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Trek Report

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No, it's not skinning bucks............ Developed and maintained by JP Finn


Subject: Re: 2 cents worth
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999 14:58:14 -0500
From: jp-finn

> JP,
> Went to Ozark for their second annual Rondy. Gettin better, had a good time.

I thought about going, but duties called. The Wife is feeling much better, so time may not be as crunched as it has been for the past few years. Think we could set up a fall trek (Nov.?) down there in the Ozark hills? Maybe kidnap Phil for a 3 day weekend. I sure could use a roasted squirrel or two. (And somebody to show me how it is Really done.)


Subject: trek??????
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999 22:40:38 -0000

Did you say TREK? NOVEMBER?
As for the trek, well my friend, you give me a date that you can be available, and how long a duration you want and I'll set it up from here. I can provide an easy leisure sat & sun of camp & squirrel hunting at Busiek area about 3,000 acres 25 min south of spfd.
Or a Full blown 2 or 3 day " Good Lord I'm in the middle of nowhere" trek in the Mark Twain Forest where we previously planned for Feb. You decide. I'll even try to get a few other CoHT guys and hopefuls involved.
Sir, I am at your disposal.
YMOS, ( and anxious)


Subject: Re: trek??????
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 20:29:11 -0500
From: jp-finn
> JP,
> Did you say TREK? NOVEMBER?

I think I did. But then I had to go to the Dr., so I can claim great duress, and I probably was not in my right mind at the time.
The Dr. said that I have a pinched or inflamed nerve in my right arm near the elbow. All I know is that it hurts right smartly. The loss of strength in my hand doesn't bother me near as much as the "pins and needles" feeling in the hand and forearm. If the pills don't make it better in a week or so, they threatened electroshock therapy (nerve conduction test). I guess that threat will make it better than the pills!
> As for the trek, well my friend, you give me a date that you can be
> available, and how long a duration you want and I'll set it up from here.
> I can provide an easy leisure sat & sun of camp & squirrel hunting at Busiek
> area
> about 3,000 acres 25 min south of spfd.
> Or a Full blown 2 or 3 day " Good Lord I'm in the middle of nowhere" trek
> in the Mark Twain Forest where we previously planned for Feb. You decide.
> I'll even try to get a few other CoHT guys and hopefuls involved.

Nov. 5, 6 and 7. (Fri, Sat and Sun) Head out after lunch or so on Friday, set camp that afternoon and hang out in the neighborhood until Sunday midmorning, then back to the cars. Maybe a circle tramp on Sat to see the elephant and see how many critters we can scare. (4-1/2 hour drive back home for me)
You pick the place. I'd like a small stream to fish in and a rock wall to camp next to (or under).
The story line is that you and company are taking the old, feeble and not-too-bright townie acquaintance (me) on a pleasure trip into the wilderness, so I can miss the elusive rabbits and squirrels, while you and company make sure that I am well fed and comfortable.
I vote for a 1 pound limit per person for foodstuffs (including spices and tea or chocolate). Earn my keep, youngster!
Modern medical items (my glasses are prescription) allowed.
You get to bring your water filter. (Forget it and we will make you go back for it!)
Small survival bag to be carried, sealed and forgot unless a 3/4 vote of party agrees to open it.
1790 time period, for me, you can set the range for the trip.

> Sir, I am at your disposal.

I took that into account in the scenario!
Just remember that I get cold and hungry easily. Now I must go pick blackberries (in the back yard) to go with the ice cream, before it gets dark.



Subject: PHIL & TREK
Date: Sat, 28 Aug 1999 09:04:29 -0000

As far as I or anyone else would be concerned if Phil needs a modern style shoe to trek properly til healed and wants to just wear mocs in camp so be it.
I would rather see him go and have a good time instead of sit at home just because of that and I know that the rest of the guys would agree. My son will probably wear modern shoes because of his growth rate and age, the kids are durable enough but I don't need him sick or hurt just for the sake of being period correct. James agreed.

