03-12-2010 Hercules Glades Wilderness Area Royal Ranger backpack and day hike.  Click on pictures to get a larger view.

Well Praise the Lord we had a great time. 12 of the of the 20 showed and when we left Springfield at 5:30 pm it was a light rain and cool.

Meet two other groups along the way down around Forsyth, MO. At the Trail Head it was a light rain just enough to have on a rain jacket. We hiked down the 3/4 mile down into devils den. 5 boys and 7 adults. 2 of these boys were 7 years old with their Dad's looking out after them.

At base camp down along Long Creek in the heart of devils den we setup our tents first in the rain. Dragged up firewood in the rain and then the rain stopped. We had a blazing fire going it was tough finding enough wood this is a very often used camping site so wood is picked up when it falls close by. So we had to go a bit farther than usual to gather enough wood. 300 feet circle of the fire. Here in So. Mo that is a long ways for us.

It was time to start cooking and have council fire at 9:00 pm. The rain stopped. We cooked steaks, MREs, Soups, Dehydrated meals, pork steaks to name some that I remember. We shared what we had with a taste here and a bite there. Pulled out the HOT spicy peanuts in the shell and warmed the up a bit. Council fire was on the 7ups with scripture. The Lord blessed us with ideal weather. It was a cool 36 or so I would estimate.

At about 10:30 pm or 11 pm after much talking and laughing and sharing stories and fellowshipping (good stuff guys) around the fire we all hit the sack and the rain started up again. It was a light sprinkle off and on most of the night.

6:00 am I awoke to the sound of light rain on my tent. I laid there in my sleeping bag and listened and prayed. Well it was 6:30 and I had to climb out and start dragging up some firewood. The rain stopped.

We had breakfast, bacon and eggs, sausage, hot on the fire donuts with sugar and cinnamon and or honey and the traditional Oatmeal and cereal was being consumed and hot cinnamon rolls with icing right off the fire... man we were sitting in hog heaven. More food then we could eat.

At 8:30 Commander Batchman delivered the morning devotion on Fear can be bad or it can be good. Funny thing is that was one of my devotions so at the close of his part I handed him my notes and scriptures and told the group this wasn't even talked about. He talked about some of the folks that didn't' show up had a fear of the cold and rainy weather. Yet with God all things are possible.

At 9:05 we headed off with our topo's and compasses. I had two boys that were wanting to do one of the 10 miles hike for the Gold Hiking Merit. So we referenced the topo and compass many times over those miles. At Osama Bin Ladins grave or it used to be there I think al-Qaida dug him up and moved him somewhere else to keep up the terrorist ops. Our first stream crossing and trail split. Everyone was instructed on my 2 rules. Have fun and when it comes to a trail split everyone stops until were all there and we all go down the right trail together. GRIN! I will get mad if you don't do this. GRIN! They did a great job of keeping these 2 rules.

At our first trail split Sr. Guide had a choice with the limited topos we had (surprise not all trails are on the tops) we headed north. I asked him at the time what about that trail over there?
So we looked at the wizard of Oz tree and headed north. Well it wasn't long before Sr. Guide realized we were not following the map in the right direction. So after some examination it was declared we were on a new trail that I had not been on before and it headed straight north. So we did great. After about 3 miles I was amazed at these little boys just trooping right along with out even ONE complaint. We were day hiking and the first part of the trail was up about 300 feet trail was pretty flat along that topo line up on top of the hills. Beautiful cedars and hardwoods. Passed by old stone piles that were 600 foot long and all kinds of scenic stuff.

We met one person along the way that was backpacking alone with all his gear and had been doing some bushwhacking. He had all the right gear and was having a great time taking pictures of very natural shots.

We went over the Pilot knob a 1200 foot hill and looked all around and built a fire and ate lunch. The wind was picking up a bit and the fire was a nice touch.

Back at base camp after about 8.5 miles or so we packed up or gear and it was sprinkling again and hiked up the 300 feet back up to the vehicles. After a little alarm trouble on one of the trucks we disc the battery and we were set.

55 minutes later we drove home in the cold and rain and was unpacked and tents and gear drying in the garage and taking a hot bath by 5:30 pm. It was a great over night backpack and day hike.

Mark Jones

Link to the topo map and trail we ended up on. 

Duncan Donuts look out competition on the trail!

Wise Guys!

Deep Fried Bisquits make great sugar and cin donuts!


Dads and sons have a great time!

Even Arkansas folk come north!

The wild bunch at devils den.

1st stream crossing "we there yet?"

Candyman can!

These boys hiked 10 miles! Wow!

Old grudges being dissolved!

Up to the top of the Pilot Knob!

Wow what a view!

Fire is always good to cheer you up!

They asked me if I had any Catholic Background here.

What you can't see is a fish shaped rock! Looked just like it.