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REGISTRATION & PAYMENT REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page. This is a paid event with payment managed through the AOC. Please read the event description carefully for details; you will be given payment instructions after you sign up. Late payments are NOT accepted for this event, in any circumstance.

12th Annual Dauset Trails Spring Camping and R&R Retreat: Free Kayaking & Canoeing and miles of Hiking & Biking trails!

The Basics:
Event Type:Multi-Sport
Event Location: 50 miles SE of Atlanta, just off I-75   Multi-Sport: 12th Annual Dauset Trails Spring Camping and R&R Retreat: Free Kayaking & Canoeing and miles of Hiking & Biking trails!  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Fri, May 8 2020  7:00 pm >> Sun, May 10 2020 3:00 pm
Registration Opens: Thu, Mar 5 2020 9:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Fri, Apr 24 2020 4:00 pm
Event Duration:All Weekend! Come & go as you please from midday Fri thru Sun PM..
Difficulty Rating:D2: Easy to Moderate
Trip Leader(s):
Charlie Cottingham
Email Trip Leader(s)
You must be logged in to get the Trip Leader contact information.
Member Cost:$25.00/Person (See Detailed Cost Info Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:25
Minimum Group Size:15
Number Registered So Far: 15 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


UPDATE from Charlie as of April 1st:  As with other AOC events that are posted (for May 2020 and later) the worsening Coronavirus pandemic makes it uncertain whether we can actually go ahead with this event.  Dauset Trails' main visitor area and group campsite are closed at least through the end of April.  My friends who manage the Nature Center assure me that they will let us know ASAP whether they can reapprove our May 8-10 camping reservation.  Confirmees are urged NOT to pay your $25 fee until I get the final go-ahead from them, in which case I'll email you immediately.  No problem or financial penalty if you choose to cancel your AOC registration for any reason.

IN a NUTSHELL:  Ask any of the hundreds of AOCers who have enjoyed this trip with us in the past.  It's a blast!  As usual we'll have exclusive reserved use of the amazing lakeside group campsite, dining pavilion and surrounding recreation area at Dauset Trails for the entire 3-day 2-night weekend. The huge wildlife preserve/ nature center is an easy drive from Atlanta, ~50 miles SE via I-75.  You're welcome to arrive/ depart/ return, etc. at our group site at your convenience between midday Friday and Sunday afternoon.  (See detailed Directions below.)

  Included at no extra charge in our unbelievably low $25 event fee are a wide variety of exciting optional activities:  Unlimited use of Dauset Trails' fleet of Kayaks & Canoes (+ paddles & PFDs), miles of scenic Biking & Hiking Trails, nightly Campfires and scheduled guided Hikesetc.  If you prefer you're also welcome to explore the amazing attractions and wooded trail network on your own, or just "chillax" by the lake at our lovely group site - the perfect place for outdoor rest & relaxation.
  Our Club volunteers will serve up a delicious Saturday evening cookout dinner and Sunday morning breakfast (included in your fee) at our exclusive-use lakeside Dining Pavilion.  The big airy building is incredibly well equipped, with hot showers, flush toilets, power outletselectric lights - also plenty of free parkingpicnic tables and charcoal grill space.
  There are dozens of beautiful shaded campsites, and if you choose to spend one or more nights you can also sleep comfortably WITH or WITHOUT a tent or hammock in one of the "Turkey Roost" covered open-air sleeping structures (see more below).
  Camping not your thing?  Since our reserved AOC group site is so conveniently close to Atlanta, feel free to do your sleeping at home if you like. As your time permits join us during the day(s) & evening(s) all weekend for whatever activities (or "inactivities"!) that appeal to you - including our 2 provided meals, other "potluck-family-style" group meals at the pavilion, campfires, kayaking & canoeing, hiking, mtn biking, road biking, etc. Our inexpensive $25 event fee is the same regardless of whether you decide to join us as a "day tripper" or spend one or more nights with us at our group site.

