Wharton State Forest

Last weekend, the family and I visited Batsto Village.  We were short on time, so we didn’t get to explore the hiking trails.  I’ve been itching to go back all week!

Luckily, we were graced with some amazing weather this weekend.  I was comfortable outside in just a light weight, long sleeve shirt.  That meant we could squeeze in at least one more hiking trip this year!  We headed back to Wharton State Forest with Megan, Dave, and Charlie.  Daniel had to work, so he did not accompany us.  Sometimes I hate his work schedule.

Megan had never been to Batsto Village.  That meant we had an excuse to walk around a bit before heading off into the Pines.  I didn’t snap any photos of the village itself, because I took so many last time.  Well, I lied.  I did take a few of the lake.  Last time we were there, it was windy.  Yesterday, everything was still.  The water was like glass, so pretty!

Batsto Lake Panoramic

 

Water Like Glass

 

Soon, though, we were heading into the forest!

Hiking Trail Map

Map Courtesy of http://www.njhiking.com

We walked the Orange Tom’s Pond Trail and the Blue Batsto Lake Trail.  Both are 1.8 miles long and clearly marked.  We were VERY impressed with how well they were marked.  Sometimes it’s easy to get turned around on trails.  These both had markers close enough together that we could spot the next one as soon as we reached one.  This is good for someone with no sense of direction….. like me.

The Orange Trail was easy, a pine needle covered flat trail.  It wound it’s way through sections of pine forest and wetlands, staying along the stream for most of the trip.

Trail

Part of the Orange Trail

Bridge

The bridges and boardwalks through the wetlands were very well maintained.

View

One of the streams along the Orange Trail

Pine Cones

Of course we saw lots of pine cones along the trail….

The Blue Batsto Lake Trail was a little more challenging.  There were some areas of elevation changes that were a bit steep.  It wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle, though.  It traveled along the lake for a while before veering off into a wooded area.  The scenery was amazing!!  Although the ‘scenic overlook’ left much to be desired.

House Reflection

Scenic Overlook

This is the view from the ‘scenic overlook’ marked along the Blue Trail on the map.

Amazing View

The sun sets so early these days!

Cool BranchThe Pine Barrens is a one of a kind ecosystem.  Back in prehistoric times, it was completely underwater.  This caused the area soil to be sandy, acidic, and very nutrient poor.  Not many things grow there, but the things that do are pretty awesome.  Along the trails, we saw many of the things that make the area so unique.

First is the fires.  Many of the plants depend on fires to reproduce and grow, specifically the Pitch Pine.  From what I understand, they do controlled burns regularly to conserve the ecosystem.

Burnt Trees

Scorched Trees

The area has a high population of cedar trees along its waterlines.  The cedar roots dye the water like tea.  It makes the water so dark; it’s almost impossible to see more than a few inches into the water.  I can’t even describe how creepy this is.  My imagination keeps telling me things that may live under that water.  EEP!

Cedar Water

That sand is less than two inches under the water the whole way across.

One of the coolest things, in my opinion, is that the nutrient poor soil makes it an ideal place for carnivorous plants to grow.

Pitcher Plants

These are Pitcher Plants. They’re leaves contain a pool of an enzyme that digests insects.

After we were finished hiking, we sat on the grassy area beside the parking lot for an hour or so.  Charlie had been in her carrier the whole time and was itching to run!  She had fun chasing Spike and playing with Trinity.  Megan, Dave, and I had a nice time talking and re-hydrating while they played.

Spike

Spikariah had fun hiking!

Jansport

I’m just sharing this photo because I like it. It really doesn’t add to my story. It was nice not to be carrying that backpack anymore, though!

Trinity was sad that we failed to spot the Jersey Devil this time as well.  Although, she did say that, because he is nocturnal, she was not expecting to see him.  We did spot some very large horse tracks.  We didn’t think anything of it until we realized that horses were not permitted on the Orange Trail.  Trinity insists that they have to be Jersey Devil tracks.  He does have horse-like legs.  You never know!

We’re pretty excited to head back to the Pine barrens at some point in the spring.  There are many State Forests in the area, which means there are many more areas to explore!

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About pamasaurus

"I have learned to keep to myself how exceptional I am." ~Mason Cooley I'm a married stay at home mom living in Southern New Jersey. I have one daughter, one son, and three furbabies. I love to cook. I love to craft. I love to sew. I just.... love to create in general. I also am pretty fond of adventuring, of exploring new places. I'm shy when I first meet people, but once I'm comfortable with them, you can't shut me up. I'm crazy and silly. I have an unhealthy obsession with dinosaurs.
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17 Responses to Wharton State Forest

  1. espirational says:

    What a beautiful place to hike!

  2. msdulce says:

    I had no idea pitcher plants grew wild in the U.S.! Those- and of course the prospect of seeing the Jersey Devil- make me want to head to Wharton Forest. I think Trinity had the right idea… those hoof tracks are clearly suspicious…

    • pamasaurus says:

      Yeah, they have a whole bunch of carnivorous plants growing there! I didn’t realize it either until I went there last weekend!

      You’ll definitely have to take a trip down this way! It’s not too far for you, and so worth it! The area is really amazing, and who knows, you might see JD!

  3. I love that I got to look at really amazing photos and learn something new! Thank you. Spike is adorable, by the way! You are a very gifted photographer!!

  4. Ross Ramsey says:

    Great photos!! I’m currently living in the desert and I really miss the forest. This was a nice get away for me thanks!

  5. Dianty says:

    Great pictures! I wish we had cooler places around here to visit! I think I need to do some researching this winter so we have some roadtrips this summer.

    • pamasaurus says:

      Thanks! I’m sure there’s some awesome stuff near you. I keep finding new things within an hour drive that I didn’t know existed! Google is your friend 😉

  6. Those are some excellent pictures! I especially love the one first of the lake – beautiful!

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  9. Yummygal says:

    Nah. No Jersey Devil is going to get ya! Cedar water looks yucky, but it’s very smooth on your skin. I like the pitcher plants you ran into! I love the Pineys with their diverse ecosystem. You have to see a Tree Frog they are a treat!

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