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Map & Compass Orienteering Hike at Powers Island in NW Atlanta

The Basics:
Event Type:Adventure
Event Location: Powers Island CRNRA Parking Lot, I-285 Access Rd by the
Date(s) & Time:Sun, Jan 30 2011  9:45 am >> N/A
Registration Opens: Sun, Jan 23 2011 10:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Sat, Jan 29 2011 10:00 pm
Event Duration:About 3 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D2: Easy to Moderate
Trip Leader(s):
Charlie Cottingham
Harry F
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:15
Minimum Group Size:4
Number Registered So Far: 18 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


OVERVIEW:  This hiking adventure and map & compass learning experience will be held in conjunction with the "Orienteering Meet" on Sun Jan 30 hosted by Charlie's friends in the GA Orienteering Club.  The Meet will begin at 9:45 AM at the Powers Island unit of the Chattahoochee River Nat'l Rec Area (CRNRA) here in NW Atlanta (detailed directions below).  Several dozen other participants will be there from the "O Club" and from the public at large.  The event should be fun for hikers and map/compass aficionados of all experience levels.  Our "wayfaring O hike" will be at an easy to moderate pace and less than 3 miles in length, predominantly along the scenic wooded trails adjoining the river, and occasionally a bit off-trail through parts of the forest.
  The Powers Island unit and parking lot are directly across the river from the better known "Cochran Shoals" unit and lot (frequented daily by hundreds of hikers, joggers and dog walkers).  Both units are on north side of the I-285 "Interstate North Parkway" access road, just a hundred yards or so upstream of where the Chattahoochee flows underneath I-285 in NW Atlanta.

After we introduce one another we'll conduct a brief refresher for our AOC "subgroup" in the basics of how to use a compass in conjunction with a topographic map to find our way confidently through unfamiliar terrain.  We'll also discuss the basics of the sport of Orienteering and sign up as a "wayfaring group" to take part in the "O Meet."—see more below.
  We AOCers will then set off together on the “Yellow” O course, (suitable for both experienced and beginner "O hikers") practicing our map & compass skills to locate about ten partially hidden “control flags” whose locations are shown on our topo map.  After reaching each flag we’ll take a look at our map and "clue sheet" and discuss appropriate “attack strategies” to find the next flag in the course’s sequence.
  We’ll share several copies of the GAOC's Powers Island topographic map specially marked for the Yellow course. Bring your own compass if you have one – otherwise you may use one of our free “loaner” compasses. We plan to take a relaxed “wayfaring” pace, although many O Meet competitors that day will be trying for max. speed between control flags.
  Our "O hike" is expected to last about 2 hours after which you're welcome to try a more advanced course if you like.  The advanced option at this meet is a style of orienteering called "Motala."  If you opt to try the Powers Island Motala you'll do up to 3 successive advanced O courses, and try to find on each course about 10 sequential control flags. Participants return to the Start area after completing the first & second course and trade in the map they've used for a similar map showing the location the next 10 flags.  All control flags will be picked up by O Club volunteers beginning at about 3:00 PM so it's important to check in back at the Start by then.

After the event feel free to join me (Charlie) for a Tex-Mex-style lunch and/or refreshments at Moe's Southwest Grill, just a 1-mile drive west of the O-Meet at 2022 Powers Ferry Road SE # 200, Atlanta, GA 30339 (corner of Windy Ridge Pkwy, Phone 770-956-0018).

It’s a sport that blends the fun of a scavenger hunt with the adventure of navigating between flagged checkpoints in unfamiliar natural terrain. We “orienteer” using a detailed topographic map, a simple compass, and our judgment as to which route to take between partially hidden white & orange control flags whose positions and surrounding land & water features are shown on the map. Before tackling an O course we’re also usually given a "clue sheet" that describes the main topographic features in the immediate vicinity where each flag is hung.
  We’re fortunate to have in Atlanta a very active and friendly not-for-profit “O” club. GA Orienteering Club volunteers organize year-round “O Meets” and “O” education programs at parks and wilderness preserves throughout north Georgia.  The general public is welcome to participate in GAOC events without formal membership.  Membership dues are only $8 per year (or $12 per couple, $15 per family).

For more on the GA Orienteering Club
go to:

The O Club has an excellent online "Tutorial" for beginners at:

For more on the Chattahoochee River National Rec Area,
go to:

Required Items to Bring:

• Comfortable broken-in Athletic Shoes or Hiking Boots with wool-blend or synthetic Socks.  Avoid 100% cotton. 
• Lightweight comfortable Clothing layers appropriate for the weather.  Long Pants are suggested, since we’ll be occasionally walking off-trail through the forest.
• Compass if you have one. (A simple "protractor-type" compass on a clear plastic rectangular base. They're available for about $10 or less at Wal-Mart, Sports Authority, REI, etc.  We'll have several "loaner" compasses on hand for you to share if it's inconvenient for you to bring one.
• Water: About 1 Quart, in “Camelbak” or bottles inside a small daypack/fanny pack.
• $3 in Cash for the CRNRA self-serve Parking Fee envelope if you drive.

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

• Consider carrying a Light Daypack for stashing unneeded layers as you warm up and for your water bottle, camera, snack, emergency rain gear, etc.
• Optional: Trekking Pole(s) or Hiking Stick.

• Optional: Your Camera!

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

We'll meet at 9:45 AM in the Chattahoochee River NRA "Powers Island - Interstate Parkway" parking lot in north metro Atlanta, adjoining the access road just upstream (north) of the I-285 bridge over the river. 
Following are directions from I-285 on Atlanta's north side:

1) Get off I-285 at Exit #22, "Northside Drive, New Northside Drive, Powers Ferry Road."
2) Continue straight ahead for about 0.2 mile to the light at New Northside Drive.
3) Turn left onto New Northside Drive and go about 0.5 mile to the second traffic light (crossing the I-285 bridge).
4) Continue straight ahead (about 0.7 mile) on Interstate North Parkway.
5) Turn right into the CRNRA parking lot just before you cross the river.  A small street sign here reads "1650 Riveredge Parkway."
Caution! The "1650 Riveredge Pkwy" address works incorrectly with Google Maps, GPS, etc!  It's best to input the following Lat/Lon coordinates of the Powers Island parking lot entrance on Interstate North Parkway: 33.902871,-84.441208)

1) Get off I-285 at Exit #22 "New Northside Drive/ Powers Ferry Rd."
2) Turn right onto New Northside Drive and go about 0.2 mile to the next light.
4) Continue straight ahead (about 0.7 mile) on Interstate North Parkway.
5) Turn right into the CRNRA parking lot just before you cross the river.  A small street sign here reads "1650 Riveredge Parkway"
Caution! The "1650 Riveredge Pkwy" address works incorrectly with Google Maps, GPS, etc!  It's best to input the following Lat/Lon coordinates of the Powers Island parking lot entrance on Interstate North Pkwy: 33.902871,-84.441208)

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

Cost Includes:Like other Chattahoochee River Nat'l Recreation Area units, the Powers Island parking lot has a $3 per vehicle parking fee.  Unless you display a valid U. S. National Parks annual parking pass it's your responsibility to take care of this with a self-serve envelope and to hang the tear-off receipt on your rear-view mirror.  Otherwise this is a Free Event with several shared Maps and our O Meet Registration provided by the AOC Event Leader.

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