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Canoe, Hike and Horseback Ride through the Shawnee National Forest

Program Number: 13605RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/21/2014 - 9/26/2014; 10/19/2014 - 10/24/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Ozark, Illinois
Price starting at: $638.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Multi-Sport; Walking/Hiking; Water Sports Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

The Shawnee National Forest claims five different ecological divisions between the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. By canoe, foot and horseback, experience for yourself why southern Illinois is a close-kept secret of outdoor enthusiasts. Observe eagles, herons, egrets and aquatic life along the Cache River, discover water tupelo trees and the “knees” of the bald cypress in the wetlands, and pass between sandstone bluffs and through ancient canyons as you learn aboutf the vast and diverse Shawnee.




Highlights

• Survey sandstone formations unique to the region on a hike to the highest free-falling waterfall in Illinois.
• Spot red-eared sliders sunning themselves and watch for bald eagles perched while canoeing on Lake Echon.
• Tell stories, sing songs and share memories around the campfire as you rest for the next day’s trail ride.



Activity Particulars

Hiking 3.5 miles over woodland, some rocky terrain. Paddling canoe 1.5 miles on flat water. Horseback riding three hours: one hour of instruction, two-hour trail ride.



Coordinated by Camp Ondessonk, a Catholic retreat center.




Ozark

Located in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest, which extends over 270,000 acres, Ozark offers proximity to the edge of a glaciated area, which provides a diversity of flora and fauna and unique geologic features. Ozark is also located within one hour of the Trail of Tears route, which is part of the National Park Service.



Accommodations
Lodge with private baths, bunk beds (lower bunks only) and large deck overlooking rolling pasture land.
Meals and Lodgings
   St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
  Ozark, IL 5 nights
 St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
Type: Lodge
  Description: Rustic Dormitory style loding 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 allowed: Yes
  Bathroom: Private bath in each double occupancy room.
  Additional nights prior: $50.00 per night per room. Please call to ensure availability.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $50.00 per night per room. Please call to ensure availability.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Registration 3:00-5:00 PM. You will be staying at St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends at 9:00 AM. You will be staying at St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Completed health form and liability release form returned to Program Director prior to arrival. Valid photo ID such as driver's license.
  Parking availability:
Free on-site parking for duration of program.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Ozark, IL
  Nearest city or town:  Marion, Illinois.
  Nearest highway: Hwy 45.
  Nearest airport:  Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL), St. Louis, MO.
  From End of Program
  Location: Ozark, IL
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Carbondale, IL

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Camp Ondessonk
phone: 618-695-2489
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$20
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

approx. 1 hour 

   

With advance notice of at least 10 days, Camp Ondessonk will provide van transportation to and from Carbondale for $20 per passenger each way.

 

Marion, IL

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Camp Ondessonk
phone: 618-695-2489
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$15
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

35 minutes 

   

With advance notice of at least 10 days, Camp Ondessonk will provide van transportation to and from Marion for $15 per passenger each way.

 

Paduchah, KY

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Camp Ondessonk
phone: 618-695-2489
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$20
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

approx. 1 hour 

   

With advance notice of at least 10 days, Camp Ondessonk will provide van transportation to and from Paducah for $20 per passenger each way.

 

St. Louis, MO

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
BART Transportation
phone: 800-284-2278
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

prices may vary
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

2 1/2 hours 

   

BART Transportation is a commercial van service available to participants who choose to fly into St. Louis, MO. Bart can shuttle participants to Marion, IL. You will be dropped off at the Williamson County Airport in Marion. With advance notice of at least 10 days, Camp Ondessonk will provide van transportation to and from Marion, IL for $15 per way as a courtesy to our guests. They are also available online at www.bartshuttle.com/

 
Driving Directions
  East Take I-64 West to I-57 South to I-24 to Tunnel Hill exit. Turn left onto Tunnel Hill to Hwy 45. Turn left onto Hwy 45 North to Ozark Road (about 7 miles). Turn right onto Ozark Road to Ondessonk Road (about 1/2 mile). Turn right onto Ondessonk Road to St. Noel Center.
  North Take I-57 South to I-24 to Tunnel Hill exit. Turn left onto Tunnel Hill to Hwy 45. Turn left onto Hwy 45 North to Ozark Road (about 7 miles). Turn right onto Ozark Road to Ondessonk Road (about 1/2 mile). Turn right onto Ondessonk Road to St. Noel Center.
  South Take I-24 to Tunnel Hill exit. Turn right onto Tunnel Hill to Hwy 45. Turn left onto Hwy 45 North to Ozark Road (about 7 miles). Turn right onto Ozark Road to Ondessonk Road (about 1/2 mile). Turn right onto Ondessonk Road to St. Noel Center.
  West Take I-64 East to I-57 South to I-24 to Tunnel Hill exit. Turn left onto Tunnel Hill to Hwy 45. Turn left onto Hwy 45 North to Ozark Road (about 7 miles). Turn right onto Ozark Road to Ondessonk Road (about 1/2 mile). Turn right onto Ondessonk Road to St. Noel Center.
Equipment Requirements: Comfortable broken in hiking shoes and two water bottles!
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival and check in / Dinner / Welcome and Orientation
(Sunday, October 19)
   
 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 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!
   
Accommodations: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Welcome to the Shawnee National Forest: Hiking / Illinois Biodiversity
(Monday, October 20)
   
 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!
   
Accommodations: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Horse Sense 101 / Horseback Trail Ride
(Tuesday, October 21)

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!
   
Accommodations: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Canoe Camp Ondessonk's Lake Echon / Cache River State Natural Area / Camp Fire
(Wednesday, October 22)
   
 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!
   
Accommodations: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Choose your own adventure / Trip to the Winery
(Thursday, October 23)

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.
   
Accommodations: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Program Wrap Up / Independent Departures
(Friday, October 24)
   
 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: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Sand County Almanac


Author: Aldo Leopold


Description: Since his death in 1948, Aldo Leopold has been increasingly recognized as one of the indispensable figures of American environmentalism. A pioneering forester, sportsman, wildlife manager, and ecologist, he was also a gifted writer whose farsighted land ethic is proving increasingly relevant in our own time.



Basic Horsemanship


Author: Gaydell M. Collier, Eleanor F. Prince


Description: Introductory guide to horses.



Field guide to Trees


Author: National Audubon Society


Description: Great field guide for trees in Southern Illinois



Illinois Wildflowers


Author: Don Kruz


Description: Color Photos and Descriptions of more than 400 flowers in "The Prairie State"



Introduction to Paddling: Canoeing Basics for Lakes and Rivers


Author: American Canoe Association


Description: Learn the basics canoeing from the American Canoe Association.





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