February 11th and 12th 2022 was a make up event date as covid and sickness had closed our church doors for a couple of weeks. I had not been to Rangers for 8 weeks due to holidays, sickness and quarantine. So when we had to move the event I knew we would have fewer in attendance.

Fun Folk!

This Bat cave was a fun and exciting expectation. We had 15 attend this year. We had 86 last year. 8 adults and 7 youth. Lot's of last minute calls we can't make it. I had anticipated the smaller number so I made up 50 wooden Batcave coins with Batcave 2022 on them. Ended up given 3 to each person. I spent 5 hours making those coins and enjoyed making them but was disappointed my efforts of a gift would not go very far.

So we left Ozark at 10 am with 12 in our group. Ernie, Jimmy and David would meet us along the way. Rob and I loaded up our trucks with 6 each and soon we were in caravan with the rest of the team. David had piled wood in his truck that was good and dry so we had hot low smoke campfire. We carried it from the fence to the Batcave entrance. The youth were a real blessing on this. It took us about 3 trips to get it done. We also supplemented the pile with Ernie cutting up a couple of other trees.

Rob had sliced up some meat and marinated it and brought skewers and with the help of the Rangers lashed up a Quad Pod and stacked rocks and with the help of the only young lady in our group put it on skewers. 4 hours of a hot smoke and we had some excellent fresh Jerky. David raises his own hogs and brought 1" pork chops and bacon ends and WOW was that GREAT! Some of the bet pork chop I have ever eaten for sure.

Jimmy or someone else drug up a nice long bench log that Ernie quickly cut v notches into short logs to hold it in place to give some of the folk a seat that didn't bring one. Joshua showed up as the guys went on a 2 mile hike to look at another cave and spring all on property.

Weather was perfect with a high of 54 cloudy and a couple of short drizzles. About dark I brought out Skully and placed him on a log and lit a candle on top of his head. We got to have some laughs along the way. We shared lots of food around the early dinner campfire and lots of stories and laughter.

Council fire was traditional with some facts about caves and drilled holes and magna below us some Biblical facts as well about caves and their uses.

We lit candles and made our dark walk to the back of the cave walking over hard to see rocks and bat guanno. With the smaller group it was the quietest I can remember in years and years.

Rob shared the service with us talking about the recent cave rescue with the boys trapped for 10 days before help arrived.

At 10:00 pm I went to my tent just down from the fire next to the river. It's cold down there but I enjoyed using my cot, tent, thermo pad, 0 degree down bag, down under quilt, and wool blanket on top of all that and was perfectly warm in those 13 degree temps. At 10:30 I heard a loud THUMP not far from my tent. Half of the group was still up around the campfire talking and one of them said did you hear that...what was it. It's a animal that fell off the top of the cave entrance down by Mark's tent and it's running off and climbing a tree. Not long after, there was a small THUMP and it was another possum that fell off the other side of the cave entrance. It too got up and climbed a tree. Possums are tough. Jim added later when we got back it probably was a miss match of courting. The year it rained Possums.

They talked until 4:30 a.m. Then it got quiet for about 20 minutes and they started talking again. All night Vigils are good for folk. It makes them appreciate the comforts of home. I finally climbed out of my nice warm comfy tent and went up to the campfire to discover most of them slept and froze around the campfire all night. I was proud of 3 of our younger Adventure Rangers. They took my advice and camped in the upper rooms of the cave and stayed warm and dry

We shared around the campfire breakfast and donuts made of biscuits fried in grease with honey and cinnamon or powdered sugar on them. Morning devotion was a recap with the reminder that we know who Jesus is. The devil knows who Jesus is. The dilemma does Jesus Know you?.

Even in the frigid conditions we had a great time. Most everyone was clean enough to sit in the trucks with out a change of clothes this year. The trail was a easy walk and the fellow ship was wonderful.  Click on a picture for a larger view.   Zip file of all these pictures.

Mark Jones