January 15th, 2017  Temps low of 26 with wind chill with a high of 60 and no rain.   We left Ozark at 5:45 p.m. and made the trail head at 7:20 p.m..  Met Kevin Fringer there and soon we were surprised to find "No Burn Order" posted.  9 in our party.  No ladies this time.  Rest of the report at end of pictures.   CLICK ON A PICTURE FOR A LARGER VIEW.

ZIP FILE OF ALL THESE PICTURES.     A youtube video on some around camp action and the goat trail antics!

No campfire for us this trip.  We were all bummed over this news but it's for a good reason.  So off we went on a cold December dark night.  At about 3/8 of a mile we hit some semi flat area just off to the left of the Center point trail.  Our base camp was soon blossoming with 3 hammocks and 4 tents.  Joshua and Jarred and Kevin all had hammocks with the 26 degree wind chill I was concerned my nephew Jarred would freeze.  All he had was a foam sleeping pad and a sleeping bag with a broken zipper.  19 years old and tougher than nails.   Kevin came with 2 sleeping bags and Joshua brought his heaviest pack in years with Full Down under quilt and down bag.  Joshua has over 300 nights logged in all temps in his hammock! 


Generally we drag up firewood and we kind of felt lost with no campfire.  Yet we over came.   Justin brought his biolight stove and Joshua brought his wood burning stove and we fired up the propane backpacking stoves and despite the cold wind we enjoyed a nice evening of deer steak, steak, soup and onion soup burgers.  Isaiah loves to cook and share food. 


The normal fun was had minus the warmth of the fire.  9pm I was ready to hit the warm tent.  My tent had a luxarylite cot on top of the ground.  A MSR 1 person tent on top of that cot.  Inside a thermorest pad and a 0 degree down bag and a thermorest liner inside the sleeping bag then on top of that a down under quilt.  I had a down jacket as backup and it made a nice pillow.  My head had a fleece face mask hood.  Bottom line it could have gotten down to -10 and I would have been warm and comfy.  A light sleeper never really sleeps I just rest comfortably. 


Saturday morning with out a fire we all stayed in our tents until the sun came up at about 7:45 am.  I was awake and stirring around inside the tent from about 6 am.  With a quick exit for some tree business I returned to my down den after hearing the hawks and owls and birds singing some songs  Soon we were all up.  We enjoyed breakfast and our wood stoves kept the morning chill at bay.  Showed the young men a hobo stove that we made out of a soup can.  This event was a learning experience with no open fire burning.  We made due.  3 people with in 2 feet of a hobo stove..made us warmer...  It was a good lesson! 

Rob volunteered to cook the squaw bread donuts.  He was challenged to open the can of biscuits.  After tearing the paper it didn't open. So Joshua gave assistance and told Rob to hand him the half opened can of biscuits and told him to lean in and as Rob leaned in Joshua broke open the biscuits using Robs head for a blunt object....you had to be there.  It was priceless!


9:45 am we headed down to the Goat Bluff  Lots of folks on this trail.  We saw 16 and 3 on horse back near the bluff trail.  We enjoyed the 800 feet drop going down and spent nearly a hour on the bluff out looking over the valley.  The sun was warm and almost no breeze it was paradise.  It was a peaceful blessing.  Folks you don't get this kind of peace at home!  It's worth the Trek!  Young men have lots of energy.  Climbing trees seemed to be the interest of the day.  I remember those days when a good tree climb was fun!  NOT Today for me!  This was the second visit for Oliver.  I have noticed from 4 years ago his fear of heights has almost diminished to just good respect for heights.  He went the hole distance this trip.  Good job young man!


Returned back to base camp after a quick 1 hour day hike.  Broke camp and headed toward McDonalds.  Made Ozark at 4:45 p.m..  A fun trip with lots of exercise.  Some cool views and some good clean humor to laugh over!  Special thanks to Rob Batchman for sharing his pictures. 

I am very thankful for folk that will take time out of their week to take these young folk out into God's creation.  Leaving man's creation is good for us.  The raw harsh beauty of these places we visit is not only good for our bodies,  our soul and spirit glean so much from these trips.   It makes one appreciate the things we have at home.    With out the Campfire our council fire service was given in the truck on the way back home.  Can't wait until the next journey.   Mark Jones