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OZARK, ILLINOIS

Hiking in Southern Illinois

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Walking/Hiking

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Road Scholar
Program #13085RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Equipment Requirements
Hard soled, closed toe hiking boots. Prefer not "new" boots. Rain gear. Comfortable clothes, they will get dusty/muddy. Water bottle/canteen.

Itinerary for Oct 13 — Oct 18, 2013

Expand all
Type: Conference Center

Contact info:
3760 Ondessonk Road
Ozark, IL 62972 USA
phone: 618-695-2489
web: www.ondessonk.com

Facility amenities: Walking trails, large deck for relaxing.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $20.50 per night per person.
Please call to ensure availability.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, October 13 - Arrival and check in/Welcome and Orientation
Afternoon: Welcome to Camp Ondessonk! Your guides for the week will be available at the St. Noel Center to assist you with check in and show you to your room. After moving in, take some time to relax in the fresh air on our spacious deck overlooking Ondessonk's sprawling pasture lands. Enjoy the stunning sight of our 82-horse herd as they graze away the evening hours. Or, feel free to walk around and get a preview of the adventure to come! Take a sneak peak of Camp Ondessonk's Road Scholar programs on YouTube. www.youtube.com/user/CampOndessonk#p/u/15/HxnSmmv-6aU Just copy and paste the link in your browser.

Dinner: Dinner served family-style in the St. Noel Center dining area.

Evening: An opportunity to start getting to know the individuals you will be adventuring with this week. Be prepared to laugh and to share a little bit about yourself as we begin forming our trail group!

Lodging: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Conference Center

Contact info:
3760 Ondessonk Road
Ozark, IL 62972 USA
phone: 618-695-2489
web: www.ondessonk.com

Facility amenities: Walking trails, large deck for relaxing.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $20.50 per night per person.
Please call to ensure availability.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Two: Monday, October 14 - Welcome to the Shawnee National Forest!/Hike
Breakfast: Breakfast will be served family-style in the St. Noel retreat center's dining area. A warm start to a great day!

Morning: Our first day on trail will be spent hiking on Camp Ondessonk's trail systems, giving you a taste of the geological formations that make Southern Illinois such a hidden gem. The morning will see us experiencing the East side of our property, visiting the highest free-falling water fall in the state of Illinois and exploring some of the intriguing sandstone formations unique to this area.

Lunch: We will be hiking to a picnic-style lunch served in the out-of-doors under a pavilion overlooking one of our many small lakes. A great way to recharge our energy before hitting the trail once more.

Afternoon: Once back on trail, we will head towards an ox-bow lake surrounding a sandstone monolith, once the site of a Native American stone fort from the Woodland Indian period. Upon returning to the St. Noel Center, there will be some down time to clean up and allowing for an opportunity to visit with fellow Participants before dinner is served.

Dinner: A warm and hearty meal will be served family-style in the St. Noel Center's dining area. Dessert to follow!

Evening: Southern Illinois is unique on several different levels. From inland seas to that vast glaciation of ice ages past, several prehistoric occurrences impacted and shaped the geology of this area. Learn how this geology, and the convergence of several different natural divisions, allows for the astonishing plant and animal combinations found in this area. Cacti growing within a hundred feet of a moist oak-hickory forest? Southern cypress swamps in Illinois? Join us after dinner to find out more!

Lodging: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Conference Center

Contact info:
3760 Ondessonk Road
Ozark, IL 62972 USA
phone: 618-695-2489
web: www.ondessonk.com

Facility amenities: Walking trails, large deck for relaxing.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $20.50 per night per person.
Please call to ensure availability.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, October 15 - Some Must-See locations in the Shawnee National F...
Some Must-See locations in the Shawnee National Forest!/picnic lunch/Must-See locations in the Shawnee National Forest!/Dinner Served Family Style/Evening Program: Night Hike!

Breakfast: A warm breakfast served family-style in the St. Noel Center dining area.

Morning: Spend the morning exploring the trails, natural springs, and canyon systems of Bell Smith Springs, a National Natural Landmark. See a sand stone natural bridge, and a stone stair case built into the cliffs by the Civilian Conservation Corp (C.C.C.) during the Great Depression. You will certainly enjoy this local favorite!

Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch while listening to the trickling of the spring fed waters of the Bell Smith Springs area.

Afternoon: After lunch we will travel to one of the highest points in the Shawnee Hills to visit a retired Forest Service fire look-out tower, taking in the view of the sweeping National Forest land below. Before heading back to Camp for some down time, we will make a stop at Mill-stone Bluff, the sight of another Woodland Indian stone fort that was taken over by the people of the Missippian Culture (900-1500a.d.). Artifacts, foundations, and rock art are still visible today!

