FCF Trek Report Click on a picture for a larger view!

Our group of 8 minus 2

Base Camp near Jake's Creek


October 19th and 20th, 2019  Lead Mine Conservation Area Jakes Creek Trail not far from the Niangua River Access.  Weather was sunny with a high of 60 and a low of 48.  Almost no wind.  Supposed to be 10 to 20 percent chance of rain. Forecast said it would be stopping early Saturday morning.
Left my house in Ozark at 7:45 a.m. Picked up our FCF SW Division Vice President and at 8:45 we met two young bucks Bare Feet and Fire Hawk was driving  just north of Springfield and they followed us to Lead Mine Conservation area just NE of Buffalo, MO 20 miles or so.  I was in good company.  The four of us had shared the Buckskin testing just a week or two previously.  I couldn't of been in better company until we arrived at the trail head near Jakes Creek.  ​
We met up with Dan Brinson and his two sons at the trail head.  Dan takes the time period seriously.  He and his sons work hard at doing FCF time frame up right.  They brought acorn/flour mix, Johnson Grass bread, turnips picked wild onions and spices along the way.  So many other things.  Dan even brought a pumpkin that he cooked apple slices with spices in.  ​
At the trail head we did a shake down and all confessed what modern things we did bring.  Most of these things we all had.  Yet I was inspired to see this group of 8 had went the distance and left most of the modern stuff at home.  After we weighed in it was carmel apples all around.  Dan won the heaviest pack with 67 pounds.  I came in at 57 lb. and the lightest haul was 21 pounds.  ​
Joshua Pennekamp our Trek Coordinator brought  out the gift bag and we drew sticks out of his hand flipped a coin and  heads said the guy with the longest stick was first to pick from the prize bag.  Wow!  Joshua pulled 2 long axes he had restored, 2 smaller axes, 2 wool blankets, Steel skillets that were once covered by rust that he worked over and seasoned into grand frying pans.  I was also given a antique bow saw that had a tension twist to it.  Pretty neat!​
Soon everyone was ready to go and off we went on our TREK.  Jakes Creek is a pretty hike. Its pretty flat and it follows along the creek.  After about a half mile we came to our first creek crossings.  Shedding my shoes and leaving on a pair of cotton socks to pad those sharp rocks was my best option carrying the load bare footed going ouch, ouch, ouch for 20 feet.  On the other side of the creek I gladly put my mocss/shoes on and we walked another quarter mile as we searched for trek camp 2019.  ​
After some poking around we picked a spot just a bit farther than last year but very similar in options.  Rob one of our trekkers was also coming in a few hours later and we didn't want to loose him in the woods.  ​
Joshua picked a great spot.  Wood, Water, Wind not to bad, Widow Makers no, Water not going to wash us away.  So it passed the 5 w's test and in no time we were busy making debris beds.  Joshua taught us all a great style of bed.  Two 8' long 4" to 6" logs spread out parallel about  3 feet.  Then 2 end pieces of the same size log about 3 feet long crossed over log cabin style.   Then 5 saplings 1" around about 7' long and laid in between the two 8' long logs.  Then a bunch of green sticks 1/2" to 1" about 4' long that crossed these logs.  On top of all this was tall grass we harvested.   It worked folks!  I put a piece of canvas (oil skin -water proof) over that grass and then 2 king size wool blankets.  ( I was cold last year and was not going to do that again)  Wool is amazing stuff.    It took us about a hour to make our beds.  Then about 1:00 p.m. we started a fire with flint and steel and it started to rain lightly off and on for the next 4 hours.  Now when it's raining one has a tendency to hunker in around the fire.  When it pours we drew closer to the fire protecting it with more sticks to cover the fire so it wouldn't be put out.  ​
Our goals of finding Fat Wood and doing some fishing were washed out by the rain.  We did enjoy the fellowship and building a big fire that kept our spirits hi and us dry.​
Soon I head that sound of a Batchmanite.  (One whom comes in later than the rest) He sounded out a HELLO...  and we sounded back a HELLO as two of the Brinson young bucks retrieved him from the trail.  The rain had diminished.  Rob said something about 97 % humidity.   While Rob was selecting his bedroll location the young bucks were carving and notching pot sticks and getting a cooking rack with 2 Y sticks and we learned if we put it on a slope we could vary the heat by moving the pot stick to a higher location while others were trying to spear fish with there locust thorns.  Them fish get real smart when you go to throwing something at them and the young bucks they were complaining they saw no fish anymore.  ​
So I boasted do you want to catch fish?  Out came my fishing kit.  Some Sinu (artificial) for fishing line.  Then a brass hook and a lead weight and a stick for a bobber.  Hard tack is a fish's favorite we found out.  After a little coaching to toss into the right spot one of the young bucks pulled in a pan fish and it wasn't long before he cut the fishes head off and tail and gutted it and we was cooking it with our squirrel cookers. Just about lost it that way and moved it to a skillet where it came out perfect and  with each of us got a sampling of FISH!  I was excited as we knocked off another step towards the Trekker Merit Patch.  The young bucks noted those fish were not so eager to go after that hook after they saw the last fish never come back.  Them fish go to school don't you know.  ​
