October 15th -16th, 2010 Royal Ranger Backpack. You better be Ready!

Pictures at end of this report!  Click on a picture to get a larger view.

Wow the toughest trail I have ever been on around here.
The backpack started with a 2 hour drive to Kyle's Landing just
west of Jasper Arkansas down on the Buffalo River.

We arrived at the trail head at dark and put on our backpacks
and packed in about a 1/2 mile to the Indian Creek and BRT trail
heads. Just north of that trail about 800 feet we found camp back
in some heavy tree covered area that didn't have a bunch of under
growth. Big rocks to the east of us and we sat up 4 backpacking
tents and one hammock had a fire going in a short while. There
was 8 souls in this contingent of Royal Rangers. 4 men and 4 boys.

Soon you could hear pulled pork, steak, foil packs, Mac and Cheese all
sizzling on stoves and cooking on the fire. Yum. Food is awesome
out in the woods. We enjoyed the fellowship and campfire antics.
Always a council fire service and points made with prayer.
Boys discovered that green bamboo placed in the fire will pop like
a fire cracker...so we had fun with that the whole time around the
fire. 11pm we all hit the sack and at about 7:00 am we awoke to a
beautiful day.

Breakfast was the usual bacon and eggs, foil pack precooked eggs
and sausage. Treats were fried donuts with powdered sugar or
honey. Yum. One of the men awoke with a swollen throat flapper so we
laid hands and prayed and did what we could do for him.

By 9:15 we left base camp all packed up and backpacked back to the
4 wheel drive vehicles. Then put all the gear in one vehicle taking
only our daypacks, with drink and food and some rope and first aid.

By 10:15 am we were at the trail head after having to get out and walk about
500 feet while the vehicle navigated the ruts and high centered road.
There we were facing the Upper Indian Creek Eye of the Needle Trail head.
I was told this was one of the hardest trails that many experienced hikers
had been on. So much thought and prayer was put into this trip days
before. Inquiring and talking to various folk that had recently been
on the trail.

The Trail head. A Big iron pipe sticks out of the ground. Take the trail
to the left. Everyone will think you have lost your mind as the trail
looks seldom traveled. It winds down to a 65' waterfall where we crossed
across the top of it and took pictures on the rock that over hangs the falls
with nothing under it.. then up the wash to find the trail running along
the top of the ravine. We followed that trail down, down, down.STEEP.
I would guess it to be about 300 feet of down over a 1/8 of a mile.

We came across the sign that said trail closed and right past that the
trail was a wash and we picked it up again. This whole trail is following
the Indian Creek and looking for the trail. The trail then split we took
the right turn down into the creek past a 16 foot water fall bouldering down
to where we came to a big rock over a 10' waterfall. 6 of us rock climbed
down that with a rope and 2 smaller boys scrambled left and found a spot they
climbed down about 60 feet it was a scramble but it was easier the way
they went. Yet we faced this climb and enjoyed the challenge.

Soon we were 1 hour and 15 minutes into the hike and we were on the backside of
the eye of the needle. Then we scrambled up the wash on the right side of the
eye of the needle it was a tough climb little to hold on to but inching
our way up we ate lunch on top of the eye of the needle Clift.

The rest of the trail takes one bouldering then up and through a 10' tunnel
into a Big Rock roof room that you walk around the edge and then down to
Indian creek. It's about 150' climb down following a dead tree laying
down on the ground. Then using the rope that is there down over the last
10' to the creek.

From that point it's mainly walking the west side of Indian creek the way back
with the occasional creek crossing. This is quite the hike. Every step is
a step of caution. No flat easy trail on any of this. It's a 3.5 mile hike
that is the equilivent of a 15 mile hike.

We passed by our base camp that we were at 9:15 in the morning and
back to the vehicle where we had a ice cold root beer for everyone there.
We crammed everyone in to Rob's Denali and went back up the 6 miles to
pickup Dave's Suburban. Soon we were heading back. It wasn't 20 minutes
before all the boys were out. We had done our job as a RR Commander and
had plum worn those boys out. Arrive home at 4:45 unloaded and took
a hot bath.

This was the trail of trails. Every step a challenge. Every thought
was are we on the right trail. We did it. With Jesus things are possible.

Click on a picture to get a larger view.

Mark Jones