October 3-4th, 2009

4 men, and 5 boys headed out on the famous "goat trail" on the upper buffalo river.  This is a beautiful trail located at the Center point trail head 4 miles north of Ponca, Ar.  It was getting dark, but we had a beautiful full moon to light the path.  (Fall evenings can be sooo beautiful).  After about 3/4 of a mile we found a flat spot and set up camp....then the fun began.  We learned a long time ago that when you go camping you should enjoy your eating times..that dehydrated foods are good when you have to just "make do", but that a full meal, cooked over the fire, is what camping is all about.  So, out of our backpacks came steaks, bacon, more steaks, hamburger meat, taco seasoning, more steaks, chocolate chip cookie dough, granola bars, lettuce, cheese, more steaks, and yes, more steaks...what a feast.  A total of 8 steaks, all flavored in secret recipes, and even "walking taco's" made up the main part of the meal.  Then for dessert, chocolate chip cookies cooked in aluminum foil!  YUMMMMy!

(The walking taco's were sure a treat, all you do is take seasoned taco meat, put it in a small sack of crushed Doritos's chips, add lettuce, cheese...mix it together...and then you eat!  Simple and fun and tasty idea!)

After setting around the campfire and talking, laughing, eating, and then more eating...we relaxed.  The fire was warm as the night grew cooler.  Commander Batchman gave a devotion on how faith can be a measure of our Christian life.  We then headed off to bed...except for the older boys, as usual they stayed up late laughing thru the night.

Morning came...we got the fire built back up,and yes, got ready again to eat....Soon you could hear bacon sizzling, and here come the eggs.
Bacon, eggs, sausage, tortillas, and even commander Batchmans cinnamon rolls! Got to eat a good breakfast to get started on the day!

We packed up our stuff, and then got ready to head out to the "goat trail"
Another two miles down the mail trail and we hit the intersection to the "goat trail"

contributed by: Rob Batchman

story continued by:  Mark Jones

The Goat Trail lead us out on point of BIG BLUFF.  It is a trail along the cliff. Everyone was cautioned to be careful and make every step right.   In some places it's 30 feet wide other places 3 feet wide looking down about 400 feet.  Looking up about 200 feet.  We followed this trail and discovered along the way places were folk had camped almost like small rooms in the face of the bluff.  Very scenic.  We saw about 30 buzzards picking up on the warm air lift and soaring while just below 600 feet we saw about 6 deer crossing the river.   Also saw ant lion traps and how the trees had grown out away from the bluff to get the most sun light they could.  Almost a wizard of oz type of forest scene. 

We then arrived at the point over looking the Buffalo River Valley and what a view.  A leader from a Christian Outdoor group was there exploring. He said they had a group just a little ways away and they were on a 2 week outing. Backpacking and hiking was just a part of it.  He was from Australia.  After a short visit with him.  It was still to early for lunch as we made record time getting there.  So we backtracked to the Goat Trail turn off and ate lunch.  Normal backpacking food. nothing to get excited about... GRIN!  Then we went back up the 800 feet elevation rise over 2.5 miles. It would have been a heart workout if we had packs on.  Once back to base camp we packed up and "pack on" and went the rest of the 3/4 mile trip back to our vehicles.  A easy backpack and day hike.  

We were back a hour or so early so we went down to Ponca and bought treats at the country store.  Then down to see the Elk grazing and to guide the group that was staying another night to Lost Valley. 

Return trip home and all was well.  My wife was going to surprise me with a "new to me truck" sitting in the drive but it had a small engine so she didn't buy that one for me. We have a camper to pull a V8 is a must. 

Enjoy the pictures and take time to leave the city and enjoy the handy work of God.


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