Like Bear Gryls folks ask me... “Mark so how was the backpack?” (Big ole GRIN!) and I tell them. It was GREAT!  Click on a picture for a larger view!

October 6-7th, 2012 Highs in the mid 50 lows to be 31. A perfect day on Sunday!

Saturday after the Ranger mobile Race 4 of us 2 leaders and 2 expedition age Rangers headed out to Pedestal Rocks about 28 miles south of Jasper, Arkansas a few miles
east of Pelsor scenic 7 to hwy 16. Whoo whoo Rangers! It was forecasted for a 80% chance of rain so..this time..we were “READY!” of course being like Bear Gryls my survival man instincts kept me dry..but my padre’s they was wet last time..this sir not us!

6:10 pm when we left the house and by the time we arrived It was dark and the rain hit us most of the way to Pedestal Rocks. About 8:20 we arrived at the trail head. We put on
wet gear and pack wraps and hats and gloves and off we went.. into the dark.... on a unknown trail... in the rain... in BEAR COUNTRY! Was we scared? I was I don’t know about the rest of the guys... we were not going to fess up to it either way.

My hiking buddy Rob walked down the trail and would stop about every 10 steps asking where do we go... I said down that way... and the poison ivy and the wet thick brush and the incline kept us on the trail in the general direction that the topo indicated was FLAT LAND!

Well my best laid plans didn’t pan out... heading took us down through brush so about a half mile in to the trail we found a small clearing and being a dedicated experienced commander I told the boys go check it out down there and find us some Flat Land.... I felt like the Deacon in Water World. GRIN! They yelled up from down below.. we found flat land! So Rob headed down through the bush as I chided him to not leave me alone in the dark while I marked the trail way point where we left the trail on my gps.

Soon we were in a land to behold. Flat land filled with all kinds of purdy colored flowers as Rob called them. He can spot a pine tree a hundred miles away... and sit right down on poison ivy and pull it up stick it in his mouth and start chewing on it and will say.. this is the best day of my life and we will setup camp. That’s the test. I have learned from many years of experience that indicates a perfect camping spot. I know, I know it’s thought out almost as good as evolution but folks believe in that right? Anyway it wasn’t’ long we warned of the purdy red flowers as being lots of poison ivy around and cleared us out a patch and sat up camp! Hi time living I am telling you!

Soon we had our shelters sat up and ready for a down pour if one would come...but you know what..not a drop from there on out.. I figure God has mercy and loves a good adventure like we do so we were blessed! We cleared out a place for a fire and dragged up firewood it was all over the place didn’t have to go 20 feet for any of it.

Joshua wanted to start a fire with a log and was busy working on that.. while I harvested the dead branches still hanging in the tree called squaw wood and piled it next to where Joshua was working up dry wood! Was not long before we had a fire kindled and food was being cooked and life was good. It was a late arrival and after we had eaten and had popcorn 2 servings the fire blazing and there we was out in the middle of Wild Arkansas! Of course we had to talk about sasquatch and the latest bear attacks and the normal encouraging words while your out there.... hanging food up in the trees and such. It was 11:45 and we thought it was only 10:00 pm. I crashed into my warm comfy tent and soon the lights went out.

Just before day light I could hear the callings of a 53 year old man and had to get up to take a look outside and make sure to put some human sent around the outside of the tent to scare away any wild animals that might show up. I could hear Rob stirring some 20 feet away and I from the mutterings came a younger voice from a Hennessy Hammock saying something like this.. so are you guys having a reunion out there... we just did the normal ignore techniques that work with teenagers and went about climbing back into our tents and nodding back to sleep..

Soon the sun was up and Joshua “Keeper of the Fire” got up and spoke boldly what a view! I sat up and thought here we are lost in the woods not sure exactly where we are and we could be close to a super spectacular scenic view and I was missing it. So I got my morning layers on and came out and what a sight to behold. ...trees in every direction.. Joshua grinned.. heeh hheheh. We do that to get people up out of worked there I was!

Morning breakfast we had oatmeal, bacon,eggs, orange biscuits and more and enjoyed the time. Had church on Math 7:14 and soon broke camp and cleaned up the site.

On the way back to the trail head to drop off packs we ran into Justin and his wife and they had already visited the other loop. So we went to Kings Bluff Loop and enjoyed a few hours of some of the neatest sandstone formations I have seen. This is some purdy stuff.

Click on a picture for a larger view.

Special thanks to Rob, Joshua, Davis, Mark, Justin and Cassie for a great time and pictures and fellowship. All Christians enjoyed God’s great handy work!

Mark Jones