm passed. I'd say it lasted about an hour, and there was around an inch of water in my wheelbarrow afterwards.

We really needed the rain, it's been very dry at my place all summer.
 

MarkBNJ

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Jun 17, 2007
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Long Valley, NJ
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Thanks for the background, Boyd. I'm surprised that is TNC property as the gate was standing open and there were few if any signs or markings. Unusual for them, unless someone has been removing their signage.

I only know the names of the roads because I have the GPS running in the truck, and usually plan my general route on Google Earth the night before. The road running up by the lake (the Red Road you referred to) is unnamed in the map data.

I wonder if that sand pit is the remains of some workings, or whether that is just the way iron sands present themselves in the pines. I'm thinking the former.
 

grendel

Explorer
Feb 24, 2006
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Fredericksburg VA
That dock is the former site of a house on The Nature Conservancy property - we have referred to it as "TNC House" in other threads here. I took this photo from the dock a few years ago.



That's one of my favorite spots in the pines, but when I tried to go there last year I didn't want to chance going through a huge puddle in my car. Will have to try going in the other way (from Penn State Forest) next time.

If you follow the trail that begins there you will come to a fantastic moss filled cedar swamp - some photos here: http://gallery.njpinebarrens.com/showgallery.php/cat/395

Yesterday was great - I love a good storm when I'm home with nothing in particular to do :) I was out in my woods as it approached and it was quite dramatic - your pictures do a great job of capturing that. Before the storm rolled in it was 82 degrees, and so humid it was stifling. Within a half hour or less the temperature had dropped to 68 degrees and it remained pleasant after the storm passed. I'd say it lasted about an hour, and there was around an inch of water in my wheelbarrow afterwards.

We really needed the rain, it's been very dry at my place all summer.
That sunset pic is unreal.
 
Oct 25, 2006
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Great all around pics Mark.

Where there any 4 Wheelers going through the muck at Old Half Way ?

How were the bugs ?

Jim
 

MarkBNJ

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Jun 17, 2007
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Long Valley, NJ
www.markbetz.net
There were no 4wd's actually down in the pit, James, although plenty of evidence that they have been ignoring the signs and tearing it up down in there.

Bugs-wise it varied. In the lowlands further south the flies were very heavy, whereas up at Old Halfway there were virtually none.
 

Teegate

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Sep 17, 2002
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Great shots! The water is really low at that dock compared to all the times I have been there.

Guy
 

woodjin

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Nov 8, 2004
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Near Mt. Misery
Cherry trees are particularly prone to galls.
Here are some pics of the cabin that used to be next the dock before is was demolished.





Jeff
 

GermanG

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Apr 2, 2005
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Little Egg Harbor
Those growths look more like burls than galls to me. Galls are most often caused by insects and are created by the tree but stimulated by a chemical from the insect larvae for the protection of the insect rather than the tree. Burls are normally much larger than galls and are the result of a pathogen or environmental factor disrupting the cambium of the trunk, where all the growth occurs. This results in the grain growing all over the place in a wild fashion. The wierd grain causes some burls to be prized by woodworkers for bowl turning and veneers. The tree in the pic kinda looks like a black cherry. If that's the case, the growths could also be Black Knot disease, which is caused by a fungus. I'm not sure but I think the growths cause by Black Knot might also be referred to as burls.