Sunday, November 27, 2016

Wharton State Forest, NJ - Harrisville Pond

Wharton State Forest - NJ Department of Environmental Protection (scroll about half way down)
Harrisville Village Video Tour - Pinelands Preservation Alliance

GPS Coordinates 39.66509, -74.52423
Parking at Harrisville Pond

There really is no map other than...
Wharton State Forest Map - NJDEP (only shows Batona Trail)
Harrisville Podcast Tour Map - Pinelands Preservation Alliance (only shows Harrisville Pond area)
For lack of anything better, my rendition of a trail map.

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HIKE DISTANCE:  8.5 miles

A gorgeous, but cold, early morning at Harrisville Pond.
We figured we'd start the hike by visiting the ruins since that involves a short road walk and not much traffic at 7:30 AM on a Sunday.  So facing Route 679, turn left.
Cross the larger of two dams.
Then veer right crossing over to the Papermill and Artesian Well ruins behind the fence.
It's kind of hard to see behind the fence and with all of the overgrowth but the podcast is interesting to listen to.
We continued on a bit looking for some of the other sites but could not find anything.  We also headed back across Route 679 looking for the sites on North Main Street which no longer exists and well, it no longer exists and we found no more ruins.
So we jogged right on Route 679 then left on the sand road which is Martha Road (no sign).
Martha Road
On the left the historic canal which does not show up well on the picture but is very obvious from Martha Road.  At the fork in this area, keep left.  Right is Calico Road on GoogleMaps but there are no signs.
This is all State Natural Area.
Two deer crossed over and Sebastian would not let it go.  We tried to tell him those deer were already in the next county but he was not buying it.  Shawnee could care less.  She has never bothered with wildlife.
Oh my, what have we here?
This is one sweet balloon for my collection.  And look at all of that ribbon that some poor animal will not be getting tangled in.
Sand Graffiti
When Martha Road veered right, we stayed left for a detour to Oswego River.
This is more narrow pine needle covered road that ends in a cul-de-sac so we just followed it around and backtracked back to Martha Road to continue on.
Back on Martha Road.
At the intersection, right on the pink-blazed Batona Trail.
This packed sand/pine needle surface was perfect for wheelchairing and she was scooting along at a nice clip!
I have no idea what this is and only saw this one but it was in the vicinity of fire breaks so thinking it might have something to do with that.
We turned left at the huge barrier, leaving the Batona Trail, to access the cranberry bogs.
There were no signs saying we couldn't be there but these are active cranberry bogs.
There was a large group of swans in the water, quite a distance away, yet the cacophony of commands began between the swans and a group of Canada geese and ...
... on command they all took to the air.
They had obviously discussed this loudly and were in cahoots as we apparently presented a serious threat in their minds.
In trying to find a road connecting back over to Martha Road that was visible on my GPS, we ended up behind that pond on a very pretty pine needle covered road where ...
... we all took a break.
Swamp Sparrow?
This is the road we needed to make the loop (versus backtracking) so we made our way around the debris blocking the road.
A geriatric dragonfly this late in the year.
This road was a bit overgrown but not bad and it's only a short distance...
... around whatever obstacle this is...
... to a left on Martha Road.
Downy Woodpecker
At the intersection, a right on the pink-blazed Batona Trail completing our loop back to where we first got on the Batona Trail.
And just to the right are the ruins of Martha Furnace behind falling down chain link with barbed wire fencing.  Some info on the ruins and the ghost town of Martha is on this site.
A short distance after Martha Furnace, a wavy, yet sturdy bridge ...
... over Oswego River.
A side trail on the left just the other side of the bridge allows for a dip in the river.
Continuing on the Batona Trail.
Watch for the Batona Trail to leave the woods road to the left ...
... on a footpath ...
... with boardwalks.
Memorial plaques on the boarwalk.
When the Batona Trail turns right, left on the blue-blazed Lake Trail.
This footpath follows very closely along the edge of an old canal.
At the Harrisville Pond, several side trails offer nice views.
Two female and one male Bufflehead in Harrisville Pond.
The Lake Trail ends at the boat launch.
A left on Route 679 ...
... for a very short road walk over ...
... the second dam ...
... back to the parking area.