Lead Mine Conservation Area near just north of Buffalo Missouri.  Thursday from 10:30 am to Friday 8:40 am.  Temps a low of 24 cloudy and windy on Thursday.  Friday we had a 1/10 of a inch Ice storm warning for the area we were camping in.  90% chance of rain.  Click on a picture for a larger view.  Thanks to Marshall Jones and Mark Jones for the pictures.  All these pictures zipped up.

Video on Youtube from Marshall Jones

Sometimes in Ranger Ministry it just doesn't go as planned.   Sometimes it does.  My son Marshall lives and works up at Osage Beach.  His days off are Thursdays and Fridays.  He  being raised in Royal Rangers has his fathers love for backpacking, camping, hiking, tents, shelters, gear of all kinds so we don't let schedules and distance keep us apart for too long.  

Lead Mine Conservation Area is roughly 3.5 times the size of Busiek state park.  Very similar in purpose just on a larger scale.  Niangua River flows through it and Jackes Creek as well.  It looked promising for a New To US place to explore.  25 miles of horse and hiking trails with 4 primitive areas for camping with some Trailer sites as well.  The roads are pretty good and in several places the creeks flow across them.  I was impressed with this area and hope to plan some future floats and hikes and camps there.  The topography is hilly and hilly.  The area has many Amish farms and homes and stores there.  Not uncommon to see someone on a bicycle or horse and buggy. 

Our trip had us meet at the Ranger Annex in Springfield.  My group of 5 dwindled down to only 2 going as the weather projected ice on Friday.  Our FCF District Scout Rieder and I meet my son Marshall at 73 and E hwys just north of Buffalo.  Nice cloudy cooold day.  We met at the Post Office at Tunus, MO at 11:30 and made the campsite into the park by 11:45.   Parked my vehicle at the campsite and the 3 of us took a tour of the area.  We were impressed and after about 8 miles of driving we found the shooting range and shot about 90 rounds with Marshalls AR.  My first time shooting a AR.  It was fun.  There was 4 others down there shooting from Springfield and Lebanon areas.

It doesn't take long for a AR to shoot out 90 rounds and we headed back to base camp in the vehicle.  Stopped in at one Amish store and checked it out.  1st time for the 3 of us to see this culture in a retail format.   We shopped a bit and bought some candies.   It was a interesting store.   We passed by another store and stopped in to check it out and it was a small grocery store Amish style.  Lots of people stocking up for some ice.  Employees wore Amish clothing. 

It was about 2 pm and we were back at base camp setting up.  I was in my traditional backpacking tent and cot and normal hiking clothes.  Rieder had a 20.00 walmart tent that he has had since about 5.  At one time his Dad and brother and  him all fit in that little 4x6 tent and just a 0 degree sleeping bag.  He didn't have a mat for insulation from the ground.   We recommended using my stadium seat for a pad or make a leaf pile.  

Marshall went from hammock camping to the Joshua Pennekamp style of just a leaf bed between 2 logs and a tarp over it.  We did the traditional drag up of downed trees for the fire and one large box of wood scraps from the Ranger Building Resaw project. 

Enjoyed the campfire time. Cooking.  Marshall cooked us up a batch of charcoal bacon.  It was charcoal with a taste of bacon after applying too much heat for too long of a time...GRIN!  We scarffed it down anyway.  Rieder scored a Survival Knife, Metal Match, Jute Fire match and a canister of gas for his new stove.  Rieder became very good at getting a fire going with his metal match in under 3 strikes.  We put his new knife to work battoning some wood and putting this new knife to the test. 

Friday morning I awoke at 2:00 am to sprinkles and the moon was so bright it looked like first morning.   Temps at 24 degrees.  Ice storm projected.  At 6:45 am it started to rain harder.  Plan was if it was raining we would just pack up and head home.  I got up and put my boots on after sleeping in my clothes.  The ice was starting to stick to the grass.  I walked out to the road.  It was covered in ice but still had some gravel sticking out of it. 

I went over to Marshall in his leaf bed tent and told him we needed to break camp and get up the big hill before we got any more rain.  Road was icy.

We broke camp in 5 minutes just leaving our gear in our tents and taking the poles down and putting them in the vehicles.   The hill I was worried about was ok.  I did slide through a creek bottom.  E hwy was partly covered and learned many years ago that costing up the hills was better than trying to use gas to get up them.  After we hit the post office in Tunus Marshall headed towards Osage Beach and we headed south towards Springfield.  Various patches of icing.  Sometimes there was very little icing and other stretches there was 6" icicles and trees were bending over.  I dropped Rieder off at his house in Springfield and made home by 9:00 am. 

It was a fun exploration trip and the fun and challenge was worth it.

I went to bed around 8:30 pm and heard Marshall and Rieder talking.