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Relentless Explorers

Kayaking (Upstream) in the Pine Barrens

Last update: August 1, 2021


Beautifying the Batsto River, Part 4

By Ken Relentless

01 Aug  2021

This is the fourth in an ongoing series of hardcore down and dirty work trips to clear the upper end of the Batsto River from Carranza Road to Hampton Furnace. On this trip we gained the victory of pushing through the final few hundred feet of peppercorn choked water way, and this in even shallower water levels than the July 25, 2021 trip. We worked so hard that Don Relentless ran his chainsaw out of gas and my Greenworks pole saw battery went dead. It was down to hand sawing the final fallen log that connected us with where we had left off back on April 24, 2021. Aside from a few fallen trees below the sluice gates, the Batsto River is now open from Carranza Road all the way to Batsto Village.


No, this is not oil from the road. This shiny stuff is the bacteria which forms bog iron over time.
No, this is not oil from the road. Another view of the bacteria that forms bog iron.
That grass looks freshly mowed. Our boats are ready to go.
Garrett is just arriving while Don lurches toward the bridge.
This is at the end of a hard paddle return trip in even lower water levels than when we left a few hours earlier.
This a typical view of why the upper Batsto River is virtually impassible by kayak. We aim to completely clear it.
Ken Relentless hard at work with the electric pole saw.
Don Relentless sitting idle in his kayak.
Ken Relentless still hard at work with the electric pole saw.
Don, work faster! We're waiting on you!
Sorry, Garrett, I can't make him go any faster.
Heading back upstream to the Carranza Road bridge.

Beautifying the Batsto River, Part 3

By Ken Relentless

25 Jul  2021

This is third in an ongoing series of hardcore down and dirty work trips to clear the upper end of the Batsto River from Carranza Road to Hampton Furnace. Like the last trip in May, progress is very slow. The river is choked with peppercorn bushes, fallen trees, and other debris, etc. In fact, the river at one place broke up into three smaller streams to navigate around numerous small islands of vegetation. In high water levels finding the banks would be nearly impossible. Our GPS plots put us just 400 feet from the bridge the way the turtle swims due to the nature of the river winding through the swamp.


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Getting ready to launch.
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Launching...
Launching...
The trip is GO.
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Beautifying the Batsto River, Part 2

By Ken Relentless

23 May  2021

This was a hardcore down in the water and dirty trip, so there are few photos and no video. Garrett Relentless, now Garrett Relentless joined for a severe butt-kicking of the Batsto River from Carranza Road down, an area Don Relentless and I last paddled into the peppercorn thickness back in 2017. More detail coming shortly...



Don Relentless is lost in the thick peppercorn bushes. After hours of hard work clearing the stream, this is where we quit for the day and headed back to Carranza Road.
The water is low at the Carranza Road bridge.
Garrett Relentless has a new way of riding his kayak.
Ken Relentless is his boat.
Getting ready to launch.
Clearing debris from the stream often means heaving it to the nearest bank.
Sometimes this debris is water-logged and heavy. The water is shallow here.
Don is playing with his spray paint.
Don is marking our farthest point with his spray paint.
Don Relentless relaxing after a working hard.
Back at the Carranza Road bridge.
Pulling out.
Pulling out.
Ken Relentless pulling out.

Beautifying the Batsto River, Part 1

By Ken Relentless

24 Apr  2021

Don Relentless, Garrett Relentless, and myself have teamed up to spend a warm Saturday beautifying the Batsto River after two years of neglect. As we soon found out this turned out to be harder than expected. One downed tree cost us more than two hours of work removing two of its three massive trunks that completely blocked a previously clear river and getting the chainsaw and razor saws stuck several times. By the time we reached our August 12, 2019 farthest point, it was 6:00pm and the high of 70 degrees was starting to drop with rain threatening.


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Batsto River Peppercorn Battle, Part 2

By Ken Relentless

12 Aug  2019

The upper most reaches of the Batsto River is choked with peppercorn bushes. These plants send chutes from the banks into the river, sprout new roots and more stems. This growth makes the river unpassable unless it is cleared. We gained about 150 feet on the July 25, 2019 trip. On this trip we gained perhaps 40 feet. Chainsaws were useless in this area. Lopping shears and a metal rake were the tools of choice. Don used the shears to chop through peppercorn and I used the rake to clear the branches from the stream. It was hard and dirty job, which is why progress was so slow in this section. Where is Mike Rowe when you need him? Better yet, where is Kevin He-Man when you need him for the power cut? The return trip GPS plot did not show any appreciable gain, which is why our progress was estimated.


Preparing to head upstream at the old sluice gates.
The July 25, 2019 marker. The area beyond is where this battle began.
Heading into the thick grown.
Ken Relentless. The stream is cleared about 20 more feet to the left.
Pulling back you can see how little territory we gained. We will be back to battle this mess.

Batsto River Peppercorn Battle, Part 1

By Ken Relentless

25 Jul  2019

The July 25, 2019 trip ended in an area of thick peppercorn growth choking the river. We spent several hours and gained a mere 150 feet over the previous trip. We used a chainsaw to clear some fallen trees, but lopping shears were the weapon of choice. A steel rake came in handy to clear the river from floating debris. The trip length was 1252 feet. This GPS plot is compared to the 01/27/2018 walk (purple).


The 07/25/2019 river trip


Batsto River: 2, Relentless Explorers: 0

By Ken Relentless

07 Jul  2019

This trip was purely to regain territory previously cleared in April 2018. The trip length was 1104 feet. This GPS plot is compared to the 01/27/2018 walk (purple).




The 07/07/2019 river trip


Older entries

See 2018 and older entries here.