Last Friday we paddled an 8-mile stretch of the Musconetcong River (Hampton to Bloomsbury) and Saturday it was a 15-mile marathon run down the Batsto River, in the heart of the wild New Jersey Pine Barrens.
Two Jersey rivers of entirely different character.
The Musconetcong is a swift and rocky stream in the NJ Highlands.
The Batsto is a slow (though not sluggish) and entirely sandy-bottomed little river typical of the Pine Barrens.
The Musconetcong flows by mostly privately owned land: farms, historic hamlets and wooded slopes.
The Batsto meanders through state owned land that is primarily a mix of Atlantic Cedar forest and scrub pine. During the entire 15 mile trip we saw nary a house or barn and only a few bridges. The Batsto is a tributary to the Mullica -- another wild Piney river in Wharton State Forest.
Even though the Batsto flows through deep woods and swampland there is relatively little wildlife to be seen from the center of a Pine Barrens river. A trip down the Musky almost always features dramatic wildlife sightings such as osprey, red fox, and lots of fish.
The one thing these two beautiful rivers have in common is: when you fall in you’ll get wet. One of our group unexpectedly confirmed this on the Batsto, giving him a chilly last 6 miles on the river.
Another common theme is both offer a delightful experience for river trippers.