Chasing the Jersey Devil – Pine Barons NJ

I wanted to search for the Jersey Devil while I was in New Jersey, I mean who wouldn’t? The Jersey Devil is apparently a demonic beast with the head of a horse, the hooves of a goat, and the wings of a bat. It haunts the New Jersey pine barrens which I was told were super creepy. When I found out there was a camp ground in the pine barrens… well I was delighted! I grew up with a strong tradition of haunted forests in New England and am both fascinated by the stories and comfortable in the woods. I drove up and checked in and I was happy to realize there were only two plots rented out tonight. I practically had the whole park ground myself.

I looked around. In daylight it didn’t appear creepy at all. I started a campfire and cooked my first poor man’s meal, a luscious dinner of Ramon noodles and the best marshmallows I have ever had in my life. I cooked it in a pot not made for camping which quickly turned black and whose plastic handles were threatening to melt. I also couldn’t get it off the fire so easy, having forgot oven mitts… lessons learned… I was both content and went on to pitch the tent in the sand and get everything set up. Though there were clouds in the sky it didn’t look like it’d actually rain. I waited until it got dark and then took a walk around the park on the road, only diverging when I found a very clear path into the woods. There were night birds screaming all night around us and the trees took on a certain suspicious nature when silhouetted against the moon. Their strange gnarled and winding branches seemed to be dancing while sitting still. The darker it got the creepier it seemed but I was still content to be out walking. When I returned to the tent I was so exhausted I collapsed into bed, but awoke at 4AM due to the pouring rain. It was coming down in sheets and there were strange noises all around me. A plastic bottle I had left outside next to the campfire began to menacingly crinkle. There was a great deal of scuttling noises. Instead of stalking the Jersey Devil it seemed the legendary beast was stalking me!

There’s something about running water…. It makes any sane person have to pee…. So when I woke up I was in agony. My bladder was cursing me out hardcore. I decided to brave the rain and go to the bathroom, only to discover crawling out of my sleeping bag that the whole tent was flooding. Water was coming in all directions and dripping off the ceiling and walls. Another lesson learned…. Get bottle of Dry Camp and spray tent… In the morning when I woke up again I was exhausted still but I had an appointment to make with a friend in Philly so I got my sorry bum up, packed up the tent, and promptly left my shoes behind. I was running around stocking-footed you see and… well I did go back to get those cute little converses…

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