I'm considering this trek to be a fun liesure walk in the woods for a few days, and I plan on learning alot from the more experienced ones. So far the trek group looks like this:
James Kyle, John D____ ( from Desoto area & I think former Army ranger ) James says he's a hell of a trek partner and when he goes , everyone gets home, Chris Berry, You, Phil ( hopefully), Greg Graham ( new to trekking and very excited about it ) Myself, and my 13 yr old Zach. You know as well as I do that if 10 say they will, you're lucky to get 5. I'm a definate, you had better be ( Ha! ), Chris is barring a family emergency, ... we can probably count on him.
Then again if by some chance of events, it turns out to be just you, me , & the trees, I'll still have a a great time. I just can't think of anything that would really disappoint me about any of it.. Greg and I are going on a few overnighters between now & then to the Busiek Conservation area to help him get his pack and stuff tuned a little better. I also guess I'd better take plenty of shot and practice if I'm gonna keep you in squirrel. Ha!

Holler at ya later


November Trek 6,7, & 8th, 1999
Mark Twain National Forest, Missouri

We are planning a fall trek in the beautiful Mark Twain Nat'l Forest South of Cabool, Mo. Rendezvous point will be the Dairy Queen parking lot at the Jct. of Hwy 60 & 181 in Cabool.( NE corner) between 11:00 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. Friday the 6th.

For those unable to make the Friday rendezvous point, a Saturday point will be designated where you will be met.

This trek is to be a leisure walk in the woods and should be a fun and learning experience for those attending. Remember, this Mo in the fall so prepare your packs for the weather( for any attendees outside of MO, this means anything from tornadoes to snow, sleet, & drizzle or rain and temps ranging from 70's to 20's). In case of emergency ( JP ) will have his secret modern bag that gets pulled with a 2/3 vote. There will be springs in the area where we will water up. I will have a good water filter in my pack so if you wish to save the weight, use mine.

Squirrel season is open so if we get lucky we can suppliment our trail rations.

OBJECTIVES: We will jump off at Dyestone Mtn. And make our way to Rockhouse Spring for the first nights camp. If we have to pick up any late comers on Sat we will do it near Noblett Lake, other than that the plan is to make 2nd nights camp near Carmen Springs. Sunday will be a leisure trek back to our modern conveyances. I hope to see many levels of expertise and experience in this trek, there will be a few participants who will be on their first and a few who are ragged veterans. If the response is good and attendees plentiful then we will break into 2 groups with a designated rendezvous point. The next morning we will switch parties around so that we have the opportunity to travel with everyone at some time.

RULES: Pre 1840, it doesn't matter what your persona is. Dress for your part and period. For those just starting to trek do your best. If you wear glasses ya gotta see, or if you have an existing condition for footwear, OK. But keep it period in camp if at all possible.

I know how schedules work but if ya can, RSVP by Nov. 1, 1999 so I can get the final details planned.

DETAILS: Some of you already have a map of the area. If you wish to get one the U.S.G.S

You need: Dyestone Mtn. 7.5 minute map

Dyestone Mountain, Mo
N3652.5 - W9200/ 7.5


Subject: Re: Nov Trek
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 1999 07:55:17 -0000
To: "jp-finn"

> I got your message and map for the trek. I didn't read it real close,
> but doesn't it seem like we will be taking 2 days heading away, and half
> a day to get back? Or is there another Carmen Springs that I didn't
> notice?

Dyestone Mtn. to Rockhouse Spgs., to Noblett Lake, to Carmen Spgs. back to Dyestone . I figger we'll wander around a little, hunt, maybe fish a little at Noblett and generally do the JP thing, relax and have a good time.

> And what was this?:
> "Squirrel season is open so if we get lucky we can supplement our trail
> rations."
> I was counting on eating squirrels that you shot for me. I was also
> planning on borrowing a blanket and shelter from you, so I wouldn't have
> to carry my own....
> I want to remind you that I am an old, fat, decrepit weakling. You
> didn't mention the litter to carry me back even once!

