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Fri, Sep 27 2019 - 11th Annual Dauset Trails Fall Camping and R&R Retreat: Free Kayaking & Canoeing and miles of Hiking & Biking trails! (View Original Event Details)

Trip Leader(s): Charlie Cottingham
Participants:Charlie Cottingham, Becki Gregory, Gayle M., Huiling, Fred J, lraymer, Lorna, Jackie C, Sharon, Anne, Adel, Bennett, Melina, Kanako, Wendy M, Dave R, Robin Furman, Alicia, Jennifer Miles, Bart, Mary A, Teresa, Karen E, Dennis Whaley, Jr., Kirby, Harry F

Write Up:

We Dauset Trails adventurers had an unforgettable good time on our 11th Annual AOC Fall camporee at this gorgeous nature preserve I want to congratulate and thank all who stuck with the trip plan, and esp. for adapting so cheerfully to the unseasonably warm weather.  It was great to have such an amazing assortment of delicious food & refreshments and handy gear that folks brought to share - also to see everyone pitching in so cheerfully to prepare & serve our festive group meals and help tidy up afterwards.

Despite the record-breaking afternoon highs there was still lots of enthusiasm for hiking, paddling, bicycling, sightseeing, and just just chillaxing together in our airy dining pavilion overlooking the lake.  It was esp. fun this time just to relax, party and sing there both evenings in the colorful glow of Dave's Christmas lights that he deftly hung from the rafters. 

Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast we enjoyed our traditional "orientation hike" from the Pavilion around the group area's private lake and through the woods to the Nature Center's Visitor Center, Museum and Wild Animal Trail.  Dozens of Georgia's amazing native wild mammals, birds and reptiles are on display there for free viewing, including General Beauregard Lee, GA's Groundhog Day "prognosticator counterpart" to PA's famous Punksatawny Phil.  He was moved to Dauset Trails in 2018 and is now happily at home in his specially built "plantation mansion" enclosure.  When we walked by this time Beauregard and his new girlfriend groundhog sadly were out of sight, apparently trying to stay cool deep in their front yard burrow.  We also got a kick out of the Nature Center's gorgeous botanical garden, the live alligators and other native critters in the Museum's "Wonder Room," and the restored old-time barnyard with its antique barn & blacksmithing shed, chicken coop, plus pigs, goats, mules and other fascinating animals.

On Sunday after breakfast several of us enjoyed a shady and adventurous 90-minute hike from our Dauset Trails campsite via to the huge lake at historic Indian Springs State Park, the oldest state park in the USA.  Our friendly hosts who manage and maintain Dauset Trails have shared the exciting news that they'll begin construction soon on 12 miles of new trails that will interconnect northward to Jackson, GA from the Dauset-to-Indian Springs trail (crossing "Sandy Creek" from where we passed by it en route to Indian Springs).  We appreciated a nice handwritten note from my friend Ike, the Nature Center manager, inviting us to submit creative names for the new trails.  Some of the suggestions we came up with include "The Jackson Five" for perhaps a 5-mile portion of the trail and "Hamp's Hill" after Hamp Daughtry, the Jackson, GA native who was the primary founder and benefactor of the perpetual private foundation that runs Dauset Trails. 

We look forward to our AOC campers & hikers sharing their online photo albums and verbal comments & anecdotes about the trip, which I'll be more than glad to add below!

- Submitted by Charlie, Mon Sep 30th.
  p.s. Hope you can join us for our next semiannual AOC retreat at this wonderful place.  Mark your calendars for the weekend of May 8-10, 2020  and look for that article to appear on the Club website by March.