Hercules Glades devils den 2013 backpack and day hike to Long Creek falls.

September 27th - 28th, 2013 Weather was perfect temps in the low 80's and lows of 64.   Click on a picture for a larger view.  Special thanks to Rob Batchman for sharing the pictures with us.

20 Royal Rangers and friends went on this over night backpack.  Oak Grove, Central and Evangel Temple were represented.

As it always is the week leading up is spent getting your stuff together.  The best teacher and the best challenge is "Bring your own, cook your own or go hungry'.

This method works.  The folks are responsible for everything.  The only thing provided is drinking water midway and transportation there and back.  The rest of it is that persons responsibility.  Leaders this beats any event you ever do.  They quickly learn and to take care of themselves.  When we do it all for them... We have indeed done it for them.  Not much growth when someone else is doing it all and one just has to show up.  Something about them getting their stuff together and taking responsibility for it... they GROW!

We left my house in Ozark and in about a hours drive we were at the Trail head at Coy Bald.  We quickly put on packs and backpacked the 200 foot drop in 1/4 mile to the devils den campsite right on the river.  It was getting dark and everyone did a great job of dragging up firewood.  We had enough to last all night and the next morning.  Perfect job on gathering wood.  Then everyone sat up their shelters, hammocks 6, tarps 2, tents 6 and a few slept outside under the stars.

Friday nights council fire was done by Rob Batchman the title "Life's not fair" and we each shared a bit on something we would like to do.  At around 10:00 pm I hit the sack.  Listening to the talking, laughter and so on as I went off to sleep.  It was a quiet night.  I woke up several times as I am a light sleeper and looked out through the open tent door and kept thinking what a perfect night.  David Julian reported 2 raccoons in the area in the middle of the night. 

Saturday morning.  7:10 am I climbed out my tent and soon camp came to life with everyone cooking, eating, sharing, laughing around the campfire.  (These are the best times).  At 8:00 am.  each person around the fire got a map of where we were going for the day.  We talked about the trail the hard parts and easy parts.  I shared a devotion on Life has it's struggles but we stay true and don't quit have a awesome reward ahead that we can't even imagine its so good.  Comparisons were made of the trail to our trail in life.  Sometimes it will be difficult other times its beautiful. We must finish and finish well. 

At 9:10 am we left base camp with some of our gear stowed and the rest would be packed up on a loop back.  Our first part of the trail was 200 feet up across the creek.

Hercules glades offers a lot of woodland trails. Not a lot of oooh and awe but it's peaceful and it's a great place to teach backpacking skills We had 6 new folks out of the 20 that had not been backpacking like this..on their own with their own stuff.  Along the way Ernie and Darrell two brothers decide to have a completion and carry 2 large log along the trail...they did this for almost 3 miles and when it came time to go up the pilot knob the big hill... they both laid down their burdens and then enjoyed the rest of the way.  I was a feat of strength.  (I wouldn't have carried them that far...willingly).

Soon we were up on the pilot knob passing by Randy and Cathy Donnelson's perfect campsite..where we generally have Rob do push ups for burning their log they used to sit on at this little camp site..the Log had been there for 20 years...and Rob got cold one night and through it on the fire. GRIN!

On top of pilot knob we enjoyed the view and shared a story of  Dec 31st, 1999 Y2K.  We had camped up there to watch the lights of Branson go out at midnight..because of computer chips not having a 4 digit year in them...  the view was again pretty.  One can see along ways in all directions.  A light cool breeze was refreshing and it was not long before we headed down the other side towards Long Creek Falls.  Due south.  45 minutes later we hit the falls and at 12:25 we were eating lunch and watching the fish in the pool below the falls.  Filtered out about 6 2 liter bottles of drinking water and replenished the drinking supply.  We enjoyed about 45 minutes and came across a lone hiker packing a glock and a boy scout leader and his son camping there. Almost always see folks down at this falls.  It's a 2 mile good hike to get to it but it's worth the trip.

We followed the Long creek down stream back to base camp.  The trail would take you up and down and criss and cross and the last mile I just walked the center of the creek and let my feet get soaking wet..(I rarely do this but saw one of the boys doing it and he was having a great time so I went for it as well and put on dry socks back at base camp)  Lots of little water falls and cascades and cool stuff to see.  This bushwhack down the creek goes by fast.  I love creek walking.

Back at base camp we packed up and sent them up the hill towards the vehicles in groups of 3 or 4 to climb back out of the 200 foot climb in 1/4 mile. It's tough. I had to stop 6 times on my way up.  My pack lighter but still heavier than most.  I won the heavy pack contest by 3 lbs. 

Soon we were almost to McDonalds and it started to rain.  After a stop for ice-cream and hamburgers and coffee we were on the road again arriving back at my house at 4:45 pm.  Perfect trip and they all had  a great time.      Click on a picture for a larger view.