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A friend and I kayaked this section of the Mullica in early April when the water was relatively high. I was using a Dagger Zydeco with a spray skirt and my friend had an Old Town Loon. Canoes would have been out of place here. Spring vegetation had not yet sprouted, but still the fragrance was there. The acidic, tea-colored currents of the Mullica have a distinctive fragrance that I have not noticed elsewhere. Near Jackson Road, the Mullica is twisty, yet deep, with loose debris that we could easily push aside or plow through. Mountain laurel and massive Atlantic white cedars line the moss-covered banks. There is utter silence here--you will not meet other kayakers--it is almost a primeval sanctuary. Because this is located in the Wharton State Forest, there are no private properties lining this section of the Mullica. We passed under Goshen Bridge and then entered an extensive cedar swamp that eventually spilled out into Goshen Pond.
Goshen Pond is the jewel of this kayaking trip. There is a beaver settlement here and at the end of the pond, a beaver dam. Even in the winter, Goshen Pond is exquisite. Our kayaks meandered through numerous channels of blueberry and leatherleaf bushes, with pine groves lining the banks.
The upper Mullica is narrow, only one-two kayak lengths wide, and the section between Goshen Pond and Atsion Lake is equally narrow. There were a few blow-downs that we had to portage around, but not many. There are more deciduous trees on this leg, fewer pines and cedars, but it still has a pre-historic /Lenni Lenape Indian feel to it. We put out at the log cabins on the north side of Atsion Lake.
It took us about four hours to run this. You might want to try this in the summer to appreciate the flora and the massive turtles. Thoreau would have loved this. If you are a harried Philadelphia CEO who needs kayaking solitude, this therapy is only a half-hour away. Enjoy!
UPDATE: November 27, 2002--The section of the Mullica River that runs from Jackson Road to Atsion Lake has a new obstacle. The NJDEP has just completed a all-recyclable-plastic bridge over the Mullica just below Goshen Pond. It connects the old Hammonton Road on the Burlington County side with the Sandy Causeway on the Atlantic County side. Unfortunately they set the new bridge on the old wooden pilings from the bridge that burned down ten years ago, and they failed to account not only for the height of the river after a rainy spell but also for any kayakers or canoeists who would like to pass under it. Presently, the deck of the bridge is holding back a layer of iron oxide foam and the river is in constant contact with the bridge. If the river were any higher (and it could be!) the river would be flowing over the top of the bridge. If you plan to paddle this section of the Mullica (from Goshen Pond to Atsion Lake), I would suggest that you exit the Mullica on the left side of the bridge (there is a very small sandy area there), portage your boats over the bridge, and reenter the Mullica on the right side. It's such a shame the NJDEP did not engineer the bridge properly for us paddlers. Good luck!
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