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Mason Mill Park: An exciting variety of Shady Trails & Forest Canopy Boardwalks celebrating the Summer Solstice

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: NE Atlanta near Clairmont Rd & I-85   Hike: Mason Mill Park: An exciting variety of Shady Trails & Forest Canopy Boardwalks celebrating the Summer Solstice  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Jun 20 2020  8:30 am >> Sat, Jun 20 2020 11:00 am
Registration Opens: Thu, Jun 18 2020 10:00 am
Registration Cut Off: Sat, Jun 20 2020 7:30 am
Event Duration:2 Hours 30 Minutes
Difficulty Rating:D2: Easy to Moderate
Distance:5 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Charlie Cottingham
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:10
Minimum Group Size:2
Number Registered So Far: 10 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: Yes


NOTE about Possible AOC Registration Software Glitch:  If our AOC software accidentally allows more hikers to be confirmed than our max limit of 10, those over the limit will be moved to the top of our wait list in the order of their recorded registration times.

EVENT PLAN:  Hope you can join us Saturday morning for this adventurous 2-1/2 hour "COVID-distancing" hike via the amazing network of shady  trails & boardwalks that interconnect Mason Mill Park and its adjoining "sister parks" (Medlock Park, Ira Melton Park and Emory's Lullwater Preserve) here in NE Atlanta. We'll gather a few minutes before 8:30 AM (corrected time) just inside the Mason Mill Park entrance, in its free parking lot (by the stone restroom building and kids' playground). See detailed Directions & GPS info below.  Beautiful blue-sky weather is expected - about 70 degrees when we begin and warming only to about 80 when we arrive back at our cars at about 11:00 AM.
  Coincidentally, today we celebrate the annual Summer Solstice! (officially at 5:43 PM) when the Northern Hemisphere leans most steeply toward the sun and gives us the max hours of daylight in the year.
  Along the way we'll enjoy portions of popular "PATH Foundation" trails and raised boardwalks.  Branching from these are several miles of ruggedly scenic narrower trails, many which we'll also explore and which wind around loops of the creeks and traverse scenic ridges.  An impressive section of the main PATH Trail traverses the railroad track via a 3-story-wooden deck and walkway.  Here hikers and bikers are treated to aerial views of the restored ruins of the historic Decatur Waterworks. 
  We'll take a moderate pace, pausing occasionally to enjoy the native wild flora & fauna and other interesting scenery.  Our total distance is expected to be about 5 miles with just a few steep spots.  If you need to "split" early from the group for any reason, that's OK, but please be sure to let me know if and when you do so.  It should be easy to direct you back to the parking lot from almost anywhere in the terrain.
  Bring your well-behaved dog if you like, but please make sure that he or she is leashed and under your control at all times.

ABOUT the PARKS, TRAILS and HIKING OPTIONS:  The four pretty parks mentioned above are located just east of Clairmont Road near Emory University and the VA Hospital.  They conveniently interconnect with one another via a ~10-mile network of shady single-track dirt trails, paved trails, and raised boardwalks.  There's even a tunnel under Clairmont Road that makes it easy and safe to hike between Mason Mill Park and Emory's Lullwater Preserve..  The South Peachtree Creek Trail is the main artery through this corridor, and like the Silver Comet Trail was built to the high standards of Atlanta's "PATH Foundation."  Since PATH's original construction (in about 2005) of  the trail's first mile of paved trail & boardwalk between Mason Mill Park and Medlock Park, additional millions of dollars have been invested to construct and maintain another 3/4-mile-long spur trail/boardwalk from Mason Mill to North Druid Hills Rd and another beautiful half-mile spur to Clairmont Rd, allowing easy access to Emory's trails.  A high wooden deck where the main trail crosses the RR track at the historic "Decatur Waterworks" has proven to be a good dark spot for urban "skygazing" - i.e, viewing the stars & planets, sunsets, moonrises, eclipses, meteor showers, comets, etc.  In the creek below the Waterworks' high deck is a convenient set of massive flat stepping stones, allowing hikers to access the  Ira Melton Park trails.

 p.s. Although we won't have time to include it this time, another nice option (that we sometimes add for Mason Mill -based hikes of 3 hours or more) is to walk a few blocks further eastward beyond Medlock Park (via residential streets) to lovely Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve and do at least a short "wetlands" loop there before heading back to our Mason Mill Park meetup spot.
  We regret that in the interest of Covid-distancing, it is necessary for the time being to strictly limit the number of participants on AOC hikes to no more than ten.  We hope in the near future to be able to restore our previous group size limits for Club events of various types.

CLICK THIS LINK for an INTERACTIVE  MAP of the SOUTH PEACHTREE CREEK "PATH" TRAIL and how its main and spur trails interconnect Mason Mill Parkl, Medlock Park, Emory's Lullwater Preserve and other DeKalb County-owned green space:

Required Items to Bring:

• Wear comfortable well-broken-in Athletic Shoes or Hiking Boots and Lightweight Clothing appropriate for the weather.  Also if you have a "COVID Mask" please carry it with you and be prepared to wear it in case situations arise when we need to be in close proximity with one another or with others. 

• Hydrate in advance and carry in your Daypack or Fanny Pack a filled Water Bottle or your "Camelbak" or other hydration system.

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

- Don't forget your Camera or SmartPhone!  We expect to have lots of nice Photo-Ops.

- Consider bringing some lightweight Snacks or Picnic Items in your fanny pack or daypack.  We can enjoy these at a couple of scenic stops along the way and share any extras.

- If you have Trekking Poles, consider bringing and using them - a few spots along our route may be a bit steep.  A simple shoulder-high Hiking Stick works about as well to improve stability and to transfer propulsion to your upper body from your legs and knees.

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

FROM the I-85 CLAIRMONT ROAD EXIT in NE METRO ATLANTA to our MASON MILL PARK Gathering Spot:   (For a zoomable color MAP and satellite view of this spot and its vicinity click on the square blue & green "Event Location" near the top of this article.)

1. From the I-85 "Clairmont Road" Exit (Exit #91) in NE Atlanta take Clairmont Rd southward (toward Decatur) about 2.3 miles to the traffic light at McConnell Drive.  (This is the next light south of the big Clairmont/ North Druid Hills intersection.  If you reach the huge VA Hospital you've gone a couple of blocks too far!)

2. Turn Left onto McConnell Drive, go just 0.1 mile, and turn Right at the stop sign to stay on McConnell. 
(Note the small "Mason Mill" directional sign here.)

3. Then turn Left almost immediately at the
 "Mason Mill Park" entrance sign into the large free parking lot.  We'll gather by the stone Restroom building near that main entrance adjoining the children's playground.

LAT/LON COORDINATES of the Mason Mill Park spot where we'll gather: (You GPS or users may wish to augment my above verbal directions by entering these map coordinates as your GPS Destination Address, being sure to include the comma and minus sign.)

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

Cost Includes:

Free Event with Free Parking!

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