To paraphrase the Great Willy Nelson, "I'm on the Trail Again! The turning planet has brought us back to sunshine, warmth, and almost completed work on thawing the ice and snow that clogged the trails and made them dangerous. Now, my hiking buddies and I can get back into the woods. Don't mistake me, we hiked the woods most of the winter because it is a "tick free" time, but when the snow came, then melted and turned to ice and new snow on the ice, we had to give it up. Well, I had to give it up. My intrepid buddies, the two Barbs, Barbara Solem, and Barbara Spector, don't let anything stop them from hiking the woods. And with YakTrax, you are pretty safe.
Most recently Barb Spector and I hiked around Cooper River, but it was less than successful because it began to rain, and because the utility trucks doing work there, keep their engines running filling the air with noxious and poisonous carbon monoxide. On top of that, it is NOISY! So much traffic goes around that park that if you are used to the silence of the woods, it is irritating rather than meditative. Still, it is a good stretch from our usual 3 mile hikes in that it is 4 miles, and I'm always grateful to the beautiful new Marina for providing the clean restrooms at the halfway mark.
Now, I have done favorites before but I'll do it again today:
My favorite hiking trail is Pakim Pond and the Cranberry Trail at Brendan Byrne. I think this is the prettiest pond I've ever seen and in season, the pitcher plants are along the pond trail. The Cranberry trail can be as long as you wish to hike. I think it is 3 or 4 miles to the ranger station. We usualy hike by time, as in half an hour out and half an hour back or longer in good weather and well functioning legs.
This link will give you directions and also directions to Whitesbog, another favorite hiking area of mine, especially in the late summer when the cranberries are ripening. Use the web directions by all means, but to give you an idea, it is out route 70 then 72.
Barb Spector's favorite hiking trail is Parvin State Park
Parvin State Park is down near Pittsgrove, Elmer and Upper Pittsgrove off Almond Rd.
This is a nice 3 mile trail also boasting a public lavatory and a cheery family swimming lake in the summer.
Barb Solem's favorite hiking trail is Atsion Lake
Barb also has organized tours of Atsion Mansion in the spring and summer on Saturdays, thanks to help of a loyal band of volunteers and the cooperation of the Parks system.
A favorite fo both Barb Spector and me is the Maurice River Bluffs hike. Definitely go to the site for directions, but it is in Millville, out Silver Run Rd. There are several marked trails with a nicely varied terrain and gorgeous views of the Maurice River.
We like to make a day of it with lunch at Wildflowers Vegan Restaurant, and a trip to Bogart's Book Store to stock up on reading material and have a nice coffee after an afternoon on the trails. Sometimes we are lucky enough to get there when there is music.
We hke many many other trails, Goshen, Forsythe, Cox's Creek, and dozens of others, but these are our favorites. And when the ticks come out, Barb Spector and I like to do the Hunter's Glen bike trail, and the parks in Collingswood, Knight's Park, Newton Creek, and Audubon Lake in Haddon Heights Park. That way we stay out of the tick territory. Also now that the thaw has come, I'd like to try the Rails to Trails up at Wrightstown near the railroad station that used to be a charming museum.
There is also a trail a Bordentown I'd like to hike again.
And of course if you want to drive further north, the Delaware Canal trail up at Washington State Park is nice in spring, summer and fall.
We picked Batsto for today because Barb Solem spends a lot of time in the woods and her prediciton was that the Batsto hiking trail she prefers is higher and more well drained so less likely to be full of puddles and mud. I'll let you know after it's over.