Sam's Throne April 5th and 6th, 2013  Weather was windy gust to 20 mph with 70 for a high and 50 for a low.  Special thanks to Rob Batchman for the pictures.  Click on a picture for a larger vew.



I have a dream!  Damon called Wed night. I and the boys want to camp up on top of the Sam's Throne.  These guys with Visions.  You got to love them.

The usual thing.  Leave the Ranger Annex at 5:30  after loading the Church van and trailer and getting gas.  14 heading toward the Throne.  Stopped at Ozark and picked up the rest of the group.  Made good time the drive down 65 to 123 at begins a very scenic drive.  It was just about to get dark when we turned off on 123 and the road goes every direction. Then to Mount Judea and then up, up, up, up and around, around, around.  10 mph.  Soon we are at the camp ground. On the way up my buddy Rob tried to talk me out of camping on top of the would be a lot of work. 

So we arrive at Sam's Throne.  2 Church Groups there and about 4 other groups camping.  Perhaps 1/3 full.  After some discussion..  I was being passive. rare but I was.  What ever they wanted to do I was for it.  So it was agreed to follow the guy with the vision.  GRIN!  Damon has been camping with me and the Rangers and family for over 20 years at this site. He has always wanted to camp on top of the throne.  I like a man that is driven by a (ACHIEVABLE) dream.  So I got behind him.   

The trip over would be a new route for me.  I knew there was a break in the rock that allowed folks to scramble down and follow along the base of the Cliffs, I had just never been on it.  It was indeed a scramble.  Pretty steep.  At night I generally don't go for too rough a trail this was high on the rough trail.  Yet doable.  Damon led the group down to the base of the cliff.  One of the new dads to the group made a decision to turn back  and camp up on top.  Rob and James Evans helped assist them back up the steep trail and then Rob would meet us back over to the throne.  I was not aware that Rob was hiking alone in the Dark by himself.  It's spooky in the woods at night.  Video link of that solo trip and some pictures and humor.

The trail was dark.  The wind was blowing. It was exciting.  Everyone was cautioned to walk carefully and watch your steps.  Every step was calculated.  No side walk here. No gravel path here. No chip path here.  No handrail here.  That was why we came here. It  is wild.  You better be "Ready".  Head lamps light the way. 

Soon we came to the bottom of Sam's throne.  A scramble up.  Then a team hand off of packs to the top.  Each person stationed at a fixed point handing up packs to the top.  It was fun and a challenge and while it was hard work it WAS WORTH IT! 

Up on top the wind was gusting.  Any tent not anchored down with gear on it would indeed go sailing across the valley below.  Soon we had base camp setup tents fixed and a fire kindled with wind break rocks.  It was about 10:30 pm by the time we got around to cooking.  I ate a cheese stick, a orange and went to my tent.  As I listen to the rest of the guys carrying on 3 boys talking in the tent 2 feet away from mine.  Wind howling.  It was WORTH IT!  I think it was midnight before the rest went to bed.  NO council fire on this's time was for the trip back. 

All night long the wind howled and gusted.  50 degrees it was perfect weather.  Up on top of Sam's Throne there we were. A team of 11.  3 leaders and 8 boys. 

7:00 am it was time to sing the song.  Good morning, Good morning, Good morning, it's time to rise and shine....I hope your feeling fine.  As we all got around some sooner than others as always.  I pack my stuff when I wake up.  That way I can holler at everyone else in good conscious to get er packed up and lets go.  We had another group over at the campground that was waiting on us.  After breakfast of all kinds.  It's good to see the boys start cooking their own food. Doing for themselves.  Over come and adapt kind of stuff.  Making wind blocks so their stoves don't go out.  Figuring stuff out. It's one thing to do it in the class room. It's a whole different animal when it's outside and it's REAL. 

Soon we were scrambling off of Sam's Throne back over to the campground and up that scramble of a trail we came down the night before in the pitch black dark!  SNAKE. Rob found a snake that 3 of us had walked over...and of course Gavin and Rob had to have a snake off.  Me I don't touch those things.  Good snakes live....bad snakes it's optional.

WE met up with the group up top at the campground and waited on Damon and the Crimson house boys.  After a while we sat up ropes and found them at the bottom of the rappel working their way up.  They passed gear up through the catacombs and made it up top. We then rappelled until about 1:45 pm.  3 hours is plenty of time. 

I had looked over Top Belaying.   So I sat it up and used a extra rope on the boys and men going down.  I like this method better as we have 2 ropes on the person and one set person on top controlling the slack on  decent. 

We had a great time.  One of the boys met his fears there and went down. It was a learning experience for him.  Dad was delighted and so was Commander Jones.  When I was growing up. I rarely did anything that was a challenge.  My brother did it first.  If was fearful of it. I didn't do it.  I missed out on a lot of fun stuff.  Today.  Some where in that time span I soon learned that put your faith in what you know and stand on it. 

As Christians we have the God of the Universe that has our Back.  He is able and willing to come to our aid.  With out HIS BLESSING I wouldn't be so eager in having teenage boys hanging out over cliffs.  We serve a Great God that loves us and wants the best for us.  Enjoy that Christian life.  

Click on a picture for a larger view.

Mark Jones


Catacombs top down view


Dino Rock

Up to top of throne

Rappelling Cliff

Mark poseing for a picture

coming down from the throne

Waiting at the cross

James test rope

We only lost one!

Carn at night could you see this?

I think Rob was crying when he over looked this one.

This guy loves Jesus

Way back to Campground

Packs hand off place

Every boy needs to do this..they grow from it.

Trail Break

Rob showing off.

Memories boys will remember for a life

Base Camp with Wind Break

Cool place

Snake !!

Rocks Galore