Sunday, June 8, 2008
Zero risk hike from Atsion
The safest and most accesible point to visit the pine barrens is Atsion,N.J. Located on U.S. Route 206 it is a perfect place to park a vehicle safely.There is a state ranger station right there.Hike the sand road past the ruins of the mansion of Samuel Richards,a bog iron magnate from the 1800's.Shortly you'll come upon the tiny Atsion church and it's graveyard with headstones from the 1800's.One inscription reads "Though to Sight Lost,To Memory Dear."Hike on and shortly come to the abandoned N.J. Central RR.When built,it connected Camden on the Delaware River and The N.J. Seashore.Turn left and you could hike for miles on the abandoned railbed through a true untouched wilderness.Or you can continue on the sand road and go for 20 miles before you reach the old center of the bog iron industry of the pine barrens,Batsto.The uniqueness of the pine barrens will impress you.From Atsion to Batsto the sand road follows the left bank of the Mullica River,canoeable from Atsion to the Sea.I personally have canoed the Mullica River many times from Atsion to Batsto and beyond.I can highly recommend it.All areas I have previously described are part of Wharton State Forest,so it is public land that anyone can enjoy.As an alternative,a public swimming beach is directly across Rt. 206 on Lake Atsion,formed by a dam under Rt.206.