Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Batona Trail Day, Day 2 - Route 72 to Route 532

Tuesday Morning, 7:00 am, finds us playing Keystone Cops on Route 72. As Patty and I head to the rendezvous point, we pass Joe pulled over on the side of the road. So we turn around and head back. He's ok, just unsure where the trailhead is.

We turn back around and head back down 72 and zoom right by the trailhead. We eventually realize this, turn around, and watch Joe go by, still heading down after us.

Eventually we get it sorted, meet up, and prepare to head down to drop off the return car. But instead, we decide to leave a car here, at Route 72, drive down to Route 532, and walk back. South to north today, mixing git up (and a bit concerned about the weather forecast).

Joe had scouted out where the trail intersected Rt. 532 after yesterday's hike. "It's at the big B", he said. And so it was.

This portion of the trial was recently (for large values of "recent") rerouted to go through the Franklin Parker Preserve.

For the almost the entire way the trail was clear and wide. A nice walk for sure.

And it was obvious in spots that it had recently undergone maintenance.

Although there was still some work to be done.

Hmmm, either there was once a building here and all that remains is the mail box. Or someone thought this would make a good trail marker and brought it out here. Whatever, it worked.

We got our daily dose of mushrooms ...

... deer prints ...

... Indian Pipe ...

... antlions ...

... and spider webs.

And spiders were not the only web weavers this day (alas, we have these in the yard also, defoliating our Elderberry bush).

Franklin Parker was once a cranberry farm, and there are several lakes along the way.

Water once used for harvesting the berries.

Now home to fish, fowl, and other wildlife.

And flowers. Count the water lilies in this image!

And that water had to be moved around the bogs.

Which meant bridges.

Plenty of bridges.

Our initial plan had been for the day two to be from Route 72 to the Carranza Memorial, a twelve mile hike. Instead, we did but seven miles. This turned out to be a good plan because as we past the five mile mark the clouds started rolling in.

And after a rest stop, with yummy home made peanut butter cracker sandwiches from Joe, we were racing the rain.

So off we went ...

... across another bridge (watch that first step)...

... through fields of Sweet Pepperbush ...

... navigating a maze through a cedar swamp ...

... we beat the rain with just steps to spare. And it really started to rain when we got back to the car where we started.

This was a very nice hike. Well marked wide trails, except for a bit of tall, and no doubt chigger infected, grass at the Route 72 end. And from what I gather, much better than the previous route.

Tomorrow we head out for Carranza, alas sans Joe.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Batona Trail, Day 1 - Ong's Hat to Route 72

And so it begins ...

7:00 am Monday morning we arrived at the trailhead. There we met our friend Joe and after driving to the other end and back, leaving a car for the return trip, took this selfie before starting out (I need to work on my selfie technique). Our original plan called for this leg of the trek, at 9.4 miles to be the shortest leg.

It was a perfect morning to begin our adventure, cool and sunny.

The trail was well marked, especially at the start, with pink blazes. It would be well marked and well maintained throughout.

And off we went.

Right off the bat we encountered things that would be our daily companions. Like these antlions.

And Indian Pipe.

Deer, and evidence thereof, was ubiquitous.

Mushrooms were along ...

... and in the trail. Look closely to see all the mushrooms in this image.

Arachnophobes would not enjoy the hike, as webs, and web makers, were everywhere.

We tried not to walk through to many webs, but it was impossible not to.

We saw no other traffic of any kind. The only other people we saw were at Pakim Pond, but that was a ways off yet.

And there were other ponds to see along the way.

While there was not the stunning scenery that we had in Iceland, the trail had its own subtle beauty.

Large and small.

We wandered through a variety of habitats. Wet and dry.

Pine, Oak, Pine-Oak, and Cedar.

The aforementioned Pakim Pond.

Nearing the end ... Joe's car in the distance.

A great start. A perfect day for a hike. Good company and and good trail.

Tomorrow we hike through the Franklin Parker Preserve, in a relatively new section of the trail.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

If You Build It ...

... Frogs will show up!

Less than a week ago I installed a small pond in our bench garden. You can read about it here: Bench Garden Pond (snappy title, right?).

Already we have three Green Frogs enjoying the new pond.

Which is what we were hoping for. Very cool.

Walking ... The Batona Trail

For my birthday we were in Iceland where, in addition to some touristy type things, we did a six day trek across the southern volcanic highlands.

But that's a topic for a post [series of posts] on another day.

After we got back Patty was itching (!!!) for something to do. "Why don't we hike the Batona Trail?" she suggested.

The trailhead is maybe three miles from our place as the crow flies, and five by car.

The other end is a bit over fifty-two miles away, across three state forests, Brendan Byrne, Wharton, and Bass River, as well as through the Franklin Parker Preserve.

Our plan was to hike the trail in sections, based on where we could leave our cars, taking a week to do it.  52 miles divided by 7 days works out to about 7.5 miles a day. As our guide from Iceland, Frimann, would say, "manageable".

We'll see.