Four years ago my good friend Matt Wright and I set out to hike The Batona Trail in the Pinelands. We were on assignment for New Jersey Monthly—me as writer, he as photographer—and incredibly excited for the opportunity. And while I was really pleased with the way the story turned out in the magazine, I was a little bummed that so many nuanced anecdotes and asides had to be left on the cutting room floor for the sake of magazine page count. Writing this essay was a labor of love filled with all of those writerly tidbits and flourishes us writers are always so sad to see cut (despite the obvious necessity), and it’s always been my intention to present the unedited manuscript to readers of Twenty Pounds of Headline. And so, lo these many years later, I bring you my Batona: The Director’s Cut!
A Walk In The Pines: Four Days on the Batona Trail
By Nick DiUlio
It was about two hours before sunset on our first day in the Pine Barrens when it occurred to me that Matt and I had made a terrible mistake. I didn’t want to say anything to him just yet, so instead I quietly hiked a few paces back on the sandy trail and engaged in a bit of silent, dread contemplation. With more than five miles still to go before we reached camp, we were soaking wet, bedraggled, and exhausted. The situation was not looking good. Continue reading