Hackensack River Canoe &
20th Annual Halloween Pine Barrens Overnight Camping Trip
by Martin W.
Saturday & Sunday, October 25-26, 2014
Well, the HRCKC hit another milestone! Beside celebrating the Club's 30th year anniversary this upcoming February, we also completed our 20th... yes, our 20th Annual Halloween Pine Barrens overnight camping trip over the Oct. 25 - 26th weekend on the Mullica River in the Joisey Pine Barrens.
No blizzards, no major super-storms, no plague, no pestilence or Vikings in Speedos, but we did have Dave after several years of his absence.
The weather was absolutely perfect, but the peak of the autumn leaf color was just about a week or so past. Water level was low but as always - passable.
Surprisingly, we did have an extremely lite turn-out this year in comparison to previous years. Only nine members came on the trip - Joe W., Rico P., Monica O., Phil B., Cory W., Dave M., Robyn L., Jim M. and myself.
First day of the trip is always the long day, but we did it good time and got to the campsite with plenty of daylight left. As a bonus, on the river we ran into two paddling celebrities... 23 time open canoe whitewater champion and canoe designer - Harold Deal and canoeist and author of Garden State Canoeing, Keystone State Canoeing and Maryland and Delaware Canoe Trails this area's paddler's bible of guidebooks - Ed Gertler! If I had a marker I would have asked him to autograph my canoe.
We shared the river and the Mullica Wilderness site that weekend with members of the Mohawk Canoe Club, the Philadelphia Canoe Club and quite a few backpackers so it wasn't exactly desolate, but I must say - if one gets a bunch of canoeists (and OK... kayakers too) - you're going to have a rabble-rousing party!
Monica brought out her Halloween decorations, Phil carved a Jack-O-Lantern, Robyn brought her fuzzy plastic black cat, Cory almost knocked Phil's eye out with a misfiring large caliber sausage and Monica was kept awake all night to the sounds of snoring from the surrounding tents.... (wasn't me.. I don't snore. I know because once I stayed awake all night to see if I snore. Well, I didn't!).
Dave kept falling off his camp chair for some reason and Monica kept saying a certain four letter word that started with "F" to me while describing some kind of Greek food she made. It sure tasted good and I've been called worse. After sitting around the campfire, snacking on stuff and imbibing on certain forbidden elixirs... "You're kiddin', it's only 8:30"?... we slowly drifted into our tents with full bellies and not too sound of mind.
Next day we got an early start on the river for the shorter 2nd day's paddle. The wind picked up a little but it was not much of a problem. Take-out at Pleasant Mills, a 20 minute walk back to the cars at Batsto Village and another HRCKC Halloween trip came to an end.
With luck we'll have a 21st Halloween trip next year.
Attached are links to photographs taken by Monica and myself and a video by Rico.
> Photos from Monica
> Photos from Martin
> Video from Rico