Dinner: Enjoy another delicious meal prepared fresh by our talented food-service director and served family style in the St. Noel Center Dining Area.

Evening: Join us in exploring the enchanting nocturnal world. Listen for the distant calls of Coyotes echoing up the canyon systems you had been hiking through during the daylight hours. Listen to the Great Horned Owls calling to their mates, or the Barred Owls squabbling over territory. See the starts like never before. A night hike through the Oak-Hickory forests of Southern Illinois is an experience not to forget!

Lodging: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Conference Center

Contact info:
3760 Ondessonk Road
Ozark, IL 62972 USA
phone: 618-695-2489
web: www.ondessonk.com

Facility amenities: Walking trails, large deck for relaxing.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $20.50 per night per person.
Please call to ensure availability.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, October 16 - Cache River State Natural Area/picnic lunch/Cache...
Cache River State Natural Area/picnic lunch/Cache River State Natural Area/A Favorite Camp Tradition: Cookout!/Evening Program: Campfire!

Breakfast: Breakfast served family-style in the St. Noel Center's dining area.

Morning: The Coastal Plain natural division nudges just a ways into the southern tip of Illinois offering a rare opportunity to see the very northern-most tip of the reaches of southern swamps so characteristic of Mississippi and Louisiana. Join us on a walk through the Heron Pond floating board walk that winds through cypress and tupelo trees. Explore the natural and cultural history presentations in the state-of-the-art Cache River Wetlands visitor center. See the state champion cherry bark oak tree, and peek inside the "Winnie the Pooh Tree", a hollowed 1,000 year old bald cypress tree.

Lunch: We will enjoy a picnic lunch at the Lower Cache River Access Area. Feel free to take an opportunity to view the Champion Bald Cypress Tree!

Afternoon: After leaving the Cache River Wetlands Center we will visit the section 8 board walk to see the state champion water tupelo tree. The climate of Southern Illinois has been compared to some of the productive vineyard regions of France, and several successful local wineries have emerged over the past few decades. Group members will have the option to return to the St. Noel Center for some extended relaxation time or visit the Cache River Winery for a taste of local wine.

Dinner: Enjoy a delicious Camp Ondessonk tradition! Our foil dinners will be prepared on a bed of hot coals. Burgers, fresh fixin's, and the works, all enjoyed in the fresh air of a crisp fall evening.

Evening: Another Camp favorite: the campfire program. Songs, stories, and warm memories waiting to be made.

Lodging: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Conference Center

Contact info:
3760 Ondessonk Road
Ozark, IL 62972 USA
phone: 618-695-2489
web: www.ondessonk.com

Facility amenities: Walking trails, large deck for relaxing.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $20.50 per night per person.
Please call to ensure availability.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Five: Thursday, October 17 - River to River Trail/Garden of the Gods/Reflectio...
Breakfast: Breakfast served family-style in the St. Noel dining area

Morning: The River to River trail follows the route of the American Heritage Trail through the southern tip of Illinois, running from Devil's Backbone park on the Mississippi River to Battery Rock park on the Ohio River. It is hiked extensively by backpackers and horse travelers alike. We will be exploring a five mile section of this popular hiking trail, enjoying the feeling that one only gets as the miles disappear under the boots, and the fresh forest air fills the lungs.

Lunch: We will be enjoying lunch at a resting point along the trail. This spot can only truly be communicated once seen. The trail opens up along the ridge we will be traveling and offers up a sand stone outcropping with an unobstructed view of the valleys and hills below. Lunch never tasted so good.

Afternoon: We will be leaving the trail at Garden of the Gods, the most popular outdoor attraction in Southern Illinois. Unique sandstone formations have been carved by wind and time, offering a playground for those who appreciate time to explore the natural things around them.

Dinner: Dinner served family-style in the St. Noel dining area.

Evening: An opportunity to reflect on time spent in the natural world, to share memories freshly made, and to recognize new trail companions who made the experience meaningful.

Lodging: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Six: Friday, October 18 - Program Wrap Up/Departure
Breakfast: Breakfast served family-style in the St. Noel dining area.

Morning: "We have not ceased from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." -T.S. Eliot. Thank you for joining Camp Ondessonk on this journey through Illinois' hidden gem.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
5 nights of accommodations
14 meals: 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
1 Expert-led lectures
9 Field trips

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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