BAC (Backpacking Action Camp )  Date:  07-06-2017 10:00 am to 07-08-2017 Noon.  Weather forecast was a chance of Thunderstorms Saturday expected when we were to be driving back.  Temps 74 for a low and 94 for a high.  27 Rangers were on this BAC representing nine Outposts from Southern Missouri,  Special Thanks to Mark Jones, Bob Wenneker and Rob Batchman for the pictures.  Click on a Picture for a larger view. ZIP File of All Pictures.

27 Backpacking Action Camp 2017

8 is now a new record of Jumpers at one time!

We picked up Grace Community in Branson at the Top of the Rock on Hwy 65 and while filling the gas tank we observed a tire coming apart on one of the church vans.  We tried to change the tire but there was a security plate on the van that kept someone from stealing the spare tire..but HELLO it kept us from changing the tire.  We sent the van down the road to Big Ole Tire where they changed the spare and arrived just before the shuttle drivers returned for the backpack.  Always someone has gear they need to put back in the van.  One adult pack had nearly 70 pounds of weight in it...for a max 30 pound pack so we had to repack him.  We discovered the van ignition key didn't open the doors of the van so we were locked out...(Hello vehicle engineers think it through).  Commander resourced and used the van antenna to pop the lock on the van side door.  We were ready once again.  Patrols were picked and colors given out.  Red, Blue, Teal, Yellow Patrols.  They developed their yells and patrols as we went.


At 3:30 3 of us headed down Sneeds Creek trail to setup the orienteering course along the trail.  Leaving the group to follow us down from 2240 feet elevation.  Teaching pacing using Ranger Bead counting system. They did very well at it.  The two courses kept them busy counting steps in the woods along the trails.  I used wet erase markers..but will use sharpies from now on and clean them with germex hand santizer.  My two manila envelopes dissolved that held the laminated orienteering course maps and sheets.  This added about 5 pounds to my backpack.  YA!  The second course started at the end of the first course and we ended up at Sneeds Creek elevation 1200 feet...yup lots of down.  Trail was rough and rocky.  All shaded.  Yet with backpacks on 2.5 miles down is tough.  We did ok.  I always tell folks we move only as fast as our slowest moving person.  So we averaged about 1.2 miles per hour.  I have done this type of thing before in cooler weather easily doubling that speed. So this was a new factor to consider.


Once at Sneeds creek I advised everyone to cool off in the creek and rinse the sweat off.  Then on down the Sneeds creek trail we went.  Down and then up about 100 feet to Granny Henderson's Cabin.  Where everyone was to meet up there.  It was about 7:30 p.m. we were almost to base camp.  Just down the hill to the river about 500 feet then follow the trail down stream it takes you to the Jumping cliffs.  Folks were wanting to hit base camp and so after some considerations...I made a mistake that cost us.  Go on ahead and I will wait for the rest to get here and then lead them.  Most of the group left.  Then a few minutes later 2 boys wanted to go and I advised they should wait for me.  They had been real good on following the trail and I said ok and gave instructions to base camp about 900 feet away.


About 30 minutes later the rest of the group showed up at Granny Henderson's Cabin and we backpacked on down to Granny Henderson's.  At the bottom of the hill I could hear the sound of laughter and our boys were taking a swim and jumping off cliffs into the perfect Buffalo River.  Wow we found our campsite already had 3 AG Pastors and 1 Ranger Leader and 5 Teen Challenge boys camping there. 
Gene Woods NW Arkansas Division Director was there.  If I had a counter part in Arkansas it would be Gene.  It was a blessing to see him there.  2nd  time in 15 years.


We quickly setup camp and did some swimming and kindled a fire.  I called for everyone to meet around the fire.  Commander came up to me and said 2 of his boys were missing.  One of older boys recalled they had been swimming with them at this camp.  We browsed the 20 tents and didn't find them.  Then told everyone we had 2 missing boys.  Please everyone go stand next to your tent or hammock and look around and see if there is a tent or hammock where not one is at...  They were no where to be found.


The last time we saw them was 1.5 hours ago.  Less than 1000 feet away.  3 of us headed back to the last place we saw them at Granny Henderson's Cabin.   Just as we went over the hill just out of site of base camp the 870 lumens of light lit up that trail and we spotted the two boys looking at a possum with head lamps and backpacks on.  PRAISE GOD.  Not even scared.  They had taken the river upstream instead of down stream and had returned back to Granny Henderson's Cabin and then waited for a while there and then started back down to come downstream to our base camp.  We prayed and thanked God for returning these boys back to us in good shape.  A lesson learned.  This has never happened to me before.  Won't again.  Religiously we will all Stop at each trail crossing and then all go together down that same trail.


At council fire we enjoyed all kinds of great food.  Rob our Speaker had been prayed over and was pumped up to see boys and men on fire to jump into various ministries.  He preached his heart out with almost no response.  It was a tough 5 miles.  Lights were out and we had a great nights sleep...with of course a few visitors.  Henry the 8th (HUGE Spider) in a hole in the tree was still there.  Raccoon came down a few feet from one of the boys hammocks and stood there and looked at him...I knew there was a raccoon in camp as there was trash from around the fire dragged up the trail.


Friday morning.  We were swimming and jumping and eating and enjoying the Jumping Cliffs.
I have preached this for years.  WE STOP AT EVERY TRAIL CROSSING AND THEN WE ALL GO DOWN THAT TRAIL TOGETHER.  We didn't do it last night and had 2 boys lost.  Report of the patrols at every other river crossing and before we left an area kept us KNOWING 26 present and accounted for sir.

