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Sunny Afternoon Hike at Mason Mill Park & adjoining Emory & Medlock Trails

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: NE metro Atlanta near I-85 Clairmont exit & VA Hospital   Hike: Sunny Afternoon Hike at Mason Mill Park & adjoining Emory & Medlock Trails  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Thu, Mar 3 2022  1:00 pm >> Thu, Mar 3 2022 3:30 pm
Registration Opens: Mon, Feb 28 2022 10:00 am
Registration Cut Off: Thu, Mar 3 2022 11:30 am
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:   Hope you can join us for this adventurous afternoon hike!  Ideal weather is expected - in the mid-70s with lots of sunshine & no chance of rain.   We'll explore about 6 miles of the vast network of shady trails & boardwalks at DeKalb County's Mason Mill Park, Medlock Park and the interconnecting Lullwater Preserve parklands at Emory University.
  We'll gather a few minutes before 1:00 PM in the free parking lot just inside the Mason Mill Park entrance (by the stone restroom building) and expect to be back there at the cars by 3:30.  See detailed Directions & GPS info below.  As on similar hikes since the pandemic began it should be easy to follow the CDC's latest guidelines regarding safe social distancing, etc. while outdoors.
  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 & lakes.   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.  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.  From almost anywhere in the terrain 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 and in your registration notes please mention his/her name & breed, etc.

OPTIONAL EXTRA INFO about the PARKS, TRAILS etc:  The hundreds of acres of beautifully wooded parklands at Mason Mill, Medlock and Emory conveniently interconnect with one another.  The "PATH" 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 high design & construction standards.  In about the year 2000 the PATH Foundation built the original mile of paved trail & boardwalk between Mason Mill and Medlock Parks and in the years since have invested additional millions to build a 3/4-mile "double-wide" spur through Mason Mill Park to North Druid Hills Rd and a newer convenient spur to Emory University underneath Clairmont Rd.  Emory's awesome Lullwater Preserve trail network features a wide variety of lakeside & creekside trails, an exciting suspension footbridge (above photo), and the historic grounds of the Emory president's mansion, built in 1925.  Crossing the RR track at Mason Mill is a high wooden deck of the main PATH Trail that overlooks the old "Decatur Waterworks" ruins and has become a favorite dark spot for urban "skygazing" - i.e, viewing sunsets, moonrises, the stars & planets, eclipses, meteor showers, comets, etc.  Just across the creek below the high deck is Ira Melton Park, with a convenient set of massive flat stepping stones that allow hikers easy access to its trails at normal water levels.  Another fun option is to walk eastward beyond Medlock Park a few blocks to lovely Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve and enjoy its trails, including a ~mile-long "bird-habitat & wetlands loop" that one of the Audubon Society's favorites for birding field trips.


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:

DIRECTIONS to our GATHERING SPOT in the MASON MILL PARKING LOT,  just inside the main Park Entrance by the stone Restroom Building & Playground:

The street address of the Park office building adjoining our gathering spot is 1340 McConnell Drive, Decatur, GA. (For a zoomable color MAP and satellite view click the square blue & green "Event Location" icon near the top of this article.) 

ROUTE to our Gathering Spot from the I-85 CLAIRMONT ROAD EXIT in NE METRO ATLANTA:

1. From this I-85 Exit (#91) take Clairmont Rd southeastward (toward Decatur) about 2.3 miles to the traffic light at McConnell Drive.  (This is the next light south of the much busier Clairmont/ North Druid Hills traffic light, and is a half mile north of the huge VA Medical Center.)
2. Turn Left onto McConnell Drive and go just 0.1 mile to the stop sign.
3. Turn Right to stay on McConnell and continue
 another 0.1 mile to the "Mason Mill Park" entrance sign.
4. Turn Left at the entrance sign and park your vehicle just ahead on your right in the large free lot.  We'll gather there by the stone Restroom building and playground.  In the unlikely event that parking spaces are scarce, the nearby public library at the above right turn has plenty of free parking - just a 3- or 4-minute walk away.

* 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.