June 24th, 25th, 26th from 10:00 am on Thursday to 12:30 noon on Saturday. Temps were high at 92 and lows of 75 degrees. No rain just a couple of 20 second sprinkles. River level was below Outfitters recommend so we only saw 6 Kayaks the whole 3 days.
Click on a picture for a larger view.  Thanks to Rob Batchman and Mark Jones for sharing their pictures!      Zip File of all these pictures.  You Tube Video by Rob Batchman


Our group of 21 left Ozark AOG ate a quick lunch of trail bars and cheese stick and Gatorade then at 11:15 and headed south to Kyles Landing on the National Buffalo River for a 2.5 day backpack along the river. We met up with a Group from Arkansas District and enjoy the fellowship and Ranger tales from 30 years of Ranger experience.

These 21 traveled very well and as usual the packs were not fitting real well and many were green horns to the aspect of backpacking with new gear and not quite knowing what to expect. We like to teach as we go. At Ozark AOG we had the boys and men walk their steps on a 100' line and record those ranging from 50 to 34 steps. They then weighed in with their packs on and then with their packs off. Trying to keep everyone below the no more than 1/3 their body weight they can carry.

Generally we will have them put their packs on and adjust them to fit the boys and to show them how to strap stuff down so it doesn't swing around. This time commander laid out all his backpacking gear and talked about it. I would have done this at base camp and focused more on their packs being adjusted right. Some of the boys really struggled with their packs as this is a very important step.

At the trail head we brought the Arkansas guys up to speed with patrol colors and setup for steps between control points at various trail and river crossings. A compass was used but only to determine North to Orientate the Map north. In the woods on a very curvy path a compass just isn't of much use other than what we did with it. After about 45 minutes and 4 control points we dropped the counting steps. Don't want to ruin things with dull repetitions. A little here and a little there.

We taught proper use of river crossing tools like towels, river shoes, trekking poles and walking the gravel lines on slick rocks. Simple things but they do make the difference. Each river crossing we asked the group to change and try and keep their hiking boots dry. I would say we had 80% success at this. Some fell, some dropped their boots. Some didn't do a very good job of keeping things dry and we taught them if it was 25 miles we were doing keeping their feet dry was paramount. On our trip of 2.75 miles one way with 4 river crossings they would most likely not get blisters. Yet we have treated for blisters on this trip with boys wearing cotton socks and new boots or tennis shoes.

Around 4 pm we did our 4th river crossing and most cooled off in the spring that was boiling up out of the side of the river nice and COLD water. Then a short quarter mile we were at base camp.

Base camp is a pine and cedar camp on a slight incline but the ground is covered by pine needles and shade. It over looks a huge Rock we call the jumping cliffs that is the size of a foot ball field. It has various levels of rocks that make great seating for classes once the sun goes down. Most of Friday is spent going over the new 2021 Green Backpacking Merit info as we go. When we were cooking meals we taught cooking tips and taught lots of stuff. Some missed out on these teachings as they liked cooking by their tents.

Thursday night we enjoyed Rob Batchman's Council fire service. Friday morning 7:00 am we were up and heading out on a hike at 8:00 am to Hemmed in Hallow Falls. 2.2 miles round trip from our base camp. We talked about day hikes and told various stories and experiences we had on day hikes and what to take and what not to forget. Most people that get in trouble are the day hike folk. They are not prepared and don't have the gear for something going wrong. We enjoyed our morning devotion by District Commander John Hicks at the base of the tallest water fall between the Rocky Mountains and the Application Mountains. It's a cool place. They boys and men explored and had a great time.

At about 12:30 we started our tube river float around Horseshoe Bend. All the way we bumped into rocks and scouted and scrambled around the low water rapids. It was still fun and enjoyed swimming and rock jumping. A very relaxing fun time that was taught to me by the Huff Brothers from up in the KC area.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing and finishing up on the training and just experiencing this awesome place. Some of the boys went off the jumping cliff 14' tall over 37 times and rock climbing above the pool of water to do it over and over and over again. One young man got stung by a wasp on his face near his eye the odd thing is it didn't swell up until the ride back home.  We had lots of sun and needed lots of sun screen or clothing protection.  They had a great time. Also they played a game with their river tubes in the rapids kind of like a king of the rapids game. At 2pm to 4pm we had them take shade and chill out for a while. Sun and heat was a cooker!

Friday night council fire service had the boys come forward for prayer and it was a great time of lifting these young men up to God and asking Him to Bless them. After a solid 30 hours of working hard and playing hard and fire time you can speak life into these young men. May have to do it again and again and again but it makes a big difference. One over night campout in my opinion is worth about 15 wed night meetings in value of fellowship and character development. Lights out at 10pm.

Saturday morning at 6 am was wake up call. Boys had to have their tents packed and sleeping bags in their backpack before they could fix breakfast. Getting 21 folk to move on one timeline has many small goals they need to work towards to get them to the time line. Mark Jones shared a quick devotion and then we walked out at 8:05 right on time.

Some elected to not change their boots. Others took care of their feet on the way out. On the way back two of the Ranger boys saw a small black bear.  We made good time and was back at the truck at 10:00 am had our closing ceremony handed out patches and celebrated with a ice cold Orange or Root beer soda. Then back to Ozark at 12:30 pm.

Mark Jones, BAC Adventure Kamp Coordinator 2021