The trees were friendly, they gave me rest and shadowed refuge. Slipping through them, I felt safe and competent. My whole body was occupied. I had little energy to think or worry.

Aspen Matis

Batsto Lake Trail, Wharton State Forest

Batsto Lake Trail, Wharton State Forest

For me, nothing takes me out of my head and eliminates mind chatter like a great hike in the woods. I was feeling a bit anxious over this past weekend since I had been feeding a feral cat for neighbors who had recently moved and decided to reach out to animal control when I discovered that the beautiful cat had kittens as well. Our municipality works with a wonderful shelter so this wasn’t the source of anxiety. Another neighbor told me that the mama cat had been captured, but not the kittens. So, to ease my mind, I decided to go off into the woods.

While I live surrounded by woods, my mainstay hiking excursion is the Batsto Lake Trail in Wharton State Forest, which is a 20-minute ride from my house. As always, I have to stop and take pictures to savor the beauty a bit more afterward.

We typically park in the Batsto Village parking lot. This is always worth a visit as well. The village is a New Jersey historic site located in the South Central Pinelands, which is administered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Parks & Forestry. This site is nationally recognized for its historical significance and beauty. The roots of Batsto Village can be traced back to 1766. Two centuries of American history are available to visitors, with the Pinelands environment as a scenic backdrop. Wharton State Forest

If we’re looking to do a shorter hike, we follow the Batsto Blue Trail, which is 1.8 miles. For a longer one, we follow the Batsto White Trail, which is 4 miles. The Blue Trail takes us about one hour and the white trail a little over 2 hours. Sometimes we even pack a lunch to enjoy outdoors. There are plenty of benches and picnic tables should you decided to do the same.

I love going there and taking pictures during each season since you feel like you’re seeing everything a new again.

Batsto Lake, Wharton State Forest

Also, if you want to make it an afternoon with friends, I’d suggest a stop at the below local wineries and breweries in Hammonton, NJ. They’re easy to access from Batsto Village and so worth a stop after a great hike:

White Horse Winery

Sharrott Winery

Three 3’s Brewing

Tomfoolery Brewing


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