Boxley to Ponca Backpacking attempt two!  Jan. 3rd and 4th, 2014.  High of 39 low of 27 felt like 19 degrees. Click on a picture for a larger view.   This was a impromptu backpack.  Not an official RR outing.  Yet all AG folk going. 

The trip was changed due to weather report from a Friday night - Sunday backpack.  A arctic air snow storm was due to hit mid Saturday afternoon starting with rain so we opted out for a Friday night planning on heading home about the time it started to rain.

The group of 7 of us met up at Mark Jones house and in Branson and headed south to Ponca.  Dropped off a runner vehicle and everyone loaded up in the pickup and the younger folk got in to the back with the packs inside the shell. 

Not long we were at the Boxley trail head.  A old homestead, barn and house foundation and  a old building built into the size of a hill.  We crossed the road in the pitch dark only a crescent moon guiding us.  It was a clear sky with temps at about 27 degrees and wind and humidity had it at a feels like 19.  It was cold.  Wind gusts up to 12mph that would make you zip up and draw up your layers and hoods.  We crossed a gate and down a lane and soon the trail markers took us across smith creek.  I had prepared everyone (not knowing the water levels) to be ready to take off boots roll up your pants and cross the river in crocs or river shoes.  Then on the other side dry off your feet with a sham wow towel and put your dry socks and boots on.   NO COTTON. 

Soon we were walking in the dark not knowing we were passing alongside a big nice pasture up a hillside and switch backing around up 250 feet.  At the first level spot we came to a nice flat area with a fire ring and everyone said yes...but the wind was blowing and our exposure was windy.  So lets move on.  After some grumbling we went about a 1/4 mile more in the dark to a 90 degree trail turn in a ravine and I told the group right there is where I have our camp picked out...never being there I got blessed by picking a perfect spot.  The wind was blocked by a small hillside and there was tons of fire wood all around.  A big 20" tree had fallen as well and we built our fire 8 feet from that and used it as a reflector and extra wind break. 

We quickly dragged up firewood and had a fire going.  Kasie Fisher had a pile of wood dragged up and a pile of sticks and leaves and a fire going almost before I found my gloves and started dragging up firewood. 

Everyone sat up there shelters, hammocks.  I choose to bring just a tarp and a pad.  Using my 2 trekking poles I used half my tarp as a ground cloth and the other half as my roof with the back pointing into the wind.  It took me about 10 minutes of stepping around to find a spot with no big rocks just big enough for me to lay in.

Around 9:00 pm we had our trail discussion and our Council fire service.  Earlier in the day I had a large lunch at Red Lobster and was not hungry enough to cook supper. So I had a cheese stick and went to my shelter.  I was relatively clean.  So I didn't change anything except put on dry socks.  I could hear them talking around the fire for another 30 minutes or so and soon it got quiet except for the gust of wind all night and the bright stars twinkling in the cold.

Saturday awoke to a over cast sky.  Cold temps.  I got up and piled sticks on the fire. Pulled in the burnt up ends and let it smoke for a while.  Gathered my cook gear and started my biolite stove.  At 7:05 the call went out to get up and get er done. We have trail to cover. 

Pretty soon the zombies come walking towards the smoke and after a few hard breaths the fire burst open and the walking dead came to life.  We hit the trial at 8:40 am and made it 2 miles and one in our party was sick.  He said he was about to throw up and was lagging way behind.  We were at a cut off point.  Turn around and go back was our agreeded on option.  I don't like to split up groups.  I worry too much when we do this.  So we all headed back.  We ended up doing 5.2 miles total carrying backpacks.  Had a great camp and enjoyed the trail.

Back at the trail head we looked over the old homestead and Rob went out to get a closer look at a elk out in the meadow.  There was water coming out of the hill side there and it was a pretty place to visit. 

At our relay car site at Ponca.  Everyone was good to head back home.  We had a weather forecast of freezing rain and snow for late in the afternoon and dropping down into 30 year low temps.  We opted out for Burger King and McDonalds in Harrison and got home early. Still a fun time and a good work out.  Enjoyed it. 

Mark Jones

2 miles in Marsh wants the miles.

Nice woody walk

450 foot climbs included

Overlooks to the left

Sam and Marsh

Kasie Camp to Fire

Lots of leaves and wood for fire.

Trail Head pictures

Funny hat

Kasie Trail Head

Take 2

Rob and Mark Hamming it up at the Trail head

Take 2

Hanging around the fire

Was your mom nervous with you going on this trip?

Cooking bacon on the Bio lite stove.

Charged the new HD Camera with the Biolite

Just a few sticks when cooking

Baked Potato in the fire!

Sam Beef Stew

They called me Bubble boy

Breaking Camp

Jared's hang and Darrells tent

Fire times

Cold Tales around the Fire.

Pack on. Let's go.

Beef Sticks cure a stomach ache

Base Camp Log almost like home!

Great times!

No Tent for me!

Council Fire time!

All I want is some miles!

Rob's new Pack

Rob can you get any closer?

Sam' Ready to Pack

Let's do this hike!

What a real Sweet Stawberry and Rob ate it all!!!!

Tall Tales around the fire!