Cedar Creek Trip

Sunday, 10/20/2002

              The morning was in the low 40s and the sky was mixed between sun and clouds.  The car pool met at Emma’s house near the northern end of the NJ Turnpike.  A Wanda first occurred when the last of the eight paddlers arrived at the appointed time of 7:30 am . 

            Jim, Betty, Emma, Joanne, Helen, Warren, Joan and Carole arranged the car pool of three cars and got onto the Turnpike within a few minutes.  We continued to Exit 10 and transferred to the Garden State Parkway .  We were astonished when we found that the toll booth at exit 77 was adorned with signs indicating “NO TOLL TODAY”, apparently a gift of the local Chamber of Commerce. 

            Upon exiting we followed Double Trouble Road a short distance directly into the entrance of Double Trouble State Park , arriving about 9:30 .  We spent about an hour scouting take outs, finally deciding to exit the creek at the Lanoka Harbor municipal beach.  With permission from the caretaker, we used the “OFFICIAL USE ONLY” road to launch all four canoes at a bridge about .2 miles into the park.  Warren and Carole somehow took a wrong turn and showed up about ten minutes later with an escort by the caretaker.  The shuttle then took about forty minutes with Carole’s car left in the main Double Trouble parking lot.  We got on Cedar Creek at about 11:45 .

             According to Robert Parnes’ book, Canoeing the Jersey Pine Barrens, Cedar Creek is one of the purest of the little rivers that flow through the Pine Barrens .  These rivers rise in cedar swamps and flow with enough cedar residue to make them tea colored.  These “brown water” rivers have natural algaecide properties and were a popular stopping point for the masters of sailing ships to fill their barrels.  Their drinking water would then remain pure for over a year instead of the normal few weeks.

            When the drivers had walked back to the bridge we pushed off into the quick moving little creek from our sandy beach.  The gauge reading at the put in was 3.3 feet.  We found that Cedar Creek is a typical Pine 

 

Barrens river, flowing quickly over a meandering sandy channel.  The creek is often narrow and the current flow tends to be really pushy on the outside of the bends.  At this water level the customary sand and gravel bars that 

 

accumulate on the inside of bends were comfortably covered with water.  Some of our group still played the Swiss accountant role and paddled from bank to bank, being swept to the outside frequently.  Others held tightly to the inside of the bends and made our way down without bumping branches except those hanging down from overhead.

    The trip was a pleasant three hour run with a break on a sandy island for lunch.  We took a short lunch hour to keep from running out of daylight.

    There was a low head damn just above the route 9 bridge.  Jim and Betty were in the lead at the time and decided to run the dam.  They drove across the dam close to river left and bumped slightly as we crossed over.  

 

Emma and Joanna slowed down as they crossed the dam and were sucked into the hole.  Their boat rolled part way toward the dam and filled with water.  The following boats quickly moved in to assist while Jim and Betty stood by downstream to assist in case they flushed out.  Heat packs from the first aid kit and a change to dry clothes made the remaining quarter mile of the trip much more comfortable. 

    We took out at a small Lanoka Harbor beach where we had left the cars.  The trip home was uneventful until we reached the northern end of the turnpike.  Bridge traffic had backed up all the way to the route 46 exit.  Fortunately we know our way through local roads.

 

Cedar Creek Photos