IN A NUTSHELL: This special Saturday Day Trip to Dahlonega, with its optional afternoon AT Dayhike, will depart from Atlanta on the morning of Sep 9 and return late that same afternoon (or evening if you prefer). It has been planned in conjunction with our AOC free campout at "TrailFest" over the same Sep 9-11 weekend. If you'd like to camp with us on Fri or Sat night or both please register instead for that AOC "Camping" event which will offer exciting optional group activities all weekend and is posted as a separate online article.
Registrants (for either of these TrailFest events) are encouraged to help staff our "AOC Trail Magic" booth on the bustling town square, at a time that is convenient for you. Please help spread the good word about our fine Club and help us give out an assortment of donated "trail magic treats" to others who may not have heard about the AOC.
Day Trip participants are welcome to drive up at your convenience on Saturday morning. (Due to a lack of interest in carpooling we've decided to cancel the originally announced optional Saturday carpool plan.) You can hook up with the rest of us either at about 9:30 AM at the group campsite (just south of Dahlonega) or between about 9:45 and 10:45 AM at out "AOC Outreach Tent" on the town square. See event Directions and Parking suggestions below, and for a zoomable map or satellite view of our suggested initial meetup spot at the campsite click the square blue & green "Event Location" icon above.
WHAT IS TRAILFEST? Just 50 miles north of Atlanta, the historic "gold rush" town of Dahlonega is near the southern end of the Appalachian Trail (AT) and is widely known as Georgia's gateway to the legendary 2200-mile-long footpath. Each year this friendly mountain community celebrates hiking, camping and backpacking by hosting on its town square a wonderful free event called "TrailFest," with fascinating outdoor-related presentations, live music, arts & crafts displays, delicious food & refreshments and much more! Produced by hardworking local volunteers, the festival especially honors the hundreds of AT thru-hikers who begin or end their quest nearby. Click here for the main website about the amazing 2016 festival http://DahlonegaTrailfest.org/
For festival details and options click the various topics in the rectangle on the home page. For example click "Program," etc.for this year's weekend-long schedule of presentations, live music performances, etc. (which will continue to have new things added through early September).
MORE about SAT OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: Our Dahlonega friends who host TrailFest have offered us free booth space on the town square where we'll have our AOC "Trail Magic" Tent set up all weekend, Fri-Sun. There we can enjoy the jovial atmosphere of the town square and share info about the AOC with like-minded partners including the Len Foote Hike Inn and the GA Appalachian Trail Club. We intend to build on the AOC tradition of sharing donated snacks, refreshments & small gear items as mentioned above. Please pitch in at our AOC Booth (for at least an hour or so on Saturday) and feel free to add your own personal touch to our volunteer efforts.
Suggestions are given below (in "Recommended Items to Bring") for specific snacks, refreshments and various other small gear items that you might wish to donate. Special thanks to Sue Mioduser for providing colorful "Atlanta Outdoor Club" logo stickers to apply to some of our items so the outdoor enthusiasts we meet will remember us and perhaps become valuable AOC members!
For lunch on Saturday there's an amazing variety of restaurants & cafes within a 5-minute walk from the town square, and we may suggest a specific place and time for a group lu nch and/or late-afternoon group dinner.
OPTIONAL SAT DAYHIKES on the nearby "AT": For all AOCers who would like to participate, we'll offer a leisurely paced early-afternoon ~3-hour dayhike excursion to the nearby "AT." We'll gather at 1:00 PM at the AOC Outreach Tent on the town square and organize a carpool caravan to the GA-60 AT trailhead at Woody Gap. The relatively easy and leisurely paced hike will take us to the spectacular "Preacher's Rock" overlook and back - about 2.5 miles total. During this special outing we'll enjoy chatting with numerous other hikers & backpackers and offering them "real-time Trail Magic" treats and snacks
For those who may prefer a longer more strenuous hike, I've arranged with AOC Trip Leader Diana Dreeben for her to lead an optional extension beyond Preacher's Rock about 6 more miles to lovely Dockery Lake (at a leisurely pace, via the AT and the Dockery Lake Trail). It's easy to set up a vehicle shuttle for that if you're interested in joining Diana for this extension (2 to 3 extra hours, in lieu of returning from Preacher's Rock to Woody Gap with our main hiking group).
"RAIN OR SHINE" EVENT! We intend to go ahead with this event Rain or Shine, esp. because we can so easily find shelter in the event of severe weather.
SPECIAL THANKS! to our friend Tom Lamb, the chief organizer of Dahlonega TrailFest and his staff of hardworking volunteers who make this fine festival happen each year.
|Required Items to Bring:|
- COMFORTABLE CLOTHING and FOOTWEAR appropriate for the weather forecast.
- DAY PACK for consolidating and carrying your Trail Magic Donations (plus Water, Snacks, extra Clothing Layers, emergency Rain Gear, etc. if you plan to do the optional hike with us.) See "Trail Magic" suggestions in the adjoining "Recommended..." section.
|Recommended Items to Bring:|
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.
