Pedestal Rocks Backpack and Day hike 11-08-2013 Friday night - Saturday 3 pm. Weather was perfect
over cast with a high of 64 and a low of 45. Little to no wind. Trail coverage was right at 7 miles.
This was my first trip on the whole Pedestal Rocks trail. Last year we came down and camped and did the Kings Bluff trail. It was really neat. This time I wanted to go down below the trail and visit the bottom of the formations and look at the caves and rooms below.

Click on a picture for a larger view.  Special thanks to Dan Rockafellow, Rob Batchman  and Marshall Jones for sharing the pictures with us.

The week leading up to the backpack is always filled with phone calls. Lot's of weather forecast checking as this makes a big difference on attendance. If it's a rainy forecast you will lose about 75% of your campers. This weekend was to a perfect weekend. Attendance jumped from Just Rob and I to 27 going. We had a great group of 21 there.

Randy a friend from work and his wife Melanie went down during the day light hours on Friday and found us a flat place to camp. The only spot he could find. Topo maps indicated a flat spot but most often what you think is flat on a map is not camp able. Thankfully Randy scouted out a spot just big enough for our 6 tents and 6 hammocks. He found a spot for a campfire with enough space for 21 around it. Also dragged up firewood enough for the camp. What a blessing!

Just before we left Ozark we do a pack weigh in. It's always a must to know what your carrying and the only way to teach and learn is by being conscious of it and plan ahead. So Ernie Moad came away with the heaviest pack award. He wanted to honor the Veterans with full military equipment and he is the one carrying the flag. We did the pledge of Allegiance on the trail as Ernie proudly kept the flag in best order. One time he fell and the flag went down. He scrambled as fast as he could to honor the flag and get it up off the ground. It was a God thing to see a young man showing honor to the Christian based honor and traditions we have for our country and nation. Ernie wore a flack jacket, helmet also slept with a full military hammock.

We made good time taking 4 vehicles. Did a pick up in Branson and were soon on our way. At 8:30 pm we arrived at the trail head and after a brief 2 rule reminder. Stop at all trail crossings and we all go down the same trail together and enjoy. After a mile hike on the twisting trail we arrived at the Kings Bluff Falls. Randy was up there waiting on us and lead us down to base camp in the dark. You can't see nuthin in the dark. It's was fun when walking out in the day light to see what we missed on the way in. '

We were cooking traditional foods, steak, chili, ravioli, dehydrated , soups, fajitas... all kinds of stuff all around the fire and we had a great time. Rob brought the council fire and read a story about a 135 pound marine country folk that made us all laugh. At 2 am I rolled over in my sleeping bag and I had to tell Matthew and my nephew Jarred it was time to hit the sack..some of us wanted some sleep. They got quiet and the next thing I remember was some sprinkles on the top of my tent. I thought awwwh nice..then wait.. I have boys out there with no tent or tarp sleeping on the ground. I started to get up and it quit sprinkling. I laid back down and it started back up again. So I put on my boots and did a 6:00 am camp inspection and gathered stuff up and coved it. One of the boys was off his mat so I put it over the top of him....then it started. Yup sure enough GAVIN said. Hi Mark and I head him climb out of his tent and I knew the day was at hand.

Pretty soon we kindled the fire. Gavin was our fire maker this weekend. I like for the boys to try and get the fire going..with out me coaching too much or doing it for them. They get good at it by doing it themselves. So after about 45 minutes of smoke and a little coaching.. Gavin once again produced FIRE? Soon we were singing out the morning calls to all the sleepy campers to get up and let's get'er done! There's places to explore, trails to walk.

In a short order we cooked up all kinds of great grub. Bacon and eggs, bagel, fajitas, donuts, rice and more. It was decided to break camp and haul the packs up the hill to the Kings falls and look around. We enjoyed below the falls and all the cools stuff there. I laughed at myself thinking the topo showed flat ground there...nada.. all was in up heaval.

We then went south and bushwhacked around the bottom of the Kings Bluffs pedestal rock formations. It was pure bushwhacking no trail. Not many folk had been down here recently. We enjoyed bouldering clambering over rocks and trees and loved those razor sharp briars... Yes hi on the hog here.

We were going to double back doing the bush whack but Steven and Peaches found a path up so we took the trail back up and then hauled our backpacks out to the trail intersections. Dropped them again and day hiked with lunch packed to the Pedestal Rocks. I hadn't been on this trail so it was going to be new! We enjoyed the walk with out packs and started seeing all kinds of folks along the way. I would imagine some 50 people were visiting Pedestal Rocks that Saturday.

This place is awesome. The views and the caves just under neath are really cool. Enjoyed lunch and some provocative discussions on creation and evolution up there looking out of what I know to be the hand of God.
The Gospel message was shared down there and we enjoyed the fellowship and fun and was blessed by the difference each one of us has. I am so glad we are not all carbon copies of me.

Enjoyed the trip back and the stop in Harrison at McDonalds. I even treated myself to 2 ice-cream cones and one coffee.
A wonderful trip. Great memories. Great exercise. Woo whoo Rangers!

Mark Jones, just a sinner saved by GRACE!