Ozark Highlands Expedition
To Be Determined – Fall 2020
Badges & Backpacks’ expedition on the Ozark Highlands Trail is tentatively scheduled for Fall 2020. The expedition is scheduled to be 6 days in length, and will include hiking a portion of the Ozark Highlands Trail and spending a relaxing evening in the cabins at Lake Ft. Smith State Park. First Responders who are chosen to participate in any of Badges & Backpacks’ expeditions will be given hiking gear, which they will be able to keep after the expedition’s completion, and a stipend for food and other necessities. Participants are expected to make their own travel arrangements to and from Ft. Smith, Arkansas, the beginning point of the The Ozark Highlands Trail Expedition.
Participants will be responsible for traveling to Ft. Smith, Arkansas, and will meet with Badges & Backpacks’ staff and volunteers to be issued their hiking gear, itineraries, and other additional pre-hike / expedition briefings. Participants will be shuttled to the Ozark Highlands Trail head, at Lake Ft. Smith State Park, to start their journey. Daily schedules will include hiking approximately 10 miles to approved campsites, along the trail. By the end of the expedition, First Responders participating in the expedition will have hiked nearly 40 miles. The last evening of the expedition, participants will be shuttled to a cabin at Lake Ft. Smith State Park and will spend their last day in the cabins at Lake Ft. Smith State Park for a day of rest and relaxation.
Upon the completion of the expedition, participants will be shuttled back to Ft. Smith, Arkansas by Badges & Backpacks’ staff and volunteers. At the conclusion of the Ozark Highlands Trail Expedition, First Responders will be encouraged to share their experience of the trail with other First Responders. Our ultimate goal would be for participants to understand the importance of decompressing from their stressful positions and to have the tools to continue using nature therapy as a method to cope with ASD and PTSD.