The weather looked perfect for a two night camping trip in the Ozarks. The campground at Council Bluff Lake had just opened and the camping was free coinciding with the ceremony and completion of the John Roth Memorial site along with the official renaming of Middle Fork to Middle Fork-John Roth Memorial Trail. With little time to get ready, we took the guy approach, got everything together and stopped at the store to pick up what we didn't have on the way out. This of course leads to impulse buys like chips, little chocolate donuts........Non the less, we were on the road.
We arrived a little after dark, found a spot near the Ozark Trail Association group site and were set up in a flash. Adam settled on a log cabin style and built our fire using only things found around the site and started it with his fire starter that he got for Christmas. He had never used it before so this was prime time to get comfortable with it. It's one of the two piece ones with some kind of flint rod and a striker. With only the help of some dryer lint that we carry in our backpacks, he got it going. They had just done a prescribed burn of the entire campground so small tender was a little hard to find. We sat around the fire in the cool air and soon it was smores time. I'm not a fan but it's fun watching Adam and Eric make and eat theirs. Soon it was off to bed and with the temps dropping, there was little fuss from them.
Up early the next morning we stoked the fire and made some oatmeal to warm us up. Chased the oatmeal with the donuts. Had to have energy on tap for the long day ahead. It warmed up fast so we changed into our shorts and got our daypacks ready as the OTA shuttle would be ready to take us over to the DD/32 parking lot for the ceremony soon. John's wife had chartered a school bus to bring around 40 people down including his kids along with his mom and dad. I'd guess there were 100 to 120 people there from OTA members to the US Forestry to you name it. It was a perfect day for it.
When the ceremony was over we figured there would be a flood of people trying to get back to CB for the lunch that was to be served so I asked the kids if they wanted to hike back instead. They were up for it so we took off to hike north on the MF/JRM.
They couldn't comprehend the force it must have taken to move this bridge free of its concrete base down the creek.
We made it to the intersection of South Trace and MF/JRM.
Adam and Eric rounding a switchback on South Trace.
There is a cool spring that runs pretty much year round and even in winter, has green vegetation.
Soon we were at the connector that would take us over to the Council Bluff loop. Note the horses prohibited sign, we saw plenty of post holes on this section.
We hiked up to the campground to catch some lunch and take a short break. We had been looking for cool rocks and Adam wanted to go look some more so we headed back down to continue our hike. On the first leg of our hike you'll notice Eric is walking with a trekking pole, Adam's trekking pole to be exact. What a good big brother! We were also on the hunt for a fallen stick that Adam could carve up to have a walking stick for himself and we found one. He removed the bark and any rough spots with his pocket knife and then I carved his name in it. The small "knick" is for its first camping trip, more to follow.
Stopped on the foot bridge at the intersection of the lake loop and the connector.
A few pics from the lake loop, I don't think they had any idea how big the lake actually was!
Soon we were at the climb back up to the campground after some rock hunting in the nearby creek. The hike, about 6 miles, was no problem for Adam but it was Eric's first big hike and he did great!
We had dinner as soon as we got back. Adam started the fire from scratch again, this time he was a pro and it only took a few tries. We stopped by the memorial on our way out Sunday morning so we could actually read and enjoy it.
I took close ups of the plaque so I can send them to you if you want to read it, but I'd suggest you head down and read it for yourself!