Junior Training Trails 2009 So. MO. District!  (click on a picture to get a larger view)



Wow what a Backpack!  July 9th - 11th, 2009  Springfield, Missouri and then close to Jasper, Arkansas


The day started early 6:30 a.m. with a trip to pickup the old pickup bed trailer.  After a tail light fix then to the Annex.

Setup tables, laid out gear turned the thermostats down.  Then folk started showing up.  Staff meet and setup for the days events.  Hats, Shirts, workbooks, food, drinks and props. 


At noon most were there.  We were all busy checking in getting our JTT shirts and hats and stowing gear.  1pm sharp the training was well on it's way.  The back room of the RR Annex was the coolest and largest so most classroom teaching was done there.  After a few hours of teaching we headed out to Dynamic Earth and Bass Pro for some gear shopping. It's good to show boys and men just what gear costs.  Dynamic Earth offered the best of the best and Bass Pro offered the Wal-Mart type gear.  The boys were pretty tight fisted with their money so more gandering was done than anything.  After a hour or so of shopping the boys were ready for chow. So back to the Ranger Annex for Hamburgers and trimmings.  Then more teaching on backpacking skills.  Gear, map, Compass, water, food, clothing. 


At 9:30 p.m. we handed out the food and the boys packed their packs with food and water and all they would take.  WE then stepped up on the scale with the pack on and then with the pack off.  No more than a 1/3 of the body weight loaded down.  We then went for a little night backpack to just let the boys know what it meant to carry these packs with "EVERYTHING" one would need for a 2 day backpack. I think the light started to come on... what do I really need, what can I leave here?  Council fire and a challenge of what can we do to live for eternity.


Lights out at 11:30 p.m.  Well we tried to anyway! 


Friday morning 6:30 a.m.  Commander Bowser made the getup call.  Everyone was scurrying to get their stuff repacked and get breakfast - pancakes - sausage - juice and a picture in before we loaded up for the Buffalo River Backpack!  We loaded up the old trailer and in 2 church vans and one personal vehicle off we went.


2 hours later we headed down the gravel drive to Kyle's Landing.  Wow 4 miles of down!!!!!  The sides of the roads...what sides?  Just keep going.  Wow what a view!  500 foot tall cliffs.  We unloaded the packs took a group photo and off we went heading towards 4 river crossings and base camp 2 miles away.  At each river crossing we took off our boots and socks and put on our River shoes, then crossed the river deepest was mid leg most just above the ankles.  3 hours later we arrived at base camp.  20 foot jumping cliffs into a 12 foot natural pool.  Tents were setup then Boys were sent down to inspect the 12 foot pool for tree's, rocks anything that would be dangerous.  Then the jumping and cooling off began.  27 Royal Rangers enjoyed this natural God inspired water park.  Only the floaters and backpackers can take advantage of this creation. 

    Jumping Cliffs Video  14489413

After a hour or so of swimming off we hiked to Hemmened in Hallow.  208 foot water fall.  This time of year it's only a shower of cold water that makes you shout when it cools you off from the 208 foot drop.  As the wind blows this shower around the rim of the narrow hallow it is fun to chase as it never stays in the same place.  Boys climbed the trails and enjoyed the uniqueness of this place.  The wind was blowing straight down the falls and giving us a cool breeze found no where else in this hallow.  After a hour or so we headed back to the jumping cliffs for another swim. 


The freeze dried meals were cooked up and crackers and juice and pudding was scarfed up. Commander Batchman put that steak he had had marinated for 3 days and frozen cooking on the fire and WOW..what a treat as he gave each of us a bite or two of steak cooked right on the fire YUM! 7:30 pm.  We had the last class on First Aid and then the nights council fire just before dark. While some were tuckered out and went to sleep in their tents, tarps, cots, hammocks others visited around the fire.  Sometime in the early morning about 30 deer came sorting in and let us know they were there.  I didn't hear a thing.  I was in my hennisy hammock fast asleep my battery operated fan still moving air hanging from my top guy rope in my tent hammock. 


Commander Bowser made the call...again 6:30 a.m.  Everyone was up boiling water for oatmeal and coffee and finishing packing up their gear. Commander Batchman again showed up with some biscuits he had cooked in tinfoil and had covered them with butter and lemon frosting...oooooh wow! Morning devotion and then at 8:00 a.m. we packed out.  27 souls for Jesus made the 2 mile  trip in 1 hour and 15 minutes.  This time not stopping to change boots and keep dry feet.  However the boys were reminded that if they were to do this for a while longer they would have blisters. 


We made it back to the Church vans at Kyle's Landing and broke out the ice chest full of ice cold Pepsi.  30 cans of soda went down ooooh so good.  Loaded up...and to our great surprise another Royal Ranger group from Arkansas was right down there camping getting ready to go caving in cooper head cave  a 30 foot straight rappel in a hole about 3 foot around... ooohhh..that sounds cool!  Maybe next year!  


We arrived at the Ranger Annex at noon and Commander Millhouser has sandwiches and lemonade and chips waiting for us.  All I can say is... You have to go backpacking with us. It's the best of the best!  It was a real honor to go with these 22 boys and 5 leaders.  Great Job So. Mo.

PDF of the Trail


Mark Jones, Trail Boss.


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 So. Missouri's finest young men.  I praise God for you and the leaders that make it happen!