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OZARK, ILLINOIS

Canoe, Hike and Horseback Ride through the Shawnee National Forest

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Road Scholar
Program #13605RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
While all of our learning adventures offer extraordinary value, our "Best Value" programs were rated by our participants themselves who thought their dollar went particularly far.
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
Comfortable broken in hiking shoes and two water bottles!

Itinerary for Apr 21 — Apr 26, 2013

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Type: Lodge

Description: Rustic dormitory style lodging nestled in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest. Warm and accommodating dining area where meals are served family-style. Telephone and wireless internet connection available.

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.

Bathroom: Private bath in each double occupancy room. Depending on class size, single occupancy rooms will have a shared bath in a separate building within short walking distance of the St. Noel Center

Additional nights before: $18.50 per night per person.
Please call to ensure availability.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, April 21 - Arrival and check in./Dinner/Welcome and Orientat...
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 73-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 at this program last year on YouTube. www.youtube.com/watch?v=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: Lodge

Description: Rustic dormitory style lodging nestled in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest. Warm and accommodating dining area where meals are served family-style. Telephone and wireless internet connection available.

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.

Bathroom: Private bath in each double occupancy room. Depending on class size, single occupancy rooms will have a shared bath in a separate building within short walking distance of the St. Noel Center

Additional nights before: $18.50 per night per person.
Please call to ensure availability.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Two: Monday, April 22 - Welcome to the Shawnee National Forest: Hiking/Il...
Breakfast: Breakfast will be served family-style in the St. Noel retreat center's dining area. A warm start to a great day!

Morning: The first half of our day will be spent on trail, hiking through Camp Ondessonk's backcountry, giving you a taste of the geological formations that make Southern Illinois such a hidden gem. We will be 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: The second half of the day can be spent however you seem fit. An optional hike will depart to a sandstone monolith surrounded by an ox-bow lake, the site of a Woodland Indian Period Native American Stone Fort. A tour of Phantom's Canyon, a box canyon with 80 foot walls and a seasonal waterfall, will also take place. Feel free to take the afternoon off, read a book, and relax as well.

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

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: Lodge

Description: Rustic dormitory style lodging nestled in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest. Warm and accommodating dining area where meals are served family-style. Telephone and wireless internet connection available.

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.

Bathroom: Private bath in each double occupancy room. Depending on class size, single occupancy rooms will have a shared bath in a separate building within short walking distance of the St. Noel Center

Additional nights before: $18.50 per night per person.
Please call to ensure availability.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, April 23 - Horse Sense 101/Horseback Trail Ride
Note: Participants will spend the day learning all about horses and then put their knowledge into practice on the trail.

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

Morning: Our Equestrian Director will cover the following topics: Overview of Horse behavior, Horse Breeds, Horse Health. After the morning horse class sessions we will get in the saddle for some riding practice in the arena!

Lunch: We will enjoy a picnic lunch served at the Ondessonk Stables

Afternoon: After lunch we will get back in the saddle for an afternoon trail ride through our surrounding rolling pastures, Oak-hickory forests, and rock-bottom creeks!

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: Enjoy a night of fun and relaxation. We'll have a fire, cards, and music at the ready! If your're feeling adventurous, travel outside into the 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: Lodge

Description: Rustic dormitory style lodging nestled in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest. Warm and accommodating dining area where meals are served family-style. Telephone and wireless internet connection available.

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.

Bathroom: Private bath in each double occupancy room. Depending on class size, single occupancy rooms will have a shared bath in a separate building within short walking distance of the St. Noel Center

Additional nights before: $18.50 per night per person.
Please call to ensure availability.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, April 24 - Canoe Camp Ondessonk's Lake Echon/Cache River Sta...
Canoe Camp Ondessonk's Lake Echon/Cache River State Natural Area/Camp Fire

Breakfast: A warm, hearty breakfast served family-style in the St. Noel Dining Area.

Morning: Camp Ondessonk is home to many lakes. Spend the morning learning the skills and gaining the knowledge to paddle our largest lake, Lake Echon, by canoe, kayak or rowboat. Explore the nooks and crannies to discover Red Ear Sliders sunning themselves on downed tree branches or perhaps catch a glimpse of a Bald Eagle perched in a nearby Loblolly Pine or Maple tree.

Lunch: We will enjoy a picnic lunch served near Lake Echon at Camp Ondessonk.

Afternoon: 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. The Lower Cache River Trail offers paddlers a quality canoe experience, 3 to 6 miles in length, through magnificent cypress-tupelo swamp. The highlight of the trail is Illinois’ largest, and therefore state champion, bald cypress tree. Like many trees within the Cache River State Natural Area, it is more than 1,000 years old.

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

Evening: Another favorite: the campfire program. Songs, stories and warm memories waiting to be made. Bring your instruments or just sing along, we'll take requests or at least try our best!

Lodging: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Rustic dormitory style lodging nestled in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest. Warm and accommodating dining area where meals are served family-style. Telephone and wireless internet connection available.

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.

Bathroom: Private bath in each double occupancy room. Depending on class size, single occupancy rooms will have a shared bath in a separate building within short walking distance of the St. Noel Center

Additional nights before: $18.50 per night per person.
Please call to ensure availability.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Five: Thursday, April 25 - Choose your own adventure/Trip to the Winery
Note: Spend the day enjoying your choice of activities. Additional hikes, canoeing, and new camp options are all available!

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

Morning: It's time to choose your own adventure. Participants will be able to choose between several activities including hiking, horses, and more! Perfect skills learned earlier in the week or choose to relax with a good book, it's up to you!

Lunch: We will enjoy a hot lunch served in the basement of St. Noel!

Afternoon: One more stop before heading home: 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 stay at St. Noel for some extended relaxation time or visit the nearby winery for a taste of local wine.

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

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, April 26 - Program Wrap Up
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
3 Expert-led lectures
9 Field trips

Ratings

5
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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