We started cooking supper around 4:20 p.m. and enjoyed all kinds of treats.  Dan cooked up some turnip soup with wild onions and some things he knew to be good to eat.  Many of us cooked up steaks and beans and rice and shared around the fire what each of us had.  The walnuts and berries and chocolate were passed around just before council fire time.​
Evening Council fire the question asked.  Do you know what a hitch pin is?  Is it important.  I then preached from the Log of the Lords Plan has a hitch pin in it.  That pin is What Jesus did for us at the Cross and how the Law of the Spirit over came the Law of Sin and Death.  Our faith in that is the HITCH PIN of our Salvation.  The boys are often asked questions in my services.  I want them to think about things and express their opinions ... not always right but you can tell they are thinking.  ​
I had a brand new Boiling Pot, skillet and candle lantern all got used and all don't look new anymore!  They performed perfectly and I did learn the tin candle lantern needs to have the door left open or it will melt the candle in a few hours.  The wooden ones don't do that but they can catch on fire....GRIN!​
I looked out at the babbling creek just 40 feet from me and started noticing the 97% humidity factor starting to play it's part.  Looking to the grassy area where no trees were the cloud had settled in and stayed there all night.  As the water collected on the tree leaves it made you think it was raining as the drops sounded just like rain.  Those that camped under the canopy of the trees were in a light rain all night and those that camped in the grass just had the heavy dew.  We all learned the value of a tarp!​
About 8:30 p.m. folks started getting tired of sitting on a log and headed towards those debris beds we made earlier. I was pleasantly surprised to see on my blanket not one HUGE wolf spider that size of my tin cup but TWO  of them smiling at me and another 4 or 5 smaller spiders seeking refuge from the wet conditions.  They just like me thought this was a nicer place to be under this water soaked tarp that had kept my small patch of the earth dry.  Yet I held the line.  I used my tin drinking cup to scoop them up and give them a toss back out into their world.  I was the mighty hunter as I tried several times to get those two.  The rest just got a brush with my hand outta here wildlife friends  HA!   My wife would have freaked out!  I just wrapped up in those layers of wool blankets and put on my wool stocking hat and settled in for the night.  (I never sleep on these ranger events.  Well almost never.  This time I heard every soul stir and fire kindled and coyotes and geese and more!  Every snap in the woods was analyzed . . . . friend or foe . . .  In the hands of Jesus!  ​
After what seemed like an eternal night.  The sounds of someone kindling fire was my good morning call.  Now mind you when 8 folk are going to be cooking around a fire it's time to put on the wood!  I put the rest of the stack on that fire and pretty soon the souls were stirring and the sun was trying to get through that dense cloud of heavy wet fog.  I found my melted candle had dripped all over my canteen and it was pretty cool looking.  Two of the young bucks  the night next to the fire.  One moved his debris bed there and the other abandoned his shelter due to spiders and found comfort at the foot of the fire.   I heard the two through the night pile on another log and I would see the flames get higher and it would quiet down a bit and a hour or two later it would happen again.  YOU HAVE TO LOVE THIS CAMPING STYLE!  It's tough but it will make you solid!   Each time I would roll over the sticks and logs beneath me would quickly remind me not there...scouch a bit over there.   There is always a sweet spot that will put a smile on your face  . . .  sometimes hard to find!​
Morning breakfast was awesome!  Coffee, Tea, Boiled water from the stream.  We boiled and drank a good 4 gallons of water.  Using a handkerchief to pour the water through the first go around and then bringing it to a rolling boil....those little things left over just pitch it when it gets down to the last pour.  Awww the sweet life.  My lower back was killing me.   Standing being the only relief.  Next year us ole timers said were bringing back support!  Woo who!  ​
We had morning service.  Joshua produced 4 old hymn songs from that time period and we all made a joyful sound.  Rob poured his heart into a sermon and was aggravated at me for keeping his theology correct.  Yet inspite of me and him and the rest of our group we had a great Spiritual Meal and shared from our hearts there.  I love to discuss around the campfire.  Never be to proud to be interrupted around a campfire service.  God can move despite our best efforts.  ​
Soon it was time to pack up camp and trek back to the trail head where we enjoyed a  cold root beer and what was left of the carmel and apple.  GREAT JOB Joshua Pennekamp who is now called Trail Traveler!  Blessings abound!   Hope to see all of you FCF Members on the next trek!​
Mark Jones (FCF Name is GRIN)

Zip file of all these pictures.  Special thanks to Rob Batchman, Dan Brinson, Joshua Pennekamp and Mark Jones for sharing these pictures with us.

Pictures sent in by Joshua Pennekamp