The call went out. 10 brave souls for Jesus went to Busiek State Park and backpacked in 1/2 mile to the northern most part of the eastside of Busiek Wilderness area. Outpost 6, Central AOG had 8 and Outpost 153, OakGrove AOG had 2 and we all had a great time.

Friday night temperatures dropped to 20 degrees as we hung around the campfire and fellowshipped learned toolcraft, built cooking fires and just had a great time on the icy covered ground. 2 large fallen trees making a 90 degree around the campfire offered back support and some heat reflection as well as a great seat off of the ground.
At 10 pm to 11 pm boys rolled into their sleeping bags. Each person was instructed to change into dry clothes and put on wool socks and stocking caps as well as other dry layers. Through the night I heard the coffin of Commander Rob and my son. Prayers went up for them as the night air was a 20 degree edge. At around 2 am I heard the tromp tromp tromp of icy leaves going on... it got quiet then the tromp tromp tromp again. Right up to my tent. The zipper went open. There stood one of my finest Adventure Ranger boys... startled to see me asking can I help you? He said he was thirsty. I asked him if he brought any water and he said yes... my water bottle was right there so I handed it to him. How do you open it. I opened it as I was sitting up in my sleeping he sleep walking? After a quick drink he walked off to ask...where is my tent. So I climbed out of my bag out the tent door and said that one is your tent. I watched curiously as he went back to his tent climbed in zipped it back up and he climbed back into his 0 degree sleeping bag...hum... "dear Jesus", would you look after him...

At around 8am as usual I could hear someone snapping wood to put on the fire and up and around pretty soon the souls
showed up for the warmth of the campfire. Each were asked if they got cold. Only ones that were cold were the ones
that didn't put on the stocking cap...a must have to stay warm.

We fixed breakfast each did his own. Some made cooking fires, some got stream water and we purified it by boiling and then filtered it through clean clothing. Others broke out the MRE, "Ready to eat meals" from military. I had the traditional Bacon and fresh boiled egg, coffee, biscuits with jelly and apple cinnamon oatmeal. A BREAKFAST Fit for a king. YUM.

We Packed up and hit the trail for a day hike around 10a.m. Did 5 miles up to a old 1800 cemetery where we had a morning devotion. We talked about the folk that were buried in this old cemetery and how it was wrong to destroy these old stones as some were broken. We talked about these folk. Some were Christians some were not. Some were in Heaven and some were in Hell. I told of a story when I was about the boys age of a old tombstone that had ran across. Written on it was something like this... "Here you stand just as I used to, Here soon you will lay just as I am" I told the boys. At that time I had really never thought of death. The bible tells us it's appointed once for man to die. Unless you are raptured out we all will die some day. The boys while sitting that old stone wall that lines the cemetery were challenged to know that they could make heaven. We ended in prayer and headed on up the trail.

The boys were constantly asked where are we at on this map. Where are we going? 2 GPS's were being used and they were instructed on how that works. WE picked up trash along the trail as we went and made lunch down by the Woods creek were we built 3 one match campfires.. mine was the only one that didn't go.. so I did the Pentecostal thing and went over to where the fire was the hottest and got a good warm up. Theres always next time to be the fire king....

Just down the stream 2 backpackers who earlier we had talked to were prepping for a Colorado trip were crossing the 30 degree stream walking over a fallen tree that I had forbid the boys to go over...I watched as these two dropped some of their gear into the stream and were trying to fish it out... a sleeping bag or sleeping pad looked like it was floating down there... brrrrr! Boys wanted to know if we should go help and I told them these 2 would get it handled fine. We talked about Hypothermia again and how important it is to stay dry in these temperatures.

We enjoyed lunch around the river bank fire and headed back bushwhacking along the river to avoid crossing over it. It was filled with downed trees, big rocks, all kinds of neat stuff. Boys even climbed inside a hollow tree. We saw deer tracks and other varmint tracks. Ice was melting off the trees and dripping on us from time to time. We got back to the vehicles after a short 5 mile trip and demudded the boys...ok...give me your boots put them in this plastic trash bag, give me your wind pants put them in this trash bag...we made it home with no mud in my wife's grand jeep leather seated Cherokee..."Phew" made it by the chin of my chinny chin chin..'NO mud left in the car" YES!

Boys all had a great time and we talked about the next upcoming trip in a few weeks to a month or so.

We share these times to encourage you to take your boys on outings. Always be Ready!

Mark Jones

Packs weighted in: Boys ranged .  33 to 10 pounds.  Men weighted in 54 - 27lbs.   Click on a picture to get a larger view.