Arkansas Adventure

Zach Smelcer
June 29, 2019

Final Day - Friday, June 28

Unfortunately, our time together on this incredible trip has come to an end. As we woke up this morning in our beautiful cabin, we ate a quick breakfast and got on the road. We had a long haul from Lake Fort Smith to Mountain View, Arkansas for our high ropes adventure.

When we arrived, we got paperwork sorted out and ate a quick lunch before jumping into our activities. We spent our first two hours on a low ropes course exploring different teamwork activities and helping us bond even more as a group. We specifically focused on communication skills and what it means to be a good teammate. After finishing low ropes, we got up in the trees and did a high ropes course! It was so fun to be navigating through the forest together as a team.

Upon finishing high ropes, we had the opportunity to spend some time on what they call the “tower." Each student could choose to zip line, free fall, or rock climb! It was a fun experience and a great way to end the trip.

We piled back into the van and began the five hour journey back home to St. Louis. As we arrived back in town, we were happy to be home but sad the adventure had come to an end. This week was filled with laughs, growth, and deepening relationships. We are all thankful for this experience and very much looking forward to next year!

With Love,
The Zug Crew

Day Five - Thursday, June 27

We had one of our very best days yet as we sadly come towards the end of our time together. Waking up in the morning, the boys broke down the tents and began packing up the van as Will and Zach cooked pancakes and sausage for breakfast. Once everyone had eaten, we headed down to the marina of the state park and rented a boat!

The whole Zug Crew climbed aboard our 18-foot pontoon and set sail on Lake Fort Smith. We drove all around the lake searching for good views and fishing spots. All of the boys got to drive the pontoon and had the time of their lives doing it. We spent four hours on the boat cruising all over the lake.

When we got back to the main land, we busted out our three person water balloon launcher and took target practice on some different objects around the lake. Taking turns launching balloons, we spent hours laughing and smashing different targets.

As the brutally hot day wound down, we checked into our lodge for the night. After many nights of sleeping on the ground, it was awesome to have a bed and some air conditioning. Lucky for us, our lodge had a private basketball court and we all played for hours. 

We cooked spicy tacos for dinner and at them all. It was a great meal! After dinner, we held a ceremony to commemorate our trip coming to a close. We went around the circle telling each other what we value about each person. We all got matching bracelets cut from the same rope to help evoke some memories from this incredible experience. 

We then hung out and played more basketball before heading to bed, as we have an early morning tomorrow. We are excited to hit the high ropes course and climb through the arching canopies of Arkansas!

The Zug Crew

Day Four - Wednesday, June 26

Today we woke up at our new campsite at Lake Fort Smith State Park! We had a slow and restful morning as we hit the mid point of our journey together. We cooked up a hearty breakfast, showered up, and headed down to the lake where we had a water balloon fight!

After adequately soaking each other, we pulled out a water balloon launcher and worked as a team to shoot water balloons at targets. It was a great afternoon laughing and developing teamwork.

After eating lunch we headed to the pool, as it was a very hot day. Playing and splashing, we swam the day away to beat the heat. After a great day at the pool, we went back to camp to cook up a delicious dinner of pork steaks and potatoes. We devoured it all! After dinner we decided to play yard games and ended up teaching the kids a game called flimsy. We got in teams of two and played for almost two hours!

We wound down to night with a campfire and s’mores, preparing for a fun day on the pontoon tomorrow! We are having the best time and miss you all very much!

The Zug Crew

Day Three - Tuesday, June 25

It was a great third day on the Arkansas Adventure. We woke up and broke camp for the first time. The students did an amazing job packing up the tents and helping cook breakfast before we headed down to Fayetteville for our tour of University of Arkansas. 

When we arrived on campus, the students were blown away by the football stadium, the gymnasium, and how big the campus was. Our tour guide was awesome. She showed us all around campus and helped our students picture themselves taking the next step in their learning there. 

