Archive for April, 2012

Sam’s Visit and Mullica Hill Backpacking

Posted in Friends and Family, Good Times, Hiking and Camping, Vacations with tags , , on April 24, 2012 by Verge

Sam came into town to spend some time with friends for her birthday.

she brought us presents as well!

Monika got cat decals for the walls to go with the robots we already had.

I got a mixed sixer of all Ohio craft beers.  We enjoyed them throughout the week with each other.

To kick off the week of festivities, we decided to go on the backpacking trip through Wharton State Forrest I’ve been trying to make for a few years now.  It starts at Atsion Lake, and ends in Batsto.  After posting the excursion on Facebook, it was down to only four of us:  Monika, Sam, Jimmy and I.

After dropping the one car off at Batsto, paying our fees, and being firmly reminded several times there was no camp fires and no alcohol in the park, we headed to Atsion. We set off with nearly two liters of Maker's Mark and enough matches to burn down the whole forest!

This is a walking shot of the Mullica River. Now, it's used for kayaking and that's about it, but back in the day, if was a very important waterway for trade. It was used by many local mills and glass factories, and served to connect Atsion to Batsto.

Finding good walking sticks was a pretty high priority. The trail was blazed kind of poorly, and at one point we were lost for a few miles. Not too big of a deal, though. I had my phone and a decent GPS signal, so we found the site no problem.

The first leg to the campsite was 6 miles.  Once we got there, it was down to tent building and what not, so I don’t really have any pictures.  We were the only ones staying for the night, which is just the way I like it.  The site had a few  out houses, or privy pits, that were surprisingly clean, but none of us needed to use them anyway.  It also had well water, and I filled my base station with fresh drinking water for all of us for the night.

I had bought Sam a brand new backpack and sleeping bag for her birthday, so once all that stuff was set up, I worked on getting a tarp set up over our tents.  It had stalled raining until just after I was finished setting everything up.  And, thank god I did, and did well.

Oddly enough, even though there was not supposed to be any camp fires, next to the obviously well used central camp site fire pit was a stack of freshly chopped wood for us to burn.  It was definitely left for campers because there’s no way to get that wood back to the site, and there was literally no wood around the sites to break up or hatchet up.  It had all been used up over the years, so it must have been driven in.  As we sat by the fire, sipping whiskey, it began to rain.  We had our emergency ponchos, and we were able to hold out past midnight.

Overnight, the rain and wind picked up considerably, and ended up raining out Jimmy’s tent, he had it a little rough.  Ours faired better.  It was fine, didn’t leak, and we all made it through the night unfazed.  Next morning we had some breakfast over a small fire.  it had dried up fairly well, so our packs were’t too weighed down with water.  We set off pretty early for Batsto Village.

another 6 miles, some with Sam in bare feet, wading across a shallow Mullica river when we discovered the bridge washed out.

It was a great success.  The easy, flat-ground hiking was evened out with the difficult night.  It was well worth the 3 dollars a piece it costs us.

The rest of the week, Sam bounced around to see friends and her family. One night, we got custom mustaches at Jack's Twin Bar.

it was dark, and late, and I didn't stay for very long because I had to work in the morning, but I'm told they had a great time.

It was the last chance to see Sam before she went home to Ohio, so there were a ton friends that Monika and I hadn't seen in a while.

The day before Easter Sunday, we had a huge breakfast outside on my patio in the sunshine. It was a beautiful day. In fact, so beautiful that Sam couldn't get herself on the road, and she stayed another night.

Always good times...

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