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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.

15th Annual Dauset Trails Fall Camping, Hiking and R&R Retreat w/free use of Kayaks, Canoes and 20+ miles of Trails

The Basics:
Event Type:Multi-Sport
Event Location: ~50 miles south of Atlanta, near I-75 Exit #198.   Multi-Sport: 15th Annual Dauset Trails Fall Camping, Hiking and R&R Retreat w/free use of Kayaks, Canoes and 20+ miles of Trails  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Fri, Sep 29 2023  7:00 pm >> Sun, Oct 1 2023 3:00 pm
Registration Opens: Fri, Aug 4 2023 9:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Fri, Sep 15 2023 4:00 pm
Event Duration:All Weekend! Come & go as you please, from midday Fri thru ~3pm Sunday.
Difficulty Rating:D2: Easy to Moderate
Distance:0.2 Miles
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:25
Minimum Group Size:15
Number Registered So Far: 21 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


IN a NUTSHELL:  Ask any of the hundreds of AOCers who've enjoyed this multi-sport  adventure trip with us over the years.  It's always a blast!   As usual we'll have exclusive reserved use of Dauset Trails' lakeside group campsite & spacious dining pavilion with restrooms, hot showers, electric power and its panoramic view of the lake.  You're welcome to arrive, depart & return at your convenience from midday Friday thru Sunday afternoon - see detailed Directions below.  Included at no extra charge are many amazing extras:  Use of Dauset Trails' fleet of kayaks & canoes (+ paddles & PFDs, on the lake by our campsite).  Also easy access to miles of scenic biking & hiking Trails - where we can enjoy group hikes and explore the Nature Center's wonderful free Zoo!  If you prefer, feel free at any time just to "chillax" by the lake - the perfect place for rest & relaxation.  Camping not your thing?  Since our site is so conveniently close to Atlanta, feel free to do your sleeping at home and as your time permits join our friendly group for whatever appeals most to you.  See more below about our "potluck-family-style" group meals and other weekend extras & options!  Our miniscule $25 event fee is the same regardless of whether you prefer being a "day tripper" or spending either or both nights with us at the group site.

"C TO THE 10TH" EVENT!  This semiannual AOC adventure and R & R getaway can aptly be described as "C to the 10th Power."  Conveniently close to Atlanta and cost-conscious, this quality carside camping & adventure experience includes group hikes, cookouts & campfires and even optional "Turkey Roost" covered camping - see details below).  We’ll enjoy FREE canoeing & kayaking all weekend, using our group site's fleet of boats (+ paddles & lifejackets).  For the benefit of newcomers, 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.  Another amazing free bonus of the trip is the Nature Center's famous 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.  On each trip we offer a guided ~2-hour Saturday Orientation Hike from our campsite (~10:00am - 12:30pm) to enjoy all that and more!  You newcomers will quickly see why we Dauset "veterans" love this In-Credible place!

MORE about CAMPING and optional "Covered-Camping" in our TURKEY ROOSTS:  There's plenty of level shady campsite space around 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 clearings in the surrounding forest.   From our group site parking area it's just a 2- or 3- minute walk to any of the dozens of beautiful tent or hammock sites.  Esp. if the weather happens to be unusually wet or cool, feel free to sleep inside your own vehicle or compact RV, as I (Charlie) often do!  The three open-sided roofed Turkey Roosts are available at no extra charge and adjoin our lakeside tent sites.  Each can sleep up to about six and has two "stories" of wooden decks (each deck ~12 feet wide x ~10 feet front-to-back) with stairs and surrounding safety railings.  To sleep in one 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 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, and a good idea esp. if showers are likely!

GROUP MEALS OVERVIEW:  Our spacious lakeside Dining Pavilion conveniently adjoins the group campsite's large free parking area.  It's well-equipped for preparing & serving family-style group meals - also ideal for getting together to socialize, play games, etc. and the overhanging roof helps assure that we always enjoy the trip "rain-or-shine."  There are 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 AOC 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 recruit small crews to wash & dry dishes after each group meal.