We ate lunch on campus to experience life like a true college student and then had the chance to play basketball in the gym! It was a really cool experience the students will likely never forget. Shoutout to University of Arkansas for giving us a great tour and letting us play basketball in their gym!

After hitting the gym, we made our way to our next campsite. We are camping at Lake Fort Smith State Park, a scenic park right on gorgeous Lake Fort Smith. Upon our arrival, we set up camp and immediately got in the water. We took time to swim and hang out before heading back to camp for dinner. 

We cooked a delicious dinner of chicken Alfredo and then headed down to the state park visitor center to go on an “Owl Prowl” with a park interpreter. We hiked around the park in the dark for a while looking for owls and other wildlife, and ended up seeing a screech owl! For many of us this was our first time seeing one and it was very exciting. 

We finished the hike by walking around the lake at sunset which was incredibly beautiful. This has been such a fun week and we are excited to continue making memories!

The Zug Crew

Day Two - Monday, June 24

Our first day waking up in tents! Super fun to wake up to a beautiful day and cook chocolate chip pancakes on the camp stove. After getting a big breakfast in, we headed to a local park in Arkansas to play basketball and swim.

We played basketball as a group for two hours before jumping into the pool. The park had an awesome public pool with diving boards that we used to their full potential; flipping, spinning, and cannon balling all day. 

We grabbed a quick bite for lunch then headed straight back to the pool; playing catch and making memories. Exhausted from balling and swimming all day, we headed back to our campsite to cook dinner. DC cooked us delicious cheeseburgers as Joseph made bacon and the campfire. JJ took a fishing pole down to the Elk River and tried his luck at catching a fish. 

After devouring a delicious dinner, we sat around the campfire for hours. Topics ranged from, “if you were an animal, what animal would you be?” to “have you ever seen a ghost?” It was a great campfire and we all crashed afterwards.

We are excited to be touring University of Arkansas tomorrow and heading to a new campsite! Check in soon. Thanks for all the support!

The Zug Team

Day One - Sunday, June 23

Today we kicked off our Arkansas Adventure. We began picking up the kids in our trusty 15 passenger van around 9am and had the whole crew set by 10am. We decided to start the trip with a quick game of basketball, leaders vs. students. The students dominated.

Setting sail and getting on the road we played games, ate snacks, and sung along to music. After stopping for a quick lunch, we headed to the wild world of Bass Pro Shops. The students were blown away by how big it was and it's multiple aquariums. After Bass Pro Shops, we stopped to do a food shop. Daniel and Joseph were our “Cook Crew,” so we had them pick out meals and list the ingredients we would need. We got all the food needed for the next few days meals. Meal planning and grocery shopping are two of the many skills the students will be working on this week.

Then we went to camp. Arriving at our slightly drenched campsite around 7pm, we quickly set up the tents to avoid getting rained on. We camped on the mighty Elk River, which was very flooded and almost took over our campsite as it continued to rise overnight. As we cooked up our dinner of pork chops, potatoes, and fruit, we saw a wild armadillo and its family coming out of the river. This was a first time and very cool experience for the whole group.

After eating dinner and cleaning up, we played cards before heading to bed. This was a good end to a great first day. We are excited to play basketball, go swimming, and explore the Elk River tomorrow!

Thanks for keep up with us. We appreciate you all!

The Zug Team

Hello to all the family and friends following along on the maiden voyage of The Zugunruhe Experience!

We are excited to be on our very first trip and happy to have all of you along for the ride. As we set sail for this journey we have 5 young men along with us. Hailing from East St. Louis we have JJ, Joseph, Daniel, DC, and Kendrick. They are excited to be a part of Zugunruhe’s inaugural trip as we head out to Arkansas.

Highlights of the trip include floating the Elk River, a campus tour of The University of Arkansas, Fishing at Lake Fort Smith, one night camping in the back country, a high ropes course, and many laughs and smiles along the way.

We will keep you all updated as we break ground in our first ever trip and are excited to have you following along. Thanks again for the support and you will be hearing from us soon.


The Zugunruhe Team

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