 9:00 am we took a day hike up to Hemmed in Hallow Falls about 3 miles round trip.  24 of us 2 leaders remained in camp.  This is a wild place and when you first see's like a grand canyon wow look.  It's cool.

We broke camp, swam until about 3 p.m. and headed out on our next just under 5 mile backpack to Steel Creek 9 river crossings.   At each river crossing I had almost begged the boys to change out dry boots to water shoes and then change them again on the other side.  If you do this you can do this for weeks if you don't do this you will be in trouble  with your feet in hours.  One of the boys showed me the sores on his feet from just wearing water shoes on the 9 river crossings when we got back to the Ranger Annex.


We started treating sore feet and one of the leaders stumbled and popped his hip out.  Every step of the way for 3 miles was painful for me as I watched him..  I know it was hurting him.
Then it started.  Each of the 26 people started asking..."ARE WE THERE YET" type questions.  How far is the next river crossing?  How deep is it?  Should I take off my shoes?  Should I put on my boots?  After about 90 of those...I was getting grumpy. GRIN!

At each river crossing we got our feet cooled off.  About every other river crossing I just put my backpack up on the upstream bank and laid down in the river.  Man that was redemptive.  94 degrees!  HOT!

As I approached the very last river crossing of the day.  I started this under growth is thick and 3' tall.  YUP it was way over grown.  Winter months you can just walk in and setup up camp it's pretty open.  With Commanders hip out I suggested we just camp at Steel Creek Campground it was only 3/8 of a mile away.
We arrived and crossed our last river crossing just before dark.   2 commander scouted the camping sites and all 20 plus sites were plum full of tent campers.  The 10 horse camp sites were empty with signs that said no horse don't camp here. 


Our shuttle van was in Yellville visiting family.  No cell service.  So we sent 2 leaders up to get cell service to see where our Shuttle van was and to tell them we would be camping over at Compton.  Thank God for Commanders that use good ideas.  Then the lightning started up in the sky a ways away.... keys to the ranger trailer are in the shuttle van in Yellview.
Anyone have a ax?  Hammer?  So with a trailer hitch and a well made ax I was able to cut the lock off and we gained access to the trailer and what wait for it... A ICE chest full of ICE cold POP! 
We loaded up all the gear in the trailer and put everyone in truck and van.  Drove over to pickup the other van and setup base camp.  2 groups went on ahead and went home.  We set up base camp and went to sleep.  I left the trailer back door down in the event that a missed weather forecast brought rain and did.  Loud, Windy, LOUD.  2 inches of rain.   My backpack was soaking wet I failed at not covering it up.  The next morning and we kindled a fire and enjoyed a time of sharing EXPECTATIONS form Each one and REAL LIFE and what they would change next time. 
we met in Branson and traded out some gear and picked up some gear.  Then at the Ranger Annex we gave out Certificates and Patches and sent folks on home.  Commander sprang for pizza for those that had folks coming in from out of town to pick them up there. 


Rob and I talked about how to be better next time.  He talked about how he was disappointed with the response from the council fire services.  I reminded him...sometimes we just plant, water, wait and pray and others see the harvest.....then again the Holy Spirit just reminded me in a tears welling up in my eyes that Rob called out to 33 people at Stockton Lake and 33 folks got baptized.  It's Gods job.  We just need to be faithful.
This trip was a tough trip.  God is faithful and we over came many obstacles.  We had a  lot of fun and learned allot.  Green Backpacking Merit was earned.  2 orienteering courses were completed  This hike could be used for various hikes for the Hiking Merit. 


In the future we will go back to the Kyles Landing to Jumping Cliffs and round trip only 5 miles for BAC.  So  many first timer backpackers.  15 miles is a long way to learn that your body, equipment, frame of mind may not be up to it.  I relearned what I already knew but had forgotten.
Mark Jones, 2017 BAC Coordinator   Click on a picture for a larger view.

What our Family has to put up with! Checking Water Filters.

Almost packed and ready to go.

65 and Still going Strong..not fast but strong!

Summer months are not prefered for Backpacking

Basecamp night 1

Aaah Hammock life is pretty sweet.

Out in the Stars

Tube Survival Tent

Dads and Lads




BAC 2017  Click on the links to download this to your Smart Phone. 

Click on these links and download this info to your smart Phone.

Scanned Topo Map of the whole Trip with Profile.  Topo of our whole trip and base camp locations.  

Topo Map of the Sneeds Creek Orienteering Course 1  First course Topo as we head down the trail. This will be done as we walk the trail EAZY focus on Pacing

Topo Map of the Sneeds Creek Orienteering Course 2  Second course Topo as we head down the trail This will be done as we walk the trail EAZY focus on Pacing

Teaching Outline  Green Backpacking Overview.

Schedule  Trip schedule and classes we will teach.

Overview Map of the Area all trails.  If you use this you should buy one of these.  They are a life saver if your plans change.

Pickup your 2 Orienteering Courses from Mark Jones.  This course sheet should match your Number of Steps in 100 feet.

More to come. This is setup for the Men and Boys attending to download to their smart phone.

#3  Download View Ranger Free Smart Phone App that makes your phone work like a 500.00 GPS.  It's FREE.

View Ranger Sneeds Creek Topo in View Ranger.  If you download View Ranger you can use your Smart phone as a handheld GPS.  ITS FREE!

View Ranger Jumping Cliffs to Steel Creek in View Ranger.  If you download View Ranger you can use your smart phone as a handheld GPS.  It's Free!

#4.  Become a member of one of the 4 patrols.