Richland Creek Backpack!  Click on a picture to get a larger view.


Wow what a trip!  11-08-2008 My wife's Birthday.  She said go.. I think she likes Peace and Quiet sometimes!


The night before boys showed up to camp over night as we were leaving at 7:15 am for the Big Richland Creek Backpack.  That evening gear was inspected and gear was swapped around so they had the best and the lightest for the trip.


At 7:15 am sharp Commander Bachman pulled up and we weighed our packs.  The boys were 21, 27, 29 and mine was 39 lbs.  Commander Batchman and I both left a lot of stuff at home as we knew this is considered one of the most difficult 7 mile backpacks in and out.  It's decreed a difficult bush wack.  That means no trail lots of rocks and ups and downs if you can spot a trail...


At 7:30 am we met the rest of the group at McDonalds in Ozark and met 4 others in our group.  One a State Trooper, Database Management, Business Owner water filtration and a young man that worked with his dads company.


At 7:45 am we headed south on 65 past Branson, Harrisonville, Jasper then 20 miles south of there we took a 12 mile trip over dirt road to Richland Creek.  It was 1st day of hunting season in Arkansas and we passed a dozen or more hunters on the way down to Richland Creek.


At 10:50 we arrived at the trail head.  No hunters down here but orange was being worn.  We donned our backpacks and headed toward the Twin Falls.  GPS devices were recording our trip as on 2 other occasions we had tried to make it to the Twin Falls and had turned back due to the difficulty of the trail.  This time determined to make the falls using another way in.  The group of 9 all men and boys headed down down down to Richland Creek. 


Just a short half mile the easy trail was gone.  WE were following the creek along the top banks as it switched back and forth over and under fallen trees big rocks.  After about a mile of this we came to the River Crossing.  Climbing over smooth slick bolders we all got across except the last man. He slipped and rolled into the 40 degree stream.  OOOOhhhh.  After a bit of adjusting we wrung him out and he was in pretty good shape as he had on the right gear for a bath..nylon doesn't hold for going for a dip he basically just came out with a wet boots.. I must have had sympathy pains as my foot went in just before his body I was feeling a little water in my boot top... wool socks is the only way to go when you could get still keeps you warm.


After several breaks we traveled up and down in and out over and under rocks, trees, water you name it we walked over it.  What a rugged place and yet it was so beautifully peaceful.  3 miles from the vehicle we came to a split in the creek.  We dropped our backpacks crossed over Richland Creek stepping over slick rocks in the water and day hiked to Twin Falls.  It was only a 1/4 mile hike up the creek and it was neat. We were there about 30 minutes taking pictures enjoying the water falls.  Boys were doing their normal stuff exploring and climbing. 


3:00 pm we hiked back cross over the slick rocks to the backpacks, donned them and hiked up a 1/4 mile to the Richland Creek Falls. Another river crossing or two and we came up to the falls it's a 8 foot tall water fall that spans the hole creek about 150 feet wide.  WE then went up to a level spot one of few in this area and made base camp.  Dragged up enough fire wood and watched Commander Batchman work on a bow drill fire... so about dark we opted for a lighter and had a blazing campfire. 


I had brought my Hennessey Hammock and was going to sleep in the trees...yup I froze.  My tail end was ice cold so about 3 am I climbed out of my hammock and grabbed my camp chair and turned it into a pad between me and the bottom of the hammock so my tail end could thaw out and slept like a baby in my hammock....some where between then and daylight my hammock and slid down the tree and I was basically almost touching the ground with my feet in the air.. it was really comfy looked like it wasn't but I was happy.  


6:00 am Daylight the boys were up and stoking the fire...  After breakfast around the campfire and the stories of getting up and around through the night.  We left the group as we needed to get back at 2:00 pm for a Bday party.


Wow...even with GPS units when there is no trail there is no trail.  Bushwhacking this difficult rocky, thorny cut up creek was a real challenge.  We would find a trail and then it would vanish in 200 feet.  Bushwhack a while then find a trail again.  We had marked the river crossing on the GPS unit but found a easier place to cut over we thought only to find ourselves having to climb up and over some BIG rocks..but I remembered we did the same going down..they just seem harder going up them...  Back to the truck in record time.  Back to Harrison for a McDonalds lunch and back home in time for the Bday party.  WHAT A TRIP!


The Garage is still full of gear hung over lines to dry so when I get home tonight it all gets packed up for a few days.


The third time is the ticket. Richland Creek is by far the toughest backpack I have been on.... boys want to go again soon... Commander Batchman and myself are of the mindset hike in a mile or less and setup base camp and then do day hiking... we could do Richland Creek again..


One of my sons friends had never been backpacking before. He was delighted and said he never knew this was this cool and is wanting to go again soon. Just before home he looked backwards and saw a BIG HUGE ORANGE Spider cawing up the back of the seat right next to the other boys head... a McDonalds cup came to the rescue and we capture that spider and practiced catch and release in my front yard.  Did I mention my dearly beloved gets goose bumps when she sees a spider...she was outside looking for him.. I hope he got away.  GRIN!


Even though backpacking is hard work, I am always blessed in my soul and spirit. You all are always welcomed to go with us.  We have a great time and can't wait till next time.


Mark Jones