Friday, March 13, 2015

Batona Trail - Pakim Pond to Franklin Parker Preserve, NJ

Brendan T. Byrne State Forest - NJ Division of Parks and Forests
Franklin Parker Preserve - New Jersey Conservation Foundation
New Batona Trail Section Debuts - New Jersey Conservation Foundation

Pakim Pond picnic area parking lot:
GPS coordinates 39.880188, -74.533664

View Larger Map

Brendan T. Byrne State Forest Trail Map - NJ Division of Parks and Forests
Batona Trail Re-Route - New Jersey Conservation Foundation
Batona Trail - Pakim Pond to Franklin Parker Preserve, NJ at EveryTrail

HIKE DISTANCE: 8.3 miles

We had just hiked a different section of the Batona Trail 2 days before.  What a difference 2 days of temperatures in the 40's and 50's makes.  The snow was almost gone!  And thanks, Jim, for the recommendation.  This is a very lovely section of the Batona Trail!
The half moon was visible throughout the entire hike.
Started at the far left corner of the parking lot.
Trails to the left, restrooms and Pakim Pond to the right.
Pakim Pond
To the trails.
A short distance ahead, turn right on the Batona Trail which follows the white Mt. Misery Trail.
Swamp on the left,
Pakim Pond on the right.
The Mt. Misery Trail leaves to the left, the Batona Trail to the right.
The other side of Pakim Pond where we started.
Through a swamp on boardwalks.
Sometimes she thinks being up on the boardwalk is a better idea,
sometimes not.  But just wait, this comes back to bite her in a bit.
After the swamp the trail dries out, amazingly dry after two days of snow melt.
We would have used this sign the other day when we went the wrong way.  But just as well because we came back to much less snow.
The re-route of the Batona Trail starts at Route 72 leaving Brendan Byrne State Forest and entering Franklin Parker Preserve.
The trails follows Route 72 on a woods road for a short distance before heading right into the woods.
Done for this season, thank goodness, but FYI in the future.
Another swamp where you alternate between tree roots and boardwalks.
Dry again for a bit.
Until this section of wobbly, floating (?) boardwalks.  They sink when you step on them so Shawnee figured, what the heck.  At one point we both stepped on the same section and sank.
A log bridge over a creek.
Cranberry bogs to the right.
And quite a bit of snow and ice still along the cranberry bogs.
OK, this is where it happened.  Shawnee's indecisiveness about whether to bridge/boardwalk or whether not to got her in big trouble.  At the end of this bridge there are trees in the middle and it's tricky to get around then you have to jump over water into a large animal hole before you hit solid ground.  Shawnee stepped to the right where the foam is and as I yelled NOOOOOOOO she stepped off completely.  One minute she was there, the next minute completely gone.  I will forever remember SEEING HER HEAD UNDER WATER as she struggled to the surface.  Thank goodness for the handle on her harness.  That made hauling her out much easier, otherwise I would have been going in after her.
Totally, 100%, completely, every single strand of fur soaking wet.
Not too far after the cranberry bogs, the trail was totally flooded out and our mileage was getting a little long so we turned around to head back.
Where the Batona Trail turns right on the way back, I kept straight thinking I could go around the cranberry bogs a different way and meet back up with the Batona Trail.  Unfortunately, that way was flooded out, too, so we had to retrace.  (I saw later looking at my track in satellite view that had I slogged on through, I was almost at the turning point and would have ended up on a path to Laurel Lane and could have taken that a short distance to where the Batona Trail crosses over.) 
This is the view of that bridge where Shawnee stepped off as we headed back.  She once again tried to go that same way - I suppose the foam looks like solid ground to her - but this time I forced her to the right of those trees in the middle and she got over without going in.  That water is DEEP!
Just ask her.
The cranberry bogs on the way back.
At this point I noticed her limping and when she stopped she held her left paw up.  Oh no, now what?  I thought maybe she did something to her leg during her ordeal but when I checked her paw, she had a thorn stuck in her pad.  Once I yanked that out, all was well once more.  Not a good Friday the 13th for Shawnee :(
A spot of warm sunshine!
We took a break and let Shawnee's harness and fur drip dry for a bit.
Back through the swamp.
Crossing back over Route 72.
Back through Brendan Byrne State Forest.
The Batona Trail along Pakim Pond.
Chicken jerky makes everything better.  Except the wet swamp dog smell during the drive home.


  1. Hi Daniela -- you're very welcome for the recommendation...some of your previous posts have helped me out from time to time as well!

    So -- quite the adventure you had there...glad Shawnee is O.K. after all that! I did this portion of the hike almost a year ago to the day (3/16/14), and while there was flooding in some areas (including one of the ponds further up the trail "using" the trail as its personal spillway!), it wasn't quite as bad as you experienced. The log bridge (which I'm sure is now on Shawnee's blacklist) was a little drier, and I don't recall having too much trouble getting over the wet area. Actually, I was thinking Shawnee may have been a little more nervous at the "boardwalk/tree root swamp" area, but I guess she sailed through that one! Too bad you couldn't take the trail out a little further, but that initial 1.4 miles between Pakim Pond and the beginning of the reroute definitely has to be accounted for, as it becomes nearly 3 miles round trip...would be nice if a small sand/dirt parking lot could be made along Route 72 (where the trail crosses the road) so hikers can begin directly at the rerouted portion!

    Anyway -- great pix (as always); hopefully, you can make it out to the rerouted section again sometime and get more shots; there's definitely more great stuff to see!


    1. There is definitely plenty of room to park well off of Route 72 where the trails goes into the woods at Franklin Parker Preserve and yes, they should designate a parking area there. But the part behind Pakim Pond through Brendan Byrne was very pretty so I am glad I parked there and hiked that. I'll get to the other end of Franklin Parker Preserve someday.


  2. Very nice photos. Shawnee looks great! Thanks for sharing. Joanne

  3. Even trails closer to home here in Jackson were either flooded out, still iced over in parts or just plain gooey, slippery, m-u-d-dee slop. Although nothing compared to what you both slogged through - and INTO. Poor Shawnee! One might think she'd want to rest in her nice warm bed the next time the hikemobile gears up. But, trooper that she consistently is, I'm betting she'll be barking for you to hurry up and get moving. More power to the both of you. :)


    1. The nice thing about those sand trails is they do seem to dry out pretty fast as long as there is no standing water. Unlike the swamp that is now my back yard. Yes, gooey slop pretty much describes my yard! Oh, and Shawnee is totally over it and ready to go again.