"C TO THE 10TH" EVENT!  This semi-annual AOC adventure and R & R getaway can aptly be described as "C to the 10th Power."  Convenient, Close and Cost-Conscious, it includes big group Cookouts & Campfires—a quality Carside Camping and adventure experience for outdoor enthusiasts from beginner thru expert.  As mentioned above, in lieu of bringing a tent or hammock feel free to sleep in a "Covered-Camping Turkey Roost" (see more below).  We’ll have FREE Canoeing and Kayaking all weekend with the Nature Center's nice fleet of boats (+ paddles & lifejackets) in the pretty lake by our dining pavilion.  As usual we'll provide free 1-on-1 Classes in basic paddling strokes & skills for any who request it.  There are also great Cycling and Hiking opportunities, including leader-led group Mountain Bike rides and hikes on the huge network of wooded trails—so if you have a hybrid or mountain bike, consider bringing it - and don't forget your hiking shoes or boots.  For the benefit of any who may be new to any of such wilderness pursuits, we'll have experienced AOC volunteers on hand to offer free Counseling in the basic skills of Camping, Hiking, Paddling, and the lore of GA's beautiful native plants and animals.  An amazing free bonus of the Nature Center is its 15-acre “Critter Corral” a.k.a. "Wildlife Trail,"  This shady open-air zoo and its adjoining Visitor Center, Museum and Botanical Gardens display dozens of GA's native wild mammals, birds, reptiles & fish and native plants in a picturesque lakeside setting. We like to walk together from our Pavilion to this fascinating main visitor area and back during a Sat AM "Orientation HIke." You newcomers will quickly see why we Dauset "veterans" love this in-Credible place! -Your trip Leader Charlie Cottingham, a.k.a "C-square."  :-)

CAMPING FACILITIES:  There's plenty of nicely shaded level campsite space near our dining pavilion and lake, and for any who prefer more privacy it's fine to pitch your tent (or hang your hammock) in any of the many flat clearings in the adjoining forest.  If you prefer you're welcome to sleep on one of the convenient “Turkey Roost” platforms - see below.  From the big shady parking area at our group site its no more than a 2- or 3-minute walk to any of the dozens of beautiful tent or hammock sites - or to the Turkey Roosts.  Esp. if the weather happens to be unusually wet or cool, feel free to sleep inside your own vehicle or RV, as I (Charlie) often do!
“TURKEY ROOST” COVERED SLEEPING STRUCTURES:  These three open-sided roofed buildings are available to us at no extra charge and conveniently adjoin our tent sites.  Each Turkey Roost can sleep up to about six with or without tents.  Each has two "stories" of wooden decks (~12 feet wide by ~10 feet front-to-back) with stairs and surrounding safety railings.  
To sleep in a Turkey Roost without a tent simply lay your pad and sleeping bag directly on the deck and perhaps pat a little insect repellent on your face and neck as you go to bed. If you have a small- to medium-sized self-supporting dome-style tent (and there's available space) feel free to pitch it directly on one of the covered decks—no rain fly necessary!

Our lakeside Dining Pavilion conveniently adjoins the campsites and large free parking area.  With its numerous picnic tables, clean restrooms, hot water, electric outlets and  grill it is ideally equipped for preparing meals and dining - also for socializing with a friendly group such as ours.  Its excellent shelter means that we can be confident of enjoying the trip "rain-or-shine." 
  The king-size raised charcoal grill by the pavilion is ideal for group barbecuing.  Large coolers are appropriate to bring, with plenty of ice to preserve our favorite beverages and food items – the pavilion is the perfect shady place to consolidate them over the weekend. Extra bagged ice is available for purchase about 5 miles away.
  For this trip the AOC event leader(s) will provide the main ingredients and supplies for a big Saturday evening cookout meal (~6:00-7:30pm) and for a hot Sunday morning breakfast (~8:00-9:30am).
  We’ll also host optional “potluck-style” group meals at the Pavilion for our Friday dinner  (~7:30-8:30pm) Saturday breakfast (~8:00-9:30am) and Sat &Sun lunches (~12:30-1:30 all 3 days).
  For any Potluck-Style Meals that you choose to take part in:  1. First please use our " system below.  2. Then simply show up for the meal and contribute the item you chose; i.e. ingredient or two of your choice - or a small prepared dish, salad, dessert, beverage etc. (E.g., for Fri Dinner perhaps an hors d'oeuvre plate, pre-cooked covered dish, grilled item, salad, dessert item, etc.  For Sat breakfast: perhaps a dozen eggs, pound of bacon, quart of juice, fresh fruit, half-dozen bagels, etc.) – also please do your share to help with food prep, cooking & cleanup for all of our meals at the Pavilion.
  On Friday evening, for the benefit of those who arrive by about 7:30 PM, the Pavilion's charcoal grill will be lit (at about 6:30) and implements provided for those who would like to barbecue a REASONABLE-sized personal item of your own: e.g, a piece of steak, chicken breast, 2 or 3 hotdogs, couple of burgers, etc.

