By Mark Mangels
I don’t know how many times I have visited Cedar Bluff at H. Roe Bartle Scout Camp, but this trip still carries with it new memories of a place that I consider special. My first trip was in 1971, and did not include camping on the bluff, but rather just exploring as a summer camper. In those days it was not uncommon to grab hold of some buddies and head to Cedar Bluff and Devil’s Staircase, via the "Blaylocks". There was no lake to walk around, only the Osage River. So, the trip was shorter. I recall the hike in 1971 as being somewhat brief. But, when you are 13, not carrying a backpack, full of energy and just going for the opportunity to explore, it’s just another afternoon scout adventure. As times have changed, and the safety of scouts on the reservation has become more important than ever, I understand the need to be cautious and follow the guidelines of our Reservation. To that end, it is still an awesome view to look across what is now the lake, to hear rain fall on the bluff around you, to see a soaring hawk above, and the usual "big" fish flop in the water below. More memorable are the fellow scouts who made the journey with you. Older scouts show their leadership in blazing the trail ahead, some who would encourage the younger scouts, and the weaker to keep going, because "you’re doing great". To see scouts extend a hand to help others up a steep hillside. To see a scout carry two backpacks to give a leader rest. To see a scout exercise patience while others caught up. The one thing that has never changed in all these years is the Scouting Spirit, especially powerful at our Reservation. I’m not sure how many more trips I will take to the Bluff, but if this were to be my last, it will be one that I may cherish most.
Cedar Bluff Campsite
By Gabriel Drake
We hiked 4-5 miles to Cedar Bluff, what an amazing view. Cedar Bluff is a large cliff and we spent the night under the bluff. The meals were freeze-died. The dinner was awesome but the breakfast was horrible. The hike was fun, I liked hanging out with my friends. On the drive home we go McDonald’s that was an absolutely awesome meal. Back on the road again after an hour or so.
By Caleb Drake
First we hiked to Cedar Bluff, only a 4 mile hike, but it felt like 10 miles. When we got there we set up our sleeping bags and ground cloths, then we crawled around the caves inside the cliff, ate freeze dried food, got up,ate breakfast and left, it was lots ‘o’ fun.
Hiking to Cedar Bluff
By Jeremy Humphrey
Hi my name is Jeremy Humphrey this is what we did on our last overnight. We went up to scout camp and hiked three miles to Cedar Bluff. We ate freeze dried meals they don’t taste an different from food that is not freeze dried. When we got there we got to explore three small caves, but we did not go up Devil’s Stair Case because there was not enough spotters. Later we went to bed. It got extremely cold. Lots of us were in mummy bags with only our eyes poking out rolling back and forth frozen. I think that was the best camp out and best sleep I have slept on an overnight. I can’t wait to go back again.
By Chris Toms
Ahhhhh!! I almost fell over the edge. Yes at Cedar Bluff. If you didn’t go then you missed out. We went caving and we tried to dig out the dirt. Mmmmm, food yes the not so good tasting freeze dried food. Splat, splat, splat, oh, my sleeping bag got wet from the rain during the night. Overall the over night was pretty good.
Overnight at Cedar Bluff
By Tim Phillips
I had a good time at the overnight at Cedar Bluff. It may have taken us four and a half hours to get to the overhang, but is sure didn’t feel like it to me. What I later realized is that we took the exact same route from the last time I went. I didn’t really do much when I first got there; I just set up my sleeping stuff and ate what was left over from my lunch. I did play with Jeremy Humphrey after I rested. He’s very funny and he seems to be one step ahead when it came to camping. He found a live scorpion and ended up almost killing it by dropping a rock right next to it! Fortunately, the scorpion didn’t come back for vengeance and nothing else happened. For dinner, I had lasagna with meat sauce (freeze-dried). It was pretty good, but there were some parts that were still dry, even after shaking and stirring. I also didn’t notice that the majority of the sauce was at the bottom! After dinner, I got into my sleeping bag and chit-chatted with a few other scouts like Jeremy and Tyler Hamm and Tyler Parker. After that and changing my clothes for Sunday, I went to sleep. We may have not gotten to see a sunset or a sunrise, but it was a good camping atmosphere in its own right.
(Go check out more pictures from Cedar Bluff in the 2013 Troop 282 Photo Collection.)