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Mason Mill Park & Emory Lullwater Preserve: Peak Fall Foliage via exciting Trails & Boardwalks

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: NE Atlanta near I-85 Clairmont exit & VA Hospital   Hike: Mason Mill Park & Emory Lullwater Preserve:  Peak Fall Foliage via exciting Trails & Boardwalks  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Nov 14 2020  2:00 pm >> Sat, Nov 14 2020 4:30 pm
Registration Opens: Fri, Nov 13 2020 7:00 am
Registration Cut Off: Sat, Nov 14 2020 12:00 pm
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: 9 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: Yes


EVENT PLAN:  The reds, yellows & oranges of fall are close to "peak" here in the forested parklands of NE Atlanta.  Hope you can join us Saturday afternoon for an adventurous but only moderately paced 2-hour hike.  We'll explore about 5 miles of the shady trails & boardwalks that connect  Mason Mill Park with Emory University's Lullwater Preserve.  Ideal hiking weather is expected - about 70 degrees with a clear blue sky and low humidity.
  We'll gather a few minutes before 2:00 PM in the free parking lot just inside the Mason Mill Park entrance beside the stone restroom building and expect to be back at the cars by 4:30.  See detailed Directions & GPS info below(NOTE:  During the months since the pandemic began the park restrooms have normally been been locked, so please take this into account before you arrive.  On similar recent hikes we've found it easy to observe the CDC's Covid-19 guidelines regarding safe social distancing, etc.)
  We'll enjoy portions of popular multi-million-dollar "PATH Foundation" paved trails and raised forest-canopy boardwalks - also explore a few ruggedly scenic narrow trails that wind around the creeks and lakes.  Along the way we'll visit several "hidden gems" including the Emory president's mansion waterfall (see photo above) and its adjoining ~100-year-old stone "hydropower tower" via a suspension foot bridge over Peachtree Creek.  We'll take a moderate pace, slowing down a bit on the few steep spots and pausing occasionally to take photos and discuss the native wild flora & fauna.  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.

OPTIONAL EXTRA INFO about the PARKS, TRAILS etc:  DeKalb County's Mason Mill Park and Emory's Lullwater Preserve now conveniently connect with one another and there's even a "PATH pedestrian underpass" under Clairmont Road that makes it easy and safe to hike between the two.  The PATH Foundation's South Peachtree Creek Trail (see interactive map link below) is the main artery through this "multi-park" region, and like the Silver Comet Trail it was built to their high design & construction standards.  In the years since PATH's construction of the original mile of "double-wide" trail between Mason Mill Park and Medlock Park (in about 2005) the foundation has raised and invested additional millions of dollars to create and maintain another 3/4-mile-long spur trail & boardwalk from Mason Mill to North Druid Hills Rd and another beautiful 1/4-mile spur from Mason Mill underneath Clairmont Rd, allowing easy access to Emory's trails.  A high wooden deck overlooking the historic "Decatur Waterworks" ruins and RR track has proven to be a handy 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 easy optional access to the ~1-mile network of "Ira Melton Park" trails unless the creek water is too high.  Although we don't have time to include it this time, another fun option (that we sometimes add for hikes in this area 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 ~1-mile "wetlands bird-habitat loop" there before heading back to our Mason Mill Park meetup spot.

AOC Covid-19 Participant Limit:  In the interest of following public health guidelines, our Club limits the number of participants on each outing to TEN.   In due time we look forward to being able to restore our normal pre-pandemic limits for 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 Park, Medlock Park, Lullwater Preserve and other DeKalb County green space:

Required Items to Bring:

• Wear comfortable well-broken-in Athletic Shoes or Hiking Boots and Lightweight Clothing appropriate for the weather.  Also please carry your own COVID Mask and either:  A) Wear it during the entire event, or  B) Be prepared to put it on in case it becomes difficult to stay at least ~6 feet from other park visitors.

• Hydrate in advance and carry in your Daypack or Fanny Pack a filled Water Bottle or a "Camelbak" type 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 a Snack or two in your fanny pack or daypack.  We can enjoy these at scenic stops along the way and share any extras.

- If you have Trekking Poles consider using them to improve stability and give your upper body a workout along with your legs & knees.  A few spots along our route will be a bit steep.  A simple shoulder-high Hiking Stick (or a single Trekking Pole) is a good alternative

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 near the entranceway to DeKalb County's Avis Williams Library.)

3. Then turn Left almost immediately at the
 "Mason Mill Park" entrance sign and park in its large free lot.  We'll gather by the stone Restroom building near the entrance (adjoining the children's playground.  In the unlikely event that you can't find a parking space, there's always plenty of free parking at the nearby Library mentioned above.) 

GPS and GOOGLE MAPS USERS:  In lieu of a numerical street address for our gathering spot in the Park you can enter the following Lat/Lon as your 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.