Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Original trip description:

Post-Thanksgiving Paddle Pine Barrens Overnight

The date is Sat and Sun after Thanksgiving.

Upstream on the Batsto River to Lower Forge Camp on day 1. Downstream to Batsto Village on day 2.

The river is narrow, winding, has frequent obstructions and is ice cold.

Participants should have good single paddle skills, be able to eddy hop and hug the shore while maintaining a speed substantially higher than the opposing current, otherwise you will never reach camp.

Camping is primitive, no picnic tables, no fire rings, little firewood to be found, no potable water available in camp. It's just an open area with a single outhouse. It's on a high bank well above the river so dampness is reduced. However it is more exposed to the wind.

The pace is brisk. We plan on having a hot lunch in camp in spite of the fact we will be paddling upstream against the current.

The food should be good. No pot luck, but with plenty of time in camp to grill steak or reheat the turkey, we should eat well.

The weather/ has cooperated in past years, but a steady cold rain is cause for postponement. Trip parameters could be altered for single days of rain. We go if it snows!

The dress code /is simple. Dress warm! Skinny-dipping at camp is allowed, but a wetsuit is a far far better choice when paddling, especially traveling upstream when the chances of a mishap are increased. PFD's are mandatory on the river.

Alcohol is prohibited by park rules.

Post-Thanksgiving Paddle Pine Barrens Overnight
by Larry Pohl

Sat-Sun, November 26-27, 2011

The weather was cool but otherwise perfect. We had twice as many participants as expected. Because half of the participants had never done any serious upstream paddling, we put-in farther upstream than usual to reduce the chance that those new to upstream canoeing, and not wearing a wetsuit, would stop to rinse out a few things. We made sure that a rescue trained paddler was nearby the newbies, just in case, but it turned out to be unnecessary. Other than being a bit slow they did quite well and made it to camp reasonably quick, without mishap.

Mike, of course, had the best menu. I suspect the elaborate dinner was primarily to justify bringing four different stoves, all using a different fuel.

The night was cool, but nowhere nearly as cold as the sub-freezing night before in Bodine's field where those that drove down the day before camped.

Day 2, the downstream day, went smoothly. We took long breaks to stretch out the day, finishing in a sunset paddle across Batsto Lake.

Those heading north, took the back roads all the way up to exit 9 on the Turnpike to avoid the Sunday backups, with just a short detour to a Long John Silvers for dinner.