Old Fart my ass!, you're probably in better walkin shape than I am!! LOL!! yeah, I'll try to keep you in squirrel, but you'd be a fool to trust your stomach to my skill!
Sorry, my friend my big shoulders are for friends to cry on, not for your blanket and shelter, LOL As for the litter, I don't recall invitin any cats but if you want to use a litter box bring your own, I prefer paper.

> Back to the e-mail. I need to reread that notice, and study that map a
> little more. How many fish in that Noblett Lake? I may just hang out
> there with the other feeble and wounded waiting for you to finish the
> scout....

I don't know about the fish, never been there myself, was kinda plannin a little day trek to prescout the area, if I can find ya a place to fish will ya be happy? LOL!!



Subject: trek
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 1999 22:52:02 -0000

Good News!! Got 2 more confirmed for the trek. Gerald Anderson and his wife will be attending. Both are trekkers and members of Les Miserables Primitives.

Looks like your gear will be able to be distributed to many for the carrying! LOL!!

As for me, I can't wait. As far as I know Phil will still be making it, Chris Berry, James Kyle, Greg Graham, Gerald & his wife, Tim (friend of Chris') and of course Zach & myself. Might be a pretty big party but I figure anything over 8 & we'll likely break into 2 parties with rendezvous points.

talk at ya later,


The Trek

Friday morning was the normal flurry of gathering and packing that had been put off until the very last minute. Most of the gear had been set up Thursday evening, but there is always that last minute "What did I forget, this time?" nagging doubts.

This trek was a long time in the making. It was close to a year ago that we had made plans to wander the South Missouri hills together, but for one reason or another we had never quite connected.
Introductions went quickly at the Dairy Queen parking lot. The intrepid band was made up of Dwayne Guant, the organizer of this pleasure juant, Zack, his son, James Kyle, Coht Missouri State Rep, Chris Berry, Greg Graham, Tim Jones, Gerald and TJ Anderson of Les Miserables Primitives and myself. I figured I was in good hands with this group.
At long last we gathered our gear and loaded up for the short trip to the trailhead.

At the trailhead we showed off all our "good junk" to each other.
This important ritual may look like a bunch of little kids with new Easter clothes, but it really has a couple important points. It gives each a chance to have their goods to be validated or found lacking, as well as give everyone a chance to see what the others are using.

Tiring of admiring all the stuff that everyone had, while my stuff was just the ordinary run of the mill junk, I headed down the trail. The plan was to get a little head start and let all those youngsters catch up while I rested for the next leg.
I had made a new knotted tumpline and I knew it was going to stretch as we traveled. I expected to have to shorten it up regularly for the first day or so. I was adjusting it when the group came by, passing me with a spring in their step and a song on their lips. I waved them by, knowing that the trail made by that many people would be easy to follow.
I fell in behind the last one on the trail, slowly falling behind, as I had planned. I figured they would reach Rockhouse Springs and have camp set up long before I got there.

