September 14th and 15th, 2012. Highs 70 lowes 54 Hercules Glades Wilderness in Southern Missouri.

Click on a picture for a larger view.



Ok. most of you owe us big time. We went backpacking with a 70% chance of rain. Yes it turned out to be 98% percent did we figure we did our duty and brought rain to our drought stricken area and got the double bonus.



As with most backpacks..the numbers go from no one going to 20 and land in there in the middle..this time it was 9 brave souls for Jesus going to the devils den in the rain!


My last check of the weather was a 40% chance and it was supposed to end by Friday afternoon with a 30% chance of I went thinking a few showers!


Praise God for Dan Rockafellow. He was able to get a church van on short notice and we all packed in that van with backpacks and not a ounce of room for more. Really enjoyed the trip down as most of the times were all driving.


Our Central team had last minute schedule conflicts so two boys at 4pm didn't end up making it. Yet we had one new young man show up "Ready for Anything" My brothers son-in-law's son.

This young man is a natural. He had prepared and packed and even bought gear for this trip. At the age of 12 he is ahead of many boys even 13 or 14 years old. With a little adjusting we added a small tent and sleeping bag to his gear. Praise God for Military Gear bags with straps..we fixed him up with one of those.


Friday night we hiked down the trail from Coy Bald Access and registered at the trail head and tromped down the 3/8 mile DOWN, DOWN, DOWN to Long Creek. Crossed the creek almost dry even with some rain earlier in the day. I thought Lord it would be nice to have a little more water in the creek but I was thankful to be out in the woods! Whoo whoo Rangers!


We passed by the first campground as it is a favorite and most fire wood is hard to come by. Opted out for the 2nd camp spot..(just a flat space in the's all rough woods) Soon we had our tents up. I had loaned out 2 hammocks, tarps and 2 tents besides my gear. Helped setup this gear with the boys. As often is done the tents are placed in harms way too close to the fire..yet we were able to move them and get them set back up. Cabalas had a XPG tarp that can be set up with trekking poles and it made a great rain fly for the hammock.


We enjoyed the normal laughing and cooking around the fire. This fellowship time is around these fires is priceless. Just before council fire time we did a group coyotes howl and Bless God one answered back not far from our camp... as the boys had a concerned look on their good ole American ingenuity came into play..soon the saw was broke out and boys were working on spear points for their weapons and then went off on a coyote hunt. I lead the pack went about 100 feet from camp hid in the woods until they come tromping through and I said it's right over there... I did the right thing and scream it's coming after us and ran back towards camp.... GRIN! Pretty soon they come tromping back into camp.


While Rob Batchman delivered the Council fire Service and we were all around the fire the boys were buys sharpening their spear points.


I had steak n shake can chili and then cooked microwave popcorn in my 1960 issue Swedish Cook set..using denatured alcohol as a fuel. Shared the extra buttery popcorn with the group. Hung out and about 10:30 I hit the sack.


After 25 years of camping you learn a few things. Mind you I spent many a wet nights when it rain to learn these things. I use a Sierra Designs Electron 1 tent place that over a Luxury lite backpack cot (2lbs 1 ounce) and then put a thermorest onto of that inside the tent. Basically the tent floor is off the ground as the cot fits just under the tent with about 5" of room all around each side.. No matter how much it rains...I am dry.


The boys and leaders stayed up for a while and than nodded off to sleep. Well about 3:00 am... it started to rain big drops of rain at a good steady pace. At about 4:30 I could hear someone moving around out there in the rain and I was thinking..I ain't moving out of my nice and comfy dry tent so I hunkered down and listened.


Pretty soon a couple of voices could be heard and you could hear the occasional crack of a stick. So about 6:30 am I put on my clothes and my rain gear and buckled down as it was raining pretty hard.


I found 4 of the boys sitting around a small fire with a tarp over them hung between the trees and having a great time. They each told me of stories of wet sleeping bags and how they ended up around the fire under this tarp. It was a good setup.


I moved the tarp that was over a empty hammock and setup it up just on the other side of the fire and hung it up to provide more protection. We then pulled in a tarp that was funneling rain under a tent and got busy cooking breakfast and having coffee in the pouring rain. Good stuff.


Soon everyone was up and we had breakfast eaten and the boys had checked out Long Creek and gave a report on it about 6" of water flowing where it was dry the night before. I thought thank you Jesus for the rain.


I shared a morning devotion around the fire and challenge the boys to keep their faith in Jesus not in their own works. World teaches "self", me, myself and I kind of stuff. Yet as Christians we are to die to self. Put our faith in Christ and what HE has done for us at Calvary and remain in that.


We hiked up streak of Long Creek. The boys were already wet so they pretty much just tromped right down the middle of long creek sometimes going through pools of water 2 feet deep... they didn't' care...they loved it. I skirted the deep pools and walked the 3" water with dry feet. Sometimes we would bushwhack the sides getting into brush going around the deeper water...the boys... they just tromped through it all.


We made the Long Creek falls and low and behold RANGER TREASURE! A Large deer head skeleton with antlers was there looking over the falls. The boys latched on to that Keep sake and brought most of it home...(your welcome mom's for the extra treat) GRIN!


We made record time and by this time the rain was off and on but all the vegetation was soaking wet so by brushing up against it you got soaked. Once again my gear was up to the task and I was dry inside next to my skin by using layers and the right kind of gear.


Rob and Dan were good sports... Rob didn't' say this was the best day of my life..and we couldn't' coax that out of him..but we had a great time. Got back to base camp at 12:30 and packed up. The hill out was UP, UP , UP and it's a cardio work out. It's worth it..I think I rested for a minute or two about 5 times up that haul.


Soon we were heading down the road toward McDonalds in Forsyth. Dan spotted a billfold on the road and turned around and we picked it up. We called the guy and told him we would met him at McDonalds in Forsyth..they had been looking for this wallet. Dan bless his heart when he was turning around made mention if I had lost mine billfold it would be nice to have someone find it and return it back to that is just what Dan did. Royal Rangers got a witness of being kind and honest and I and the boys learned a God lesson...thanks to Commanders sharp eye and Big heart.


We enjoyed the hot chocolate as we were all soaked and it was cold in that McDonalds and soon our bellies were full and we were ready "TO GO HOME" GRIN! These guys were up for another I wanted to go home. GRIN!


A home I unloaded the wet gear and strung lines in the garage between shelves on each side and hung up 3 tents with rain fly's, 2 hammocks and one tarp and all the gear and packs and bags.. all hanging in the garage drying out and will need to be put away in a couple of days.


It's worth it Commanders. It's worth taking these boys outside the walls of the Church and letting them build Character, skills and when they get back home..they appreciate more the comforts of home and what God has blessed them with.


Mark Jones

Even in the Rain.  God is honored and the boys have a great time. It's a matter of the heart!