- "TRAIL MAGIC" DONATED ITEMS: Small lightweight donated snacks, refreshments and gifts (of your choice) to share with AT Hikers and other Trailfest attendees. This is totally up to you to decide, but below are some suggestions based on what has been popular and appreciated in past years. Since each of us will presumably bring several things to share there's no need for any one volunteer to bring more than perhaps $5 to $10 worth of "stuff." Below are a few specific suggestions, but feel free to be creative and to bring "extras" of anything you may already have on hand at home and consider appropriate (including perhaps a few "gently used" small gear items that you no longer need). Please make sure that anything you bring is PACKAGED APPROPRIATELY. ZipLoc Bags of various sizes are a great idea with the advantage of being resealable and that what's inside can be easily seen! Ideally bring things that you personally enjoy and find useful so you can "sell others on them" etc. Lets all feel free to sample or otherwise share some of the items that we or other AOCers bring - esp. if there's an excess of some items. Here are a few ideas:
TRAIL MAGIC SNACK SUGGESTIONS:
- Homemade Brownies
- Homemade "GORP" (or your favorite commercial brand of Trail Mix) in small ZipLoc Snack bags. It's easy to make "Good Ole Raisins & Peanuts" by combining roasted peanuts, raisins, semi-sweet chocolate morsels, etc.
- Fresh (or dried) Apples, Oranges, Bananas, etc.
TRAIL MAGIC BEVERAGE SUGGESTIONS:
- Small Juice Boxes
- Hot Chocolate (in a large thermos, etc. AOC will provide cups.)
- Lemonade (AOC will provide some in a big iced-down cooler + cups.)
TRAIL MAGIC GEAR/ SUPPLIES SUGGESTIONS:
- Small Carabiners
- Small Directional Compasses
- Lip Balm, Small tubes of Sunscreen, etc.
- Assortment of clear ZipLoc Bags (inserted inside one another in various sizes. Useful to hikers for consolidating and waterproofing items in their daypacks, backpacks, etc.)
NOTE: Daytrip participants are welcome drive up at your convenience early Sat AM and meet with other AOCers at either of the following two places/ times:
A. At 9:30 AM at the Appalachian Outfitters TrailFest Campsite just off GA-60 en route to Dahlonega. or
B. Between 9:45 and 10:45 AM at our AOC "Outreach Tent" on the Town Square.
Driving and suggested parking directions are given below.
A: DIRECTIONS to our AOC "GROUP CAMPSITE" optional 9:30 AM MEETUP SPOT from the GA-400 / I-285 INTERCHANGE on ATLANTA'S NORTH SIDE
1. From the GA-400/ I-285 Interchange take GA-400 North for about 47 miles to its official end at the GA-60 junction near Dahlonega. (En route note that a convenient meetup spot for "custom carpooling" is the Park & Ride lot at the GA-400 Mansell Rd exit in Roswell/Alpharetta - about 9 miles north of I-285.)
2. Turn Left at the traffic light onto GA-60 toward Dahlonega, stay on it about 4 miles and look for the "Appalachian Outfitters" headquarters facility on your left. (Feel free to stop here and inquire if you have any special needs for camping, etc.)
3 Continue another 0.2 mile ahead on GA-60 (beyond their HQ area) and turn Left at the "Appalachian Outfitters Tubing" sign (onto "Golden Ave," just beyond GA-60 bridge over the Yahoola Creek).
4. Almost immediately turn Left again into the Trailfest group campsite beside the river, where AOC campers will greet you (at about 9:30 AM - 1/2 hour later than first announced) and assist you with parking. Depending on how much total vehicle space we have, we may consider leaving some of our vehicles at the campsite all day and carpooling the 2 miles northward into town. (See Directions below to suggested free parking for Trailfest at the U. of North GA just south of the town square.).
FOR a ZOOMABLE MAP or SATELLITE VIEW of this initial parking area and AOC TrailFest meetup spot click on the square blue & green "Event Location" icon near the top of this article.
GPS and MAPS.GOOGLE.com USERS: Feel free to augment the above written directions by entering the following Lat/Lon coordinates as your "Destination Address" for the TrailFest group camping area: 34.5094,-83.9762
B. DRIVING DIRECTIONS from our INITIAL SUGGESTED MEETUP SPOT at GROUP CAMPING AREA to SUGGESTED VISITOR PARKING for TRAILFEST near TOWN SQUARE at the UNIV. of NORTH GA:
1. Turn Right out of the Camping Area onto Golden Avenue and go only about 0.1 mile to GA-60.
2. Turn Left onto GA-60 and go about 1.4 mile to the traffic light just beyond the McDonald's Restaurant on your left.
3. Continue straight ahead at the light onto S Chestatee Street and continue about 0.2 mile to the big Univ. of North GA entrance gate on your left.
4. Turn Left through the University entrance gate (onto "Georgia Circle") and then turn Right (northward) at your first opportunity into the large parking lot. Ideally park as far northward as possible so as to have the shortest walking distance to the town square. (Here are the approx Lat/Lon coordinates of a suggested ideal parking spot in that lot: 34.5301,-83.9833 ) If no University parking spaces are available you should be able to find a curbside space on one of the nearby city streets.
5. To reach the town square and our AOC Trailfest Outreach Tent, etc. walk about 0.2 mile northward up Chestatee Street (past the Starbucks coffee shop).