  "" is a free website that provides easy access to online charts of Food & Refreshment items, Dining Supplies, Cooking Gear, etc  that each person wishes to bring to share. It's incredibly easy to "click below" and enter or re-edit your own info, and I encourage each meals participant to do so ASAP for the benefit of the group. You can easily see what there may be too little of or too much of and insert or adjust your own contribution accordingly.

   Fri Group Potluck Dinner (~6:00 - 8:00 PM): If you expect to participate, please Click this Link ASAP to enter or re-edit your items(May 2020 Dinner Link will be inserted here ~2 weeks prior to Trip.)
 Sat Group Potluck Breakfast (Sat  ~7:00 - 9:00 AM)  Same easy entry/ re-editing as for above Dinner. Click this Link ASAP:                (May 2020 Bkfast Link will be inserted here ~2 weeks prior to trip.)
  Sat & Lun Lunches:
For those of us who happen to be at the campsite at midday on Sat or Sun we enjoy putting out various tasty "potluck" items in the pavilion to share, but don't bother trying to pre-plan specific Lunch contributions.  Since at times each day many of us are usually away from the campsite hiking, biking, exploring, etc. consider bringing a light daypack or fanny pack for carrying a few snack items such as fruit, a sandwich, trail mix, cookies, etc.—plus water and your smartphone, camera, etc
  The Club will provide a limited supply of napkins, paper towels, steel silverware, cooking utensils, etc. for group use at the Pavilion all weekend.  Our Club policy is to minimize the amount of disposables, so to "Be Green" please bring your own personal insulated and covered drinking mug and your own personal washable plate and bowl, plus personal knife, fork & spoon.  We’ll provide a hot-water dishwashing station, "camp suds," scrubbing pads, & towels, and will recruit a small crew to wash & dry dishes after each group meal.

"PRE-TRIP PLANNING HAPPY HOUR": ( "TBA" here after LOCATION & TIME are determined. ) Normally this optional Q&A meeting is held just prior to an AOC Social and at same location).   No problem if you need to arrive late (or can't make this drop-in Dauset gathering at all).  It's esp. recommended for you "first-timers" to address your questions about Dauset Trails and introduce you to others who are on the trip.  I'll try to arrive early to hold a couple of tables for us and will give out brochures & maps of the beautiful 1800-acre Nature Center.  We'll clarify how to drive to our remote group camping area and what gear, food & refreshments each of us may wish to bring - also firm up a schedule of exciting optional group activities (and relaxing"inactivities")!
  Click here for our AOC Social planners' article and to register (optionally) to attend the Social as an AOC Member:  (TBA)

FOR MORE about DAUSET TRAILS NATURE CENTER visit their official website at  Phone number: 770-775-6798.  Founded in 1977 and just 50 miles south of Atlanta, the 1800-acre preserve focuses on environmental education and outdoor activities for nature lovers of all ages. The park and its beautiful forested property were privately endowed by two highly esteemed local citizens, Hamp Daughtry and David Settles - hence the coined name, DAU-SET."  Its friendly hard-working staffers oversee its Visitor Center & Museum, Antique Barnyard, Botanical Gardens, Zoo and other amazing free attractions discussed above.
 For a nice color Map, which includes Dauset Trails' amazing ~25-mile network of hiking & biking trails click here:  The lakeside group camping area surrounds "Pavilion 2" and the "Chapel" by Junction "18" in the center of the map.

 An added bonus of Dauset Trails is its proximity to historic Indian Springs State Park and its quaint village - also lovely High Falls State Park is just a 5-minute drive away.  These adjoining parks offer more fabulous hiking trails + waterfalls, lakes, botanical gardens, country stores, antique shops, etc.  A beautiful lakeside hiking & mtn biking trail was opened that conveniently connects Dauset Trails with Indian Springs.  Also the trails to the waterfalls, etc. at High Falls are conveniently accessible along our driving route between Dauset Trails and Atlanta.

FOR DOZENS of COLORFUL DAUSET TRAILS PHOTOS:  Google on "Dauset Trails Photos"  and then click "More images..." below the first block of images that appears.

Thanks to Angela Nelson for the above beautiful group "beach & boats" shot taken on our May 2009 Dauset Trails trip.

