About the Program
|7/2 - 7/16 ||15||13-17||$1,725||Dallas or Austin, TX|
Before we head out to explore the Ozarks and Quachita (wosh-i-taw) mountains of Arkansas and discover why it’s called “The Natural State” we pick up campers along the way in Austin and Dallas. We travel round trip from Texas via a 15 passenger van and trailer. NO AIRFARE OR EXPENSIVE GEAR to purchase! Once in the mountains campers will be treated to endless amounts of crystal clear rivers and streams, Opportunities to explore the inland highlands that are home to some of the best backpacking, kayaking, rock climbing, and camping in the South. Teens will backpack, hike along pristine streams to hidden swimming holes, camp along the river bank on a multi-day kayak trip, and adventure deep into a wild cave far beyond the lighted path that most people see.
Teens will kayak down the Buffalo National River in the heart of the Ozarks camping along the way in one of America’s hidden treasures. Not only is the Buffalo the first river in the United States to be designated a National River, it is also home to the only elk heard in the state! We will backpack through parts of the Quachitas, the oldest National Forest in the Southern United States, learning Leave No Trace ethics along the way which is a practice that EPIC follows on all trips.
Campers will explore a wild cave where lighted paths and hand rails are left behind for the less adventurous. We will head deep into a cave armed with only a headlamp and a local guide who will lead our campers through muddy passageways before they open up to large ballrooms exposing numerous stalactites and stalagmites.
Ultimate Ozark offers teens continual hands on opportunities to develop their leadership skills helping to build self confidence and character. We believe strongly that teens need more opportunities to take on leadership roles, and we develop all of our programs with this in mind. In addition, campers are responsible for preparing meals, building tents, helping to manage group resources, and more. This is the perfect trip for an adventurous teen looking to get lost in the back country while gaining valuable knowledge that will stay with them long after their time with EPIC Adventures ends!
|15 Day Ultimate Ozarks Itinerary||No Previous Experience or Expensive Gear Required!|
|Day 1||Welcome to Camp / Team Building|
|Day 2||EPIC Wilderness Clinic / Day Hike to Swimming Hole|
|Day 3-6||Backpacking Trip|
|Day 7||Logistics Day / Travel / Prepare for River Trip|
|Day 8||Cave Trip|
|Day 9||River Clinic and Prep|
|Day 10-13||River Trip|
|Day 14||EPIC Banquet / Clean / Gem Mine|
|Day 15||Depart for Home|
First things first, the staff will work with campers teaching them knot tying, shelter building, cooking methods, water purification, Leave No Trace ethics (LNT), how to select a proper campsite, back country and front country safety. In addition, we also spend time teaching campers how to plan routes, basic orienteering, outdoor leadership, risk management skills, and how to maintain proper hygiene. We believe strongly in hands-on learning and make every effort to put campers into real world situations where staff can mentor students in real time. Having a good understanding of these concepts ensures campers are not only prepared for our adventures together but gives them confidence when they leave.
Perhaps the most challenging component of the trip but also the most rewarding part of the trip is backpacking. Teens consistently learn more from backpacking than anything else we do at camp. Hiking high above the desert in the mountains, the air is much cooler and the views are incredible. Days begin by preparing breakfast and filling water bottles before beginning the day’s hike. On a typical day, teens will hike 5-8 miles before making camp. Hikes are challenging but designed to challenge everyone to their abilities. This is not a boot camp so don’t worry. Campers are given leadership roles each day and the gear is divided around the group equally. Campers usually make camp around 3-4 pm each day so they have plenty of time to build shelters, filter water, cook, and build campfires. Campers will prepare their food over campfires or with backpacking stoves, cooking things like pancakes, quesadillas, pita pizzas, and many more fun meals. In fact many camp parents often tell us their camper comes home and cooks for them! We build shelters from tarps or if the weather is nice we just sleep under the stars. To celebrate the end of our backpacking trip, we have a well deserved dinner at a local mountain lodge restaurant. The sense of accomplishment and bonding that occurs on a backpacking trip can’t be overstated. The stories and experiences that come from our backpacking trips are often the ones that become EPIC!
For many campers this is their favorite part of the trip. Guided by a local guide who knows every corner of the cave, campers will adventure deep into a wild cave with nothing but a headlamp for light. Teens will not find lighted walkways, but muddy passageways that require campers to crawl, climb, slide, and squeeze in order to discover the many hidden treasures that lie deep below the surface. This is a wild cave loaded with stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, waterfalls, and much more that will leave campers in amazement. Interesting facts about the cave we will explore: remains of a saber tooth tiger were found inside, members of Jesse James’ group used it to hide, and Native American artifacts dating back 8,000 years have been discovered!
For our multi-day kayaking trip we will adventure down the Buffalo River. Running the Buffalo River’s rapids then enjoying the quiet pools of clear water, it will not take long to see why this river became the first National River in the United States. Located in the heart of the Ozarks, the river is surrounded by cliffs, isolated wilderness, and amazing views. It is not uncommon to see elk and possibly black bears as well as over 400 species of animals and birds in the area. Campers are given comprehensive instruction on proper kayaking techniques prior to beginning our adventure. Once we head out, we will be self sufficient for the remainder of the trip cooking and camping along the way on the banks. Traveling by water is one of the oldest forms of adventure and this trip is certain to be full of it!