GROUP MEALS DETAILS for all who'd like to participate:
These have been lots of fun in the past and everyone is encouraged to participate!  For either of these 2 meals, if you'd like to participate just bring 5 or 6 servings of a single food or beverage item to share - 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 to use interactive online forms to enter what Food & Refreshment items, Dining Supplies, Cooking Gear, etc we each would like to bring to share.  We encourage everyone to do so ASAP for the benefit of the group.  Each of us 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 (~Sep 15th or later) and take a few minutes to enter what items & gear you'd like to bring - then simply show up for the meal and prepare/ serve your items.  The forms list the various categories of items and examples of appropriate quantities, etc.
- Friday Evening Group DINNER     (~7:00 - 8:00 PM): s.php?t=RBAF4664&v=76311feca0
- Saturday AM Group BREAKFAST (~7:30 - 9:30 AM): t=VZWB5030&v=76311feca0

- Sat & Lun informal Lunches : For those who wish to join us around midday at the shady dining pavilion we enjoy putting out various tasty "potluck" items to share, but don't bother trying to plan specific contributions.  If you expect to be away from the site 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.

CLUB-PROVIDED MEALS SAT EVENING & SUN AM: 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 items that remain from our previous potluck-style meals are also appreciated to add to the variety!

MORE about DAUSET TRAILS NATURE CENTER: Check out their excellent website:  Their Visitor Center Phone Number is  770-775-6798.  Founded in 1977 and just 50 miles south of Atlanta, the ~2000-acre preserve focuses on environmental education and outdoor activities for nature lovers of all ages. Most of the beautiful property and initial funding for the Nature Center's long-term management were privately endowed by two highly esteemed local citizens, Hamp Daughtry and David Settle - hence the coined name, Dau-set."  Friendly hard-working staffers managed by the "Daughtry Foundation" do a wonderful job overseeing the Visitor Center & Museum, Antique Barnyard, Botanical Gardens, Zoo and other free attractions discussed above. For a set of handy color Maps, including the  ~30-mile network of  hiking & biking trails click here: 2/  Our lakeside group camping area surrounds "Pavilion 2" which adjoins Junction #18 in the center of the linked Bike & Hike map.
  An big plus of Dauset Trails is that it adjoins historic Indian Springs State Park and also lovely High Falls State Park.  Like Dauset Trails these "sister parks" also boast fabulous hiking trails, forests and lakes  - plus waterfalls, botanical gardens, & nearby country stores, ice cream shops, etc.  Click here for the Indian Springs State Park map: https://gastateparks.or g/sites/default/files/parks/pdf/trailmaps/IndianSprings_Map2 019.pdf

FOR hundreds of colorful DAUSET TRAILS PHOTOS:
  Google on "Dauset Trails Photos" 
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  (or Sheet & Blanket, if you sleep at campsite either or both nights)
•  Sleeping Pad & Pillow (also, if spending either or both nights)
•  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 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/ SmartPhone w/extra Batteries, memory, card, etc.
Mountain Bike (+Helmet) if you'd like to explore by bicycle Dauset Trails' amazing trails network.
Fishing Rod & Tackle if you'd like to fish in our "private lake" (no license required for registered campers).
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 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 groups.  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:

Our $25 Event Fee covers:

• Weekend-long optional Camping in shady tent or hammock sites and in "Turkey Roost" open-sided roofed structures.  Sleep at home if you prefer, since our group campsite is just ~50 mi. from Atlanta.  We have exclusive use of the entire beautiful site.  Feel free to arrive & depart as you wish all weekend. 
• Spacious lakeside group Dining Pavilion with clean Restrooms,  Hot Showers, Flush Toilets,
   + potable hot & cold running Water,  electric Outlets and adjoining free Parking,
• Saturday evening Cookout & Dinner Party (A convenient Dishwashing Station and limited Disposables
   & Utensils will be provided at the Pavilion all weekend.)
• Sunday AM Hot Group Breakfast (+ hot brewed Coffee for group both mornings),
• Exclusive use of fleet of Kayaks & Canoes (~15 of various styles + paddles & lifejackets) in pretty lake at our group site.

• Free enjoyment of ~20 miles of Hiking & Mountain Biking Trails + amazing Zoo, Botanical Gardens,1920's-era Farm,
and more - including optional guided AOC hikes, etc. for enjoying 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 15 2023.
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.   Please allow at least two days for processing a PayPal (preferred) or Electronic Funds Transfer transaction.  If you pay by check it should ideally be hand-carried to an AOC Officer or Treasurer by the payment deadline.  Paying via a mailed check should pre-approved by the AOC Treasurer.

CANCELLATION POLICY:   If you cancel on or before Sep 15th, full payment will be refunded less a $3 administrative fee to cover processing of the payment and refund. No refund for cancellation after Sep 15th 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.