As promised on Sunday, this post is about the second half of our camping trip in the Shawnee National Forest. Instead of driving around southern Illinois, we stayed in Camp Ondessonk, except for the obligatory visit to the Ozark General Store and Dairy Bar and their $3 menu. They were glad to see us again and we were glad for the hot food. It turns out that the store had only opened that week. The family that runs it, has been in the restaurant business for decades though. They had another place, but then decided to retire. After a year of retirement they had had enough of that and opened this store, which is only a bridge while their new-new place is built down the road. The wife told me that their old store had only been open four days a week and only for lunch and dinner. Now, they are open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don’t think that they understand the concept of retirement, but they seemed like nice people and their food was worth way more than what they were charging for it.
Back at camp, we headed out for a hike. Our destination was Cedar Falls, the second highest waterfall in Illinois. We had a map, but it wasn’t all that helpful and we had a fair amount of trouble locating the falls. After wandering about for a bit, we got directions. These directions described a dry stream bed as a road. I’m pretty sure that it would have broken an axle, if driven. On the way down I had joked with Anne that it would take four strong men to haul her out of there.
Almost immediately upon arrival at the falls, we heard a person screaming. It was a women, a college student and she had just fallen. The terrain was similar to that of the Garden of the Gods, only on a slightly smaller scale. Fortunately, she had ‘only’ fallen about six feet, but her ankle was badly sprained. She screamed whenever she tried to put weight on it. There were four of them, two guys and two girls, all students at Murray State, in neighboring Kentucky.
It was about a half-mile, all uphill, over rocky trail, to the nearest real road. It turned out that they were originally all from Saint Louis. We gave her our water and trail mix. She brightened when I told her that it had come from Schnucks. Her comrades helped her as much as possible. She gutted it out moaning or crying out all of the way. As soon as we reached the road, they hopped into their car and were off. We hiked back to Camp Ondessonk and having had enough adventure for one day, we decided to head for home too.