We had started on an overgrown logging road running west, but soon cut cross country, following the ridge down towards the south. The leaves were mostly off the trees, littering the ground and opening up the woods. There was a minimum of underbrush, allowing me to see a couple hundred feet through the woods.
The weather couldn't have been better, low 70's with a light breeze. My bags and bedroll were riding well, rifle over the shoulder and tin pot of food swinging with my stride. Trudging up the rise I spied James resting on the side of trail. Figuring that it might be good to have someone to tell the others when I had my heart attack, I fell down next to him to rest.
Down the hill, up the next, into the gully and along the bottom, we followed the trail left by our companions. Puffing along the bottom of the gully, we stared at the trail that went up the other side, got lost in the woods and then wandered back down into the gully.
We detoured, cutting across to where the trail came back up the hill, trying to stay high enough on the hill that the rough, steep ground was skirted, but the trail was still seen.
We heard voices before we saw the group, gathered in a long rock house part way up the other side of the gully. James took the 70 foot hillside first, leaving me to admire the view while he navigated the steep and slippery trail. I waited until he reached the bottom so when I slipped I wouldn't bowl him over on my way down.
The main rockhouse was five or six feet deep and three feet high, streching 40 feet long. Another, much shorter rockhouse was around the corner, with what looked like a cave opening halfway up the hill behind the rockhouses. Gerald and TJ had set up housekeeping in the smaller rockhouse with the rest of the band spread out in the longer one.
I announced my arrival by pitching the tumpline load, consisting of a ground cloth, blanket and coat, down the hill. I smiled and waved at all the suddenly frozen trekkers and answered their friendly hellos with my standard greeting, "I did that on purpose!"
I set up camp next to James. Shortly after spreading out my bedroll and gathering a few sticks for the supper fire, we settled down for a much needed rest.
As James fixed steaks and baked onion for our repast, he attempted to pass off some of that spoiled whiskey he calls Scotch. He has been trying to get rid of that bad batch ever since I first met him, so I was prepared. I gave him a short snort of fresh whiskey and he promptly made a pot of hot buttered rum. I figure the Scottish part of him refuses to throw out that spoiled whiskey, no matter how bad it tastes....
Later, curled up in my blanket, laying in my bed of gathered leaves, watching the fire slowly die down, I decided that the long time planning had been well spent. The exercise and fresh air must have been a potent combination, for I slid into a sound sleep, hardly noticing the snores roaring out of the tired trekkers vibrating the dirt off the hillside above the rockhouse, dribbling down in a dirty waterfall into the streambed.

Morning came entirely too early. I fixed a cup of tea as James pounded coffee beens and set them out to boil. Leftover steak and coffee made a filling breakfast.
Farther down the rockhouse I could hear Dwayne spitting tobacco and grumbling about his pipe. Wiping my hands on my hunting frock, I reached into the grub bag for the secret trade goods - a pack of Camel cigarettes. Tucking them into the overlap of the frock, I hobbled down to his fire.
Squatting before his fire, I lit a twig, reached into the frock, pulled out a cigarette, lit it and took a deep drag.
"What seems to be the problem, Dwayne?"
Dwayne leaned over, all a-quiver, eyes locked on the smoldering cylinder. "I'd do anything for a cigarette!"
Another cigatette appeared. "Carry my tumpline?" I asked.
"Yeah, yeah", he grunted, holding the cigerette in the fire, burning all the hair off his lower arm trying to hold still in the flame to light it.
"Shoot me a squirrel for breakfast?"
"Don't push it!" Dwayne leaned back, tension draining from his features, relaxing in enjoyment.
Leaving him with another cigarette for later, I went back to my end of the rockhouse to pack for the days travel. As I finished a bag I staged it on the flat spot on the other side of the gully. Finishing early, I helped James gather his gear. Gathering the possibles and gun bag, rifle and tin pot, I watched James slip and slide down to the bottom of the gully. Taking a deep breath, I followed in my usual graceful manner.
Regathering my gear, we hobbled over to the bottom of the trail. My bedroll was gone!

Looking all around, I spied Dwayne at the crest of the hill, my bright green coat dribbling off to the side as he tried to readjust the tumpline. "I've got your bedroll!", he yelled down the hill.
"Ok, we'll meet you down the hill a little ways. We are going to find a little less steep area to come up."
James and I went down the gully. A couple corners later a finger jutted into the gully, reveiling a much easier path to the ridge top. James worked his way up the hill as I waited for him to slide back down. After he disappeared I started up. Reaching the semi-flat area, I straightened up, stepped on a leaf covered rock and slid back down to the bottom of the hill.
Back on the top, I found the trail that James had left. I followed it down the ridge and found him sitting on a downed tree. "Thought you had decided to continue down the gully," he said.
"I considered it, tried it a couple times, decided against it. Did you notice the trail the others took?"
"Not yet."
"Me either."

