A Winter Hike
Taken at Wharton State Forest in the NJ Pine Barrens.

Taken at Wharton State Forest in the NJ Pine Barrens.

This past winter I spent a bit more time hiking and photographing landscapes and scenery than I have in the past.  Much of it spent in the NJ Pine Barrens area.  It is such a unique and vast area of wilderness in Southern NJ which has left me wanting for more each time.  At the end of January I met up with a friend of mine Jesse and he brought along his friend Richie for a hike through Wharton State Forest in the Pine Barrens.  We hiked along the Mullica River trail which is marked as the yellow-dashed trail on this map, an approximately 9 mile hike.  This trail connects Atsion lake with Batsto Village in Hammonton, NJ.  We made a small detour along the route to view the Quaker Bridge area which turned out to be not that exciting.  

My main goal during this hike was to document it with my camera.  I had brought my Nikon D3s along with a 24mm lens, 14-24mm zoon and my 105mm macro - that was it for camera gear.  As we crossed the 1 mile mark on the hike and we had already been out for about 2 hours I realized I had to stop taking so many photos. 

Since I have never made any decent length hikes in the past I assumed an easy terrain 9-10 mile hike would be very easy.  By the time we all arrived at Batsto village we al laid on the ground and just enjoyed the rest.  Not being a hiker, this trip sure did kick my ass!  We started around 7am and arrived at Batsto Village at 3pm, a good 8 hour hike.  It was totally worth it and the surprise missing bridge at the very end of the hike was an unexpected hurdle that made it all the more memorable.  If you would like to see more about hike check out this interactive map.

Instead of describing the hike with too many words I’ll let the following photos tell the story.  I hope you enjoy it and can get a sense of what it was like to hike through this beautiful area on a cold winter day.  

Ray

In the parking lot at the start of the hike just before the sun came up

My friend Jesse photographing the sunrise through the pines.

Just the tops of the taller trees were beginning to be lit up by the early morning sun near Atsion Lake in the NJ Pine Barrens.

A marker as we walked along the yellow trail.

The leaves were drooping pretty good from the cold and bit of frost on them.

The trees were glowing as the sun lit up their frozen branches.

Taken near Atsion Lake in the NJ Pine Barrens.

Taken near Atsion Lake in the NJ Pine Barrens.

The early morning sun was making the frost on these branches just glow. Taken near Atsion Lake in the NJ Pine Barrens.

All the tree branches had a good amount of frost on them that would just glow and glitter when the sun hit them. It was almost magical walking around on this morning out in the pine barrens. This photo doesn’t nearly do it justice. Taken near Atsion Lake in the NJ Pine Barrens.

Shadows of the three of us during the hike.

The only color in the pine barrens this time of year was the bright green of the pine branches.

The frost was clinging to every surface on this morning.

My friend Jesse standing on a tree stump on a freezing cold morning out in the middle of the NJ Pine Barrens in Wharton State Forest.

Every blade of grass had some frost on it.

The freshly fallen snow had not been knocked off the low branches yet.

A small frozen pond that we came upon was a great spot to sit for a moment and soak up the sun.

The Mullica River that the yellow trail we hiked followed along.

We took a quick detour onto the purple trail.

The intersection of a few trails and the distance we had left to Batsto Village.

The deep blue of the sky looked great reflected on the river.

Looking down while standing on Quaker Bridge.

The bright green leaves looked great against the white snow.

Back on the yellow trail we were just about half way to our destination.

The bright green of this pine really stood out on the edge of the Mullica River. Taken at Wharton State Forest in the NJ Pine Barrens.

Since I actually took this photo upside down while hanging over the edge of the river I figured I’d just leave it this way to really mess with you. Taken at Wharton State Forest in the NJ Pine Barrens.

The frosty spikes on the left were a great contrast to the snowflakes on the right.

The Mullica River at Wharton State Forest in the NJ Pine Barrens.

Not sure how this happened but a shelf of ice and snow hung a good foot over the river bank.

I thought all these things came together rather nicely in this photo. Taken at Wharton State Forest in the NJ Pine Barrens.

I took this because of the ice patterns and didn’t notice the crazy colors until I saw it on the computer. Taken at Wharton State Forest in the NJ Pine Barrens.

I liked how this piece of ice and snow was shaped almost like a Christmas Tree.

Jesse being a brave soul decided to get a drink from the water pump.

Myself, and my friends Jesse & Richie taking a much needed rest while walking the 9+ mile Mullica River trail in Wharton State Forest. It was a beautfiul winter hike with snow covering most of the ground, clear skies and good company. A great day outdoors.

This tiny plant was still standing out on the snow covered ground. Taken at Wharton State Forest in the NJ Pine Barrens.

My friend Jesse standing on the edge of the icy river. Taken at Wharton State Forest in the NJ Pine Barrens.

At the right angle the Mullica River looks a deep black color. Taken at Wharton State Forest in the NJ Pine Barrens.

Richie taking a photo of the Mullica River.

Richie & Jesse as we got closer to the end of our hike.

It was quite hilarious watching Jesse try to knock down this dead tree as a makeshift bridge.

Richie was the last to cross the river on this natural bridge.

A long exposure of the dam at Batsto Lake.

We finally made it to Batsto Lake!

A map showing the location of each photo used in this post. You can also view an interactive  Google Map.

Nature photography has become a very passionate hobby of mine and whenever I get a chance I love to get outside and enjoy being outdoors. I am also the co-owner of KGM Expressions, a wedding and portrait photography business, with my wife Kim. This is how we make our living and I love that we get to do that together.