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Decatur Area Inter-Park Hike at Mason Mill, Medlock & Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: NE metro Atlanta near I-85 Clairmont exit & VA Hospital   Hike: Decatur Area Inter-Park Hike at Mason Mill, Medlock & Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Fri, Dec 11 2020  1:00 pm >> Fri, Dec 11 2020 3:30 pm
Registration Opens: Wed, Dec 9 2020 9:00 am
Registration Cut Off: Fri, Dec 11 2020 12:00 pm
Event Duration:2 Hours 30 Minutes
Difficulty Rating:D2: Easy to Moderate
Distance:6 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


EVENT PLAN:   Ideal hiking weather is expected in Atlanta this Friday afternoon - in the 60s with lots of sunshine and virtually no chance of rain.  Hope you can join us for this moderately paced 2-1/2-hour hike.  We'll first explore the network of shady trails that connect DeKalb County's Mason Mill Park and Medlock Park - then hike beyond Medlock a half mile eastward tor a circuit of the wetlands boardwalks & trails at Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve (see map above), We'll return to our cars at Mason Mill via a slightly more adventurous route.
  We'll gather a few minutes before 1:00 PM in Mason Mill Park's free parking lot, just inside the park entrance by the stone restroom building.  See Directions & GPS info below(NOTE:  The restrooms have normally been been kept locked since the pandemic began, 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.)
  Our total hike distance will be about 6 miles, with only about 300 feet of total elevation gains along the way.  We'll take a moderate paceslowing down a bit on the few steep spots and pausing occasionally to take photos and discuss the native wild flora & fauna.  We expect to be back at the cars by 3:30.  If you need to "split" early from the group for any reason, that's OK, but please let me know if and when you choose to do so.  It should be easy to direct you back toward your car at Mason Mill.
  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:  The hundreds of beautifully forested acres at DeKalb County's Mason Mill Park, Medlock Park and other adjoining nature preserves conveniently interconnect with one another via a huge network of trails.  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 was built to PATH's excellent design & construction standards.  In the ~15 years since PATH built the original mile of "double-wide" trail & boardwalk between Mason Mill & Medlock the foundation has invested additional millions to create and maintain a beautiful 3/4-mile spur from Mason Mill to North Druid Hills Rd and another 1/2-mile spur to Emory University underneath Clairmont Rd, allowing easy access to the awesome Lullwater Preserve trail network.  At Mason Mill a high wooden deck overlooking the historic "Decatur Waterworks" ruins by the RR track has proven to be a favorite dark spot for urban "skygazing" - i.e, viewing the stars & planets, sunsets, moonrises, eclipses, meteor showers, comets, etc.  Just across the creek below that deck is Ira Melton Park, with a convenient set of massive flat stepping stones allowing hikers easy access to its trails at normal water levels.  Another option is to walk a few blocks eastward from Medlock Park to Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve (mapped above) and enjoy its mile-long outer loop and other trails & boardwalks that surround its central beaver pond and birdwatching area.

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:

AOC Covid-19 Participant Limit:  
 Our Club currently limits the number of members on each outing to TEN and strives to observe the CDC's outdoor guidelines regarding safe social distancing, wearing of masks, etc.   In due time we look forward to being able to restore our normal pre-pandemic practices for events of various types.

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's needed to safely pass other park visitors, etc

• 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 or rocky.  A simple shoulder-high Hiking Stick (or single Trekking Pole) is a good alternative.

How to Get There:
Event Directions:


As your Destination address
you can enter the following Lat/Lon
 in lieu of a specific street addressbeing sure to include the comma and minus sign:  33.8080, -84.3066  (For a zoomable color MAP or satellite view of this spot and its vicinity you can click the square blue & green "Event Location" icon 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 taken Clairmont a few 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 the large free lot.  We'll gather by the stone Restroom building just inside the Park entrance.   (NOTE: DeKalb's Park restrooms have normally been kept locked due to "Covid.")  In the unlikely event that you can't find a parking space, there's always plenty of nearby free parking at the nearby Library mentioned above.

* 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.