We moved south until we got to a serious dropoff. Neither of us expected it, so dumping our gear, we pulled out the map and compass.
"If we camped at Rockhouse Spring, there should be a road down there."
"If we camped at Rockhouse Springs, we should be on the other side of the Lake!"
James moved over to the dropoff. "No road that I can see," he said.
Looking at the map, I decided there were three possible locations that we were in. The general direction of travel from the parking area had been south. There were four fingers that dropped off abruptly towards the south. Rockhouse Springs is located in that steep valley, down near the road.
Standing on the dropoff, staring blankly at the hill on the other side, a shot rang out from down canyon. "Think they want us to shoot back to let them know where we are?"
"Wouldn't hurt!"
PatchEater was rapidly prepared and fired into the air. Moments later another shot rang out down canyon. "They must be down there."
Deciding on heading southwest on the theory that we could stay back on the relativly flat area and still see the fingers, we started off.
Several hundred miles later we came to another drop off. Out came the compass.
Our possibilities were narrowed down to two locations, neither of which was where we wanted to be. Looking at the sun, then at the map, we realized that we would not make Noblett Lake before nightfall.
PatchEater was fired. No answer.
A council was held. James allowed that his knee was acting up and he sure didn't want to fall down into the canyon, then try to climb back out when we decided it was the wrong place. I held to the proposition that there would be nowhere for the medivac chopper to land when I had my heartattack. We didn't have a coin to toss, and neither of us had enough energy to pull a weed to make straws, so it was a draw. We decided to use both excuses.
We struck out for the logging road that was indicated due west from us. Several rest stops later, the road was spotted and we fell alongside.

Lunch was apples, cheese and most of the remaining water in our canteens. Mildly rested, James went up the logging trail to fetch his Jeep, while I guarded the gear. I promptly found a briar free area and laid down for a relaxing smoke.
My guarding duties were discharged when the sound of a horseless carraige disturbed my slumber. I was rewarded for the extreme attention to my duties, however, with a dark ale from the back of the Jeep.

After cruising the logging trail, looking for sign of our missing merry band, we headed out for the road leading to Noblett Lake. There at the Lake we spied a familiar truck and strangly dressed people sitting on a picnic table.
The reunion was short. Camp was to be set upstream of the park on a little point jutting into the lake.
I held up a cigarette. "Hey, Dwayne!" Wanna carry my tumpline into camp for me?"
Dwayne pointed at my bedroll in the back of the pickup. "Not a chance!" I have my own cigarettes, now."

The last night was spent rehashing stories of old trips, hunts and just general relaxing. The miles had been covered, some on foot, some otherwise. It was the end of the trail and life was good.
From the campfire stories, I learned that a slug can make tremendous noise crawling around in the morning after a hard night sampling the firewater.
It is always good to learn something important on a trek. You never know when that information may be needed.

Breakfast completed, gear was tossed into the pickup and everyone loaded up for the drive back to the parking area. The trek was completed. It was time to rejoin the modern world.


Subject: Trek
Date: Sun, 07 Nov 1999 17:47:18 -0600
From: jp-finn

I made it home, so all is well!

Thanks for the weekend. We will have to do it again, sometime. After I recuperate!

Sore and tired (but happy),


Subject: Trek
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 1999 11:50:37 -0800
To: "The Intreped Trekkers"

Good Friends,

Well, we all survived! ( can be debated )

I would like to thank you all for attending and hope that you all had a good time. Me, my calves are killing me, but we now know that yes, I will walk a mile for a Camel!

I learned alot on this trek, mostly, about better planning and logistics. and in the future I promise to plan better, I also got a few ideas to better my pack and lighten the load a little more. Nothing major, just the few little adjustments that do make a difference.

I don't know about you all, but, the Rockhouses that we stayed in were a great place, I'm glad we were able to locate such a nice size to accomodate all. I will camp there again some day.

I really enjoyed the chance to share a camp with you and some of you , meet for the first time, I do look forward to more in the future.

Thanks again for your attendance and fellowship
By the way!! Now, as of this morning in my office is an empty pack of Camel cigs. to forever remind me that dependency sometimes hurts! HA!

Most Humbly,