Backpacking Action Camp 2015  BAC

July 9th, 10th and 11th, 2015  We met at Ozark AOG in the Chapel and had classes there and slept over night there.  Higgie and Jerry kept us well fed with hamburgers, sausage and eggs and toast and cereal and more while we were there.  The preceding week we were hit with record breaking rain and Friday morning it cleared up but the rivers had not yet crested for flood stage. 

Red line was purposed but we did the Yellow and Blue Line (green)

9 of 13 is what we were called

I awoke at 4:00 am to hear the rain just pounding down thinking..what would those 12 river crossing be 100 miles south of here.  We are blessed to have a National Government site that has all the rivers and many creeks with water gauges that you can pull up on the web in a few mouse clicks.  So we were monitoring the river levels in Arkansas as well.  They didn't get hit with all the rain we had but the rivers were being floated and that is unusual for this time of the year. 

After teaching  the basics of  backpacking merit we were packed and ready to leave Friday morning at 8:00 am.  We left Jerry and Higgie for the open road heading down towards Kyles Landing 8 miles west of Jasper Arkansas.  It was a perfect day.  High of 90 projected.  Sunny.  We hit the trail head at Kyles after looking the information over found there and came to our first dry bed stream crossing. It is almost always dry it had 6" of water flowing through it...we walked on top of rocks to get over it. 

Trail crossings are a hot point.  EVERYONE STOPS at the trail crossings and once everyone is there we ALL GO down the same trail together. 

At our first Buffalo River Crossing I knew it would be high but was hoping it would be crossable.  I and David one of the taller young men tested the waters up to my chest and the current was too much to cross.  We tried up stream a bit as well but the current was too much for getting backpacks across.  So we drove a stick at the waters edge to mark the river level and back tracked up the trail a bit to Indian Creek. 

We base camped about 500 feet south of the Buffalo River Trail BRT along a nice campsite a few feet above the Indian Creek.  Indian creek only flows when there is a lot of water.  We had a lot of water.   Everyone sat up their tents and stowed their gear and we took a day hike up Indian Creek.  Along the way there was natural water slides and spill ways the boys enjoyed swimming in.  For years now we have talked of wishing to catch this stream in flow and enjoy these pools and spill ways. We were blessed this year to get to do just that.  It was fun.

Just before the trail goes up high above Indian Creek we turned around and wanted to see if the river had gone down enough to day hike back over to the jumping cliffs.  The river had dropped about 6" from our stake and we saw about 30 boats float by many flipping as there was 3 sets up good rapids just before this river crossing.  We gather 3 boat oars, water coolers, sunflower seeds and boat cushions and returned them many people stopped were we were at to empty their canoes and kayaks so we enjoyed those antics and swam a bit.  then we drove another stick in the ground to mark that water level and went back to base camp.  Boys took a trip back up to the water slide area just up from our base camp.  While the jumping cliffs got missed this year we still enjoyed the trip. 

At 6:00 pm we ate supper cooking around the camp fire.  All dehydrated foods just had to boil water and we ate.  I told the boys on these short trips you can bring real food and cook it as long as it won't spoil.  We bring steak and eggs and bacon and cook donuts and stuff most of the time as food on the camp fire is AWESOME!

After dinner we went back over to the closer Buffalo River Access and swam in the current.  It was fun and it was amazing to us the change in current flow going back up the sides of the river upstream with white water going the opposite direction of the river flow.  Most of the boys enjoyed the river several just hung out and threw rocks.  Not all are swimmers.  I really enjoyed the current and it brought back memories of my child hood swimming in these type of rapids and enjoying myself for days at a time.

Click on a picture for a larger view.

9 of 13 we called this group

Green BAC Tshirts make them stand out!

Group shot at Trail Head at Kyles

These guys did great thinking light weight

A couple of 4 legged visitors during the night

Bob and his Hennesy Hammock

Pictures just don't capture the beauty.

Indian Creek dropped 6" in a few hours

Base Camp

Wet 3 days before fire was hard to get going

3 man tent has plenty of room

Sleeping in at 6:30 am

Father and Son.

Jones tent

Packing up.


After a quick breakfast on Saturday morning we broke camp and backpacked out a short distance to the vehicles.  Rangers backpacking grows when you make base camp 1 mile or less from the vehicle.  This way new folks to backpacking won't be lugging a miss fitting backpack with all kinds of heavy stuff in it for miles and miles.  Keep your backpack base camps close.  Then day hike the day through and cover 10 miles.  They will enjoy this type of backpacking.  We dismissed at 11:15 am at the Ozark AOG Church.  Special thanks to Charles Bowser for making these camps enjoyable. 

Mark Jones, BAC Trail Guide 2015