A trip we dreamed about came into reality.  Several years ago.  Our outpost Commander said Mark why don't you plan a HIGH Adventure Trip and take these boys there.  I replied.  Aaah.  Buffalo River is so close and it's awesome!  Then a few months later Dave Yonke and Rob Batchman and I were on a backpack and it came up again.  I told them if they plan it I will go and bring boys.  So a date was set.  May 21st - 28th, 2017  Temps ranged from a low of 47 to a high of 91.  Mostly moderate with NO RAIN!

A zip file of all these pictures for you to download.  Special thanks to each of you for sharing your pictures with us. 

Along the way Dave did a bunch of research.  He said that Travelocity was his best resource.   With several modifications along the way drew up a plan and schedule that took us Sunday morning to a week later returning Sunday night 7pm.  Several months out we laid down a time table.  A payment schedule and a month out we drew a line in the sand and those that responded did and those that didn't didn't go.   (Sadly there were some hurt feelings on this but it is a thing that has to be done other wise folks will leave you hanging until the day of)  Our group of 11 was preparing gear, food, snacks for themselves for 7 days.  Meals were all prepackaged and READY TO GO!  I think I had 7 breakfasts prepared in separate Ziplocs all in one BREAKFAST BIG Ziploc.  The same went for the rest of the meals.  Along the way we ate at the BIG TEXAN Steak House, Subway, Chipotle, Panda Express, Pizza 2 times and Jim's Barbeque.  These we enjoyed as we traveled.

Our route Started in Springfield with a New Ford 12 passenger van we removed 2 of the back seats to give us access to gear bags, backpacks and food bags.  We also loaded up some camp chairs and a bigger tent we didn't use incase of bugs or rain for a community shelter.  Rob made arrangements of the new van and it was a nice vehicle with great AC and the seats were less than comfortable for sleeping in..but we did fine.  A spray bottle of freebreeze was kept handy as the need arose. 

We made great time.  Most of the roads are flat and long as we crossed Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and stayed the night in a city park at San Jon.   We thought we were in for a hard rain but it passed us by with just a few tumble weeds.  Texas we experienced some dust devils that hit our van with enough force I thought we were going over.  Rob and Dave were on the cell with each other when it hit..it shook both vehicles violently.  It made me wake up from my nap and ask what was that.  

We made great time and after about 22 hours of traveling we hit 2 time zone changes and arrived in Sedona, AZ.  Set up camp and then drove to Bear Mountain for a 1800 feet day hike up, up, up.  Dessert climbing was neat. I have never been on trails like this.  On all our Trails on this trip we did good but never made it to the ends with out turning back before reaching them.   Bear Mountain left me with a awesome feeling.  Our 1400 feet climb up that dessert mountain passing along Cactus, yucca, Agobe and all kinds of critters and such.  Only a handful of other folks were on this trail.  4600 feet of elevation was a low spot in this country.

Mid afternoon we showered at the campground and went up Mount Humphreys.  A ski resort that was out of season now.  Yet the mountain still had snow on top.  We made base camp about 9500 feet as all it got was steeper.  This mountain was filled with downed tree's every 5 feet there was a downed tree.  Getting firewood was just a matter of reaching behind you almost. We enjoyed 2 nights in the place. It was like the enchanted forest in the Wizard of Oz.   Our trip up the mountain was a experience. the first 45 minutes was like a Colorado trail walk.  Then for most of us this was the first time walking on 24" of snow on the trails.  The farther we went up the mountain the more it got snow covered.  at 10,500 feet I cried uncle and lead a group down back to base camp.  The rest went higher.  At about 11,000 feet Dave, Karen and Rob made the turn around.  Up, up and up Matthew, Joshua, Jonathan, Kristina and Andrew went to 11,500 feet to about Tree line.  There the trail was gone.  Just a snow field with a awesome view and a nod of accomplishment. 

The second night on Humphreys we heard several trees fall.  I heard one and it was a BOOM!  I was a little nervous up there as dead falls were everywhere. 

We broke camp and traveled to the Grand Canyon.  South east entrance. It's a wild awesome place.  Word can't describe this Wonder of the World.  Yes you need to go there and visit Sedona, AZ  while your there. 

Here is a short video of Rob and Joshua as they conquered the Grand Canyon.

We visited all the vistas and points of interest.  Hiked down into the canyon.  Tourist were every where. 

I think our van group Ernie, Andrew, Garret, Joshua, Rob and Mark had a great trip of fun, challenge, devotions and experience the Love of God in a 7 day trip. 

Dave, Karen, Matthew, Jonathan and Kristina were a fun group to share these times with.  We were all blessed and someone said... rafting through the grand canyon maybe for our next trip in a couple of years.  WOW!

Here is 3 short videos of Rob in the GRAND Canyon.

Rob wrote: "I turned 49 years old this year and wanted to make sure I did some exciting things that would challenge me while I was still young enough to push myself physically. Our Royal Rangers group and some friends planned a backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon and several areas in Arizona for this last week. And what an incredible time! We saw some of the most beautiful country I've ever seen and hiked on some of the most beautiful trails that are imaginable. We hiked in the desert in the 90 heat, and then the next day hiked in 12 inches of snow at an altitude of over 10,500 feet. We took some young men specifically from our ranger group who experienced six days of camping in tents and hammocks, and yes they were worn out even more than I was! I can't explain how much of an experience it was and how much we learned to adapt to different weather situations, elevations, types of trails, challenges, and working together as a group. We had an elk end up in our campsite, giant Crows come right up to us, and even a giant dust devil whirlwind hit us in New Mexico that was so strong it almost knocked the car off the road. Anybody from the west can appreciate seeing dust devils! What a great time I'm going to post just a small portion of the pictures here and will add more as the week goes on."

Dave wrote: "our family had so much fun with you guys thanks for going with us what a fantastic week! and no rain"

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