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Wharton State Forest - Atsion - 1/1/13

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We always try to hike on New Year's Day as it's just a great way to start the year (and shake off the wine & cheese from the night before!)

For New Years we wanted a hike that we were familiar with so it didn't require any research, and our last hike here was less than a year ago [see Wharton State Forest – Atsion to Quaker Bridge Loop].

It's nice to visit new places, figure new routes, take a bunch of photos... but sometimes you want to just hike.

The pine barrens can be a great place for that. All that endless pine tends to tune everything else out – it can be almost meditative sometimes. (...or sometimes it can seem like crushing monotony if you aren't in the mood for it!).

Miles: 9.7

Continue reading "Wharton State Forest - Atsion"...

Views: 66

Comment by Linda Frank on January 17, 2013 at 1:09pm

I hate to say this, but...even though I'm closer to the Pine Barrens' area (i.e. Wharton) than I am to, say, Harriman, I'd rather travel farther to Harriman even on a short notice than to any trails down here. That crushing monotony  you mentioned is pretty near exactly what we've felt on almost any hike we've done there.  About the only saving grace for that area (for us that is) is if there were enough snow to warrant snowshoeing it.  That'd put it in a whole different perspective for us.  

Bottom line, however, is really what you said, Dawn: Sometimes you do just want to hike and when there's truly no other game[hike] in town, then almost any trail is hike worthy.  I totally understand that "just-want-to-hike" feeling.  Totally!!!  Glad to read that you were able to get out and satisfy that feeling on New Year's Day.

Linda

Comment by njHiking.com on January 17, 2013 at 3:36pm

...it was really nice just going hiking and not planning/finding a new route (...or figuring if the trail was open, or had snow, or had hunting...) for a change.

And since the trail requires so little concentration (like, not having to worry about tripping on rocks or falling off a cliff), we ended up having an in-depth discussion all day on what we were hoping to accomplish for the year... relaxing and productive. Bonus!

But if not in the mood for it, hiking the pine barrens reminds me of an old Stephen King book, "The Long Walk"...

--Dawn

Comment by Linda Frank on January 18, 2013 at 12:09am

You know, I completely agree. There's different kinds of hikes that enable what I call "The Hike Unwind": 

Ones that are so intense with constant map referrals, compass & waypoint notations; constant foot placement judgement or peering for hidden or non-existent blazes or;

Or more mind-relaxing ones that kind of just lead you along almost on cruise control.  

Both still require varying degrees of concentration.  Both can blot out everything else that cluttered your mind from the moment you set off at the trailhead.  And most importantly, both can take you to that special place one can only find on a trail.

Any trail.

Linda

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