Fri, Oct 1 2021 - 13th Annual Dauset Trails Fall Camping and R&R Retreat: Free Kayaking & Canoeing + miles of Hiking & Biking Trails including exciting New Ones! (View Original Event Details)

Trip Leader(s): Charlie Cottingham
Participants:Charlie Cottingham, Emily B, Paul Allen Heist, Antoinette, lraymer, Lee Ann, Rebecca F, Laura R, Betsy P, Jennifer Miles, Huiling, Fred J, Jackie C, Bryan H, BillBB, Bennett, Tom, Mary A, Holley, Grant P, chunmo Son, Beth Ash, Kevin M, Hallie Marie, JennyC, Hailey R, Alla

Write Up:

We Dauset Trails adventurers had an unforgettable good time at this gorgeous ~2000-acre nature preserve.  It was a privilege to feel happy and safe together on one of our Club’s first "carside-camping" events since the pandemic began here in GA early last year. The fresh air and rain-free weather couldn’t have been better for being in the great outdoors – hiking, kayaking, riding our bikes - and “chillaxing” at our exclusive-use group site & pavilion overlooking “Hamp’s Pond.”
  A big high five to everyone for sharing such an amazing assortment of food, refreshments, dining & camping gear - and friendly conversations. Our family-style dinner parties & breakfasts were delicious and everyone pitched in cheerfully to keep everything clean & tidy.  Special thanks to “culinary artist extraordinaire” Paul Heist, his brother Bryan, and Bill Beverley-Blanco for their thoughtful contributions to these meals and for assisting newcomers to the trip with mountain biking, paddling, etc.
  On Saturday morning we enjoyed the Club's traditional ~2-hour "orientation hike" to the Nature Center's Visitor Center, Museum and Wild Animal Trail - just 10 minutes south of our group site through the woods.   On display there for free year-round viewing are dozens of Georgia's amazing native mammals, birds and reptiles.  We had a surprise bonus this time – getting to see the new pair of big black bears expertly and entertainingly fed by two of our favorite ranger friends.  Jeremy and Mattie treated them to pumpkins that had been carved into Jack-o’-lanterns and the hairy beasts got a kick out of rolling them around on the hill with their paws and noses before devouring them!  We also got a kick out of live alligators and other native critters in the Nature Center museum's "Wonder Room" as well as dozens of huge turtles and carp as viewed from the boardwalk over the adjoining lake.  En route back to the campsite it was fun checking out the 1940’s-era farm & barnyard, complete with its pigs, goats, chickens and even an  antique blacksmithing shed.  A hundred or more enthusiasts of the still-thriving art had gathered there on Saturday for a festival complete with fascinating live demonstrations with their fiery bellows roaring.
  On Saturday just after lunch about 16 of us enjoyed a challenging 9-mile loop hike. We began by hiking northward from our group site through Dauset Trails’ traditional trail system and crossing the newly opened Sandy Creek pedestrian bridge (see Tom Jarosz’s great group shot below).  After exploring some of  "The Creek Recreational Area" we hiked southeastward through beautiful Indian Springs State Park and its adjoining historic village.  Our final leg back to the campsite was via the south shore of “Lake McIntosh along the beautiful Indian Springs-to-Dauset Trail, which has recently added a convenient shortcut connector trail toward our group campsite from Sandy Creek.
  After Saturday evening's second festive dinner party it was fun to gather 'round a blazing campfire and enjoy bright Jupiter & Saturn high above.
  On Sunday many of us had fun with more paddling, mountain biking and  exploring more of the nice trails and off-trail terrain that surrounds our lovely lake.
  We look forward to sharing below the links to some of our favorite trip photos - also perhaps other comments, humorous anecdotes, etc. about the trip!   Submitted by Charlie, Mon Oct 3rd