|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Started off my little backpacking trip with the intention of spending the evening camping and then getting an early start the next morning on some of the many trails at Busiek. Checked the weather forecast...highs 80's - lows 60's....perfect weather.
Next I went to the Missouri Department of Conservation's Regional Headquarters in Springfield, MO to get my camping permit. There is no way to get a permit over the phone or internet, you have to make a trip to the regional office (I love useless bureaucracy). Not knowing the area, I just took a guess and picked the campsite farthest from the trailhead, number nine. Busiek Map Good guess on my part.
I arrived at the east parking lot of Busiek State Forest around 2:20 in the afternoon. I was initially put off by a full parking lot, but quickly realized that next to the parking lot is a popular swimming hole.
My pack was ready, so I slung it on and began down the path (wide maintenance road) to the camping area. Within 100 yards were the first three grassy campsites right on the trail. The first seven campsites are all grassy mowed areas right on the trail with a fire ring and a short path to the creek. Number eight is set off the trail a little, but is a group camp only. By the way all the camp sites were empty, although I could tell that a couple had been used over the weekend.
After about a 1/2 mile walk, I found number nine. Number nine was right next to the creek and although it was barren of grass, someone previous had taken the time to make a seat out of a large log that had washed down previously. A nice swimming hole was only a few steps from the campsite, and heavy rains in the spring had washed up a nice pile of dead wood for a fire.
Setting camp went well and the remainder of my evening was spent making supper and cooling off in the creek. Overall a very relaxing evening. After setting my canteen in the creek to stay cool, and a little nightcap....I was of to sleep.
Other than a visit from a couple of raccoons in camp, my sleep was peaceful until about 3:00 am....then all hell broke loose. A rumble of thunder woke me at first and a quick look to the sky told me that it was going to rain despite assurances from the local weatherman.
First I set about digging out the rain fly for my tent and then getting my pack covered. I then cleaned up around camp and went to the creek to get my canteen, just in case the water came up a little. Looking around and satisfied that everything was in order, I retreated back to the tent just in time for the rain to start. A light rain pattering on the tent will put me to sleep quickly, but the rain went from a patter to a downpour before I could get back to sleep. I pulled out my little AM/FM radio and found out that some strong storms had popped up way north of where I was at. The radio station didn't even mention where I was at....good news I thought, just as I nodded off.
A clap of lightening directly overhead about 4:00 am awoke me again, and again I tuned into my handy AM/FM radio. This time they were talking about severe thunderstorms right where I was at. Oh great! I was done sleeping now. While ducking instinctively after every flash of lightening, I quickly put everything in order and tried to decide whether I should make a run for the truck a half mile back or just stick it out.
After about 30 minutes, a good heavy rain replaced the thunder and lightening. Rain, I can handle...thunder and lightening makes me nervous. So, at this point I am up...might as well make the best of it. After all, the radio station says it will clear off shortly. A breakfast of instant cappuccino, an MRE strawberry scone, granola bar and instant oatmeal rounded out the next hour in the tent.
The rain will stop any moment...
Make another cappuccino...
Listen to the radio...
Take a nap....no good, can't sleep too many cappuccinos.
It's now 8:30 am and the rain has not even slowed down.
But, as I sit in the tent, I notice a sound that seems out of place. It takes me a few minutes, but a quick look to the creek answers my question. The pretty little creek I camped next to last night is no longer pretty.
At this point, I succumb to the inevitable. A quick 5 minutes of packing and a wet walk back to the truck finishes out my backpacking trip.
Oh well, ....there's always next time.