Required Items to Bring:

•  Sleeping Bag (if you intend to spend 1 or more nights - or sheet & blanket)
•  Sleeping Pad & Pillow (again, if you're spending the night)
•  Clothing, Athletic Shoes & Rain Gear appropriate for weather forecast
•  Toiletries, Towel & Washcloth
•  Headlamp & extra Batteries 

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

Tent or Hammock + Rain Tarp, etc. if wet weather is forecast  (I.e., if you're spending 1 or more nights.  Or as discussed above, sleep in a roofed "Turkey Roost" structure with or without a small dome tent. We've had remarkably few biting insects on past trips!)
Large Cooler with plenty of Ice & favorite Food & Beverages* *Dauset Trails has a strict policy regarding Alcohol consumption, which we expect all AOCers to discreetly observe!
For each group "Potluck Meal" that you'd like to participate in (see above) just bring some Item or prepared Dish of your choice to contribute - also an extra Cooler with extra Ice might come in handy - the nearest store is several miles away.  Consider pre-freezing some bottles or jugs of water—use them for longer-lasting and less messy solid ice in your food cooler and you can also drink the cold water as it melts inside the plastic container.  The piped water at our dining pavilion is perfectly fine to drink and to use for cooking, cleaning, etc., but has a slightly sulfury taste when first drawn from the tap. 

Camp Stove if you have one (+ fuel canister) + Large covered Pot & Pan.
Folding Camp Chair for Pavilion Area & Campfires + Firewood, if you have some on hand and can conveniently bring!
Personal Drinking Mug, Plate, Bowl, & Knife/Fork/Spoon
• Covered plastic Food Storage Box (+ Ziploc Bags, etc.) for perishable food items.
Camera w/extra Batteries, Memory, etc.
Mountain Bike (+ Helmet) if you have one and would like to use it to explore the hiking/biking trails network surrounding our campsite area.
Fishing Rod & Tackle if you'd like to fish in the lake by our campsites.
The Nearest Stores are Several Miles Away! - So it's best to bring everything we may need for the weekend - including plenty of ice (perhaps in an extra cooler).  Our dining pavilion has hot & cold running water (safe to drink) and plenty of electric outlets & overhead lights.  We can conserve Coleman fuel, etc. by utilizing onsite electricity.  Trip leaders will bring for group use a large electric coffee percolator and hotplate - even a small microwave for heating beverages, etc.

How to Get There:
Event Directions:


IMPORTANT:  Please pay close attention to the numbered verbal Directions  below. They give the precise mileages between turns and explain the special entrance & exit procedures for reaching our remote AOC Group Site.  Don't try to rely solely on GPS!  (As an adjunct to these directions you GPS users can enter Lat/Lon 33.2321,-83.9489 as coordinates of our special AOC entrance gate discussed in detail below.)
  Our reserved AOC group site is roughly half-way between Atlanta and Macon - just 8 miles east of the I-75 "High Falls Rd" Exit.  For many Atlantans this is normally only about a 1-hour drive except during "rush hour."  For a zoomable map & satellite view of our special Camper entrance gate and its surrounding area click the rectangular blue & green "Event Location" icon near the top of this article.

1.  From the southside I-75/ I-285 Interchange (east of the Atlanta Airport) take I-75 South about 35 miles and get off at Exit #198, "High Falls Rd." (If you live on Atlanta’s east side consider this shortcut:   From I-285 Exit #52 take I-675 southward to I-75 South, then it's just 29 miles further to Exit #198 at High Falls Rd.)
2.  Turn Left onto High Falls Road (over the I-75 bridge) and go 4.6 miles to Mt. Vernon Church Road (passing through High Falls State Park en route).
3.  Turn Right onto Mt Vernon Church Rd, go 3.0 miles and look for a gravel road on on your left with a sign that says, "Dauset Trails Nature Center...Group Camping Entrance."   You GPS users may wish to enter the following Lat/Lon coordinates of this gravel entrance as your "destination address": 33.2321,-83.9489  (If you happen to overshoot this entrance, in just 0.1 mile you'll reach the main Dauset Trails paved entrance, in which case you should make a U-turn and backtrack to this proper entrance near the street address "389 Mount Vernon Road.")

