|Date||October 26, 2008|
|Hosts||Ed and Pat Gifford|
|Where||Brendon T Byrne State Forest|
|Who (else)||Judy Allison and Malcolm Boyd, Barbara and Ron Anderson, Larry and Brenda Isherwood and Susan Nicolich and David Snope|
After Saturday's 30-40 mph winds and bands of torrential rain, Sunday dawned calm and clear. At the state park, the rising sun dappled cathedral-like beams of light and shadow through the misty forest, promising a gorgeous day! Five intrepid DOGS teams started their ride from the Pakim Pond picnic area in Brendon T Byrne State Forest and headed for the Great Bay Wildlife Refuge.
Graced by a tailwind for the first half of the trip, which can mean only one thing, the ride was lively and conversation light as the riders were passed by a truck full of cranberries headed for processing from the many cranberry farms along the route. Turning towards the coast, we passed through Wharton State Forest and finally reached the seaport town of Tuckerton where we turned onto Great Bay Boulevard.
Island hopping via four consecutively smaller and smaller bridges, we passed wetlands of the Edwin B Forsythe Wildlife Refuge and Great Bay Wildlife Management Area. The last two bridges were wooden single lane affairs governed by timed traffic lights, since opposing traffic views are obstructed. At the end of the road, the DOGS teams dismounted and hiked a short path to the water. The view included the Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor, the Mystic Islands, Little Egg Inlet and the Atlantic City skyline in the distance.
The trip back was a bit tougher since our tailwind had now become a headwind, but there were still a few distractions as we passed through the Pigmy Pine Forest (no tree grows taller than about 10 feet) and the Warren Grove Military Air Practice Range.
Finally, the park entrance was in sight and the teams were ready to eat. There were sandwich fixin's and soup provided by the hosts and plenty of snacks and desserts brought by the other teams. Dave and Pat set out to prove that a watched pot will not boil, but Ed spoiled it by changing to a fresh propane canister, and the coffee started perking immediately. Thanks to everyone who attended for making this another memorable DOGS ride.