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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.

13th Annual Dauset Trails Fall Camping and R&R Retreat: Free Kayaking & Canoeing + miles of Hiking & Biking Trails including exciting New Ones!

The Basics:
Event Type:Multi-Sport
Event Location: ~50 miles south of Atlanta, just east of I-75 Exit 198   Multi-Sport: 13th Annual Dauset Trails Fall Camping and R&R Retreat: Free Kayaking & Canoeing + miles of Hiking & Biking Trails including exciting New Ones!  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Fri, Oct 1 2021  7:00 pm >> Sun, Oct 3 2021 3:00 pm
Registration Opens: Thu, Jul 22 2021 9:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Fri, Sep 17 2021 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:20
Minimum Group Size:15
Number Registered So Far: 27 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


Important COVID Note!   For this event the AOC will require that every participant be fully Covid-vaccinated (by 2 wks prior to the trip) esp. since we expect to be in close proximity with one another and with other park visitors.  Thankfully Dauset Trails Nature Center is again welcoming group campsite reservations by eco-friendly groups such as ours who respect the CDC's guidelines.  (Until recently, due to the pandemic, camping had been suspended at the gorgeous ~2000-acre nature preserve.)

Trip Weather Update as of Fri Oct 1st:
  The forecast still looks great!  Clear to partly cloudy skies are still expected all weekend, with little or no chance of rain from Fri thru Sunday, and with highs each afternoon in the low 80s and lows each night in the mid-60s.  Also no strong winds over ~10 mph are likely.

IN a NUTSHELL:  Ask any of the hundreds of AOCers who have enjoyed this trip with us in the past at this incredible 1800-acre forested nature preserve.  It's a blast!  Again this fall we have exclusive reserved use of Dauset Trails' nice lakeside group campsite with its spacious dining pavilion and surrounding recreation area for the entire 3-day 2-night weekend. The nature center & forest-wildlife preserve is an easy drive from Atlanta, ~50 miles south 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 $25 event fee are a wide variety of extras!  unlimited use of Dauset Trails' fleet of Kayaks & Canoes (+ paddles & PFDs), miles of scenic Biking & Hiking Trails, nightly Campfires and scheduled guided Hikes.  We're excited about exploring, for the first time, some of the newly accessible trails of the scenic "The Creek Recreational Area" - just north of the Nature Center's traditional trail network. It will allow us to do a convenient ~8-mile loop from our campsite to Indian Springs State Park and back, by first hiking (or biking) north across "Sandy Creek" via a nice new footbridge!   If you prefer you're also welcome to explore the amazing attractions and trails on your own, or just "chillax" by the lake at our lovely group site - the perfect place for outdoor rest & relaxation.
  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 our free "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 our dining pavilion, campfires, kayaking & canoeing, hiking, mtn biking, road biking, etc. Our inexpensive $25 event fee is the same regardless of whether you prefer being a "day tripper" or spending one or more nights with us at the 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 to Atlanta 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 one of our "Covered-Camping"  Turkey Roost (see detailsbelow).  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 & Hiking opportunities on the huge network of wooded trails—so don't forget your hiking shoes or boots and if you have a hybrid or mountain bike, consider bringing it!  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, Cycling, 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 with its adjoining lakeside Visitor Center, Museum & Botanical Garden display dozens of GA's native wild mammals, birds, reptiles & fish and native plants in a picturesque setting, and on each trip we offer a ~2-hour Saturday AM Orientation Hike from our campsite & back to enjoy all that.  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 it's 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 of us, 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 it's rainy and 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 spacious lakeside Dining Pavilion conveniently adjoins the group campsite's large free parking area.  The building is well-equipped for preparing & serving family-style group meals - also ideal for getting together to socialize, play games, etc.  Its excellent shelter helps assure that we can enjoy the trip "rain-or-shine." It has eight large picnic tables, clean restrooms, safe running water, hot showers, and electric lights & outlets.  The king-sized raised charcoal grill is ideal for roasting burgers, brats, steak, fish, chicken, foil-wrapped items, etc.  It's appropriate to bring our own food & beverage coolers with plenty of ice, and the roof-shaded perimeter of the pavilion is a convenient place to consolidate them over the weekend along with our other meals-related things.  Extra bagged ice is usually available for purchase about a 5-mile drive away.  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.

These have been lots of fun in the past and everyone is encouraged to participate!  If you choose to do so just bring 5 or 6 servings of a single food or drink item - ideally something you personally enjoy and can easily prepare & serve.  On Friday evening, for the benefit of those who arrive by about 7:30 PM, the Pavilion's charcoal grill will be lit (by about 6:30) and implements provided.  If you'd like to use it please plan to grill just a few servings to help assure adequate space for everyone.
"" is a free website that makes it easy for each of us to use the online forms linked below to enter what Food & Refreshment items, Dining Supplies, Cooking Gear, etc we'd like to bring to share.  We encourage everyone to do so ASAP for the benefit of the group.  We can easily see what there may be too little of or too much of and re-edit the form to adjust our own planned contributions accordingly.  Please ASAP click, etc. below to let us know what items & gear you'd like to bring - then simply show up for the meal and prepare/ serve your items.  Note the suggested categories and examples of appropriate quantities. etc.
- Friday Evening Group Potluck Dinner  (~7:00 - 8:00 PM):
- Saturday AM Group Potluck Breakfast (~7:30 - 9:30 AM):

Sat & Lun informal 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 we don't bother pre-planning specific Lunch contributions.  If you expect to be away from the campsite hiking, biking, exploring, etc. consider carrying a light daypack or fanny pack with  a few snack items such as fruit, a sandwich, trail mix, cookies, etc.—plus water, smartphone, camera, etc.

 For this trip the AOC event leader(s) will provide the main ingredients and supplies for a big Saturday evening cookout meal (~6:00-8:00pm) and for a hot Sunday morning breakfast (~7:30-9:30am).  Tasty leftovers from our previous potluck-style meals are also appreciated to add to the variety!

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 an amazing set of nice color Maps, including the  ~30-mile network of hiking & biking trails click here:  Our lakeside group camping area surrounds "Pavilion 2" and the "Chapel" by Junction "18" in the center of the "Bike & Hike" map.
  An added bonus of Dauset Trails is that it directly adjoins historic Indian Springs State Park - also is just a 10-minute drive from lovely High Falls State Park.  These sister parks boast fabulous hiking trails, huge lakes, waterfalls, botanical gardens, country stores, ice cream shops, and much more.  Click here for the Indian Springs State Park map:

  Google on "Dauset Trails Photos"v
and then click "View all" 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*   (Please be aware that Dauset Trails' policy that consumption of alcohol while on the park property is officially prohibited.)
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 canisters) + 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/ ZSmartPone w/extra Batteries, memory, card, 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 Kayaks & Canoes (about 15 boats of various styles + paddles & lifejackets) - exclusively all weekend for our reserved group, in lake by our camping area, 
• 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, Sep 17 2021.
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 Sep 17th.  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 Sep 17, full payment will be refunded less a $3 administrative fee to cover processing of the payment and refund. No refund for cancellation after Sep 17 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.