4.  Turn Left off Mt. Vernon Church Road onto the gravel "Camping" entrance road discussed above, and bear leftward for about 100 yards where you’ll arrive at a steel gate. (The gate is just beyond a “check-in bulletin board” and gravel parking lot for mountain bikers & other “day-use” visitors.)  CRUCIAL DETAIL:  Drive through this gate toward our Camping Area as follows: The gate is normally "Fake-locked" with an old padlock on a chain.  Simply lift the end of the chain off the nail, open the gate, proceed through it with your vehicle, then reclose the gate just as you found it by wrapping the chain and padlock around the gatepost and re-hooking it on the nail.

5.  Then drive beyond this Camping gate about 0.8 mile northward via the gravel road to our  lakeside campers’ Dining Pavilion ("Group Pavilion #2") on your right.  There's plenty of free Parking along both sides of the gravel roadway.  (By the way, just before you reach the Pavilion area you'll pass through a second steel gate that is normally left unlocked for reserved camping groupss.  We like to leave this second gate in the OPEN all weekend.  If you arrive early and find this 2nd gate locked, feel free to ask a ranger at the nearby Nature Center Office to assist you, and you could try reaching them by phone at 770-775-6798.)
6.  When you arrive, park initially at the pavilion, and consolidate there your coolers, camp chairs, and cooking/dining gear, etc.  If other AOCers have already arrived they can assist you in choosing a campsite. The main tent camping area  is in the forest near the lake, about 100 to 200 yards to the right of the pavilion beyond the little open-air chapel.  The “Turkey Roost” camping platforms are about 50 yards beyond this tent camping area, via the same forested trail.

Important information for paid events in which payment is managed through the AOC:

     - Payment must be received by the payment due date and prior to participation in the event.

     - Some paid events require a minimum number of registered participants. If that number is not met, the event will be canceled and refunds will be issued to those who have already paid.

     - Third-party vendors often require damage deposits. Each registrant agrees to be liable for and required to reimburse the Atlanta Outdoor Club for any withheld deposits due to the actions of or damages caused by that registrant.

     - No partial payments. All registrants must pay the posted Member Cost regardless of any agreement you may have with any party involved in the event.

     - Read the event description carefully for additional information, and contact the trip leader(s) with any questions.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cost & Payment:
Member Cost:$25.00/Person
Cost Includes:

• Weekend-long optional Camping in shady tent or hammock sites or in "Turkey Roost" open-sided roofed structures.
     (Sleep at home if you prefer.  The huge lakeside group campsite is reserved exclusively for AOC.)
• Large lakeside group Dining Pavilion with clean Restrooms, Hot Showers, Flush Toilets,
      + potable hot & cold Water, electric Outlets and adjoining free Parking,
• Saturday evening Cookout & Dinner Party (All weekend a Dishwashing Station and
      limited Disposables & Utensils are provided at the Pavilion.),
• Sunday morning Hot Group Breakfast (+ hot brewed Coffee for group both mornings),
• Use of Kayak & Canoe fleet (+ paddles & lifejackets) exclusively by our group, all weekend in lake beside our pavilion, 
• Use of ~20 miles of Hiking & Mountain Biking Trails + amazing free Zoo, Botanical Gardens, 1920's-era Farm and
      much more!  (+ optional guided AOC hikes, etc. to enjoy the trails & attractions together.)
• 'Round-the-Campfire Fun & Fellowship + dark-sky stargazing - both nights, weather permitting.

Payment Cut Off:Payment must be received by the AOC on Fri, Apr 24 2020.
Make a Payment:Click here for the details. PLEASE PAY AFTER YOU HAVE SIGNED UP BELOW.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.

It is your responsibility to get your event payment in on time to our AOC Treasurer, by 4:00 PM on Fri April 24th.  Please allow at least two days for processing a PayPal or Electronic Funds Transfer transaction.  Cash and mailed checks are not permitted.  If you pay by check it must be hand carried to an AOC Officer or Treasurer by the payment deadline.

CANCELLATION POLICY:  If you cancel on or before April 24, full payment will be refunded less a $3 administrative fee to cover processing of the payment and refund. No refund for cancellation after April 24 unless another AOC member replaces you and pays in full, and then you may request a refund less the $3 fee.  No partial payment for partial attendance will be accepted or returned.  This is considered a "Rain-or-Shine" AOC Event, esp. since we have such excellent shelter in Dauset Trails' spacious dining pavilion and "turkey roost" structures - also since we have quick access to our vehicles. 


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