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March 2015 / April 2015 Newsletter


A condensed events and activities list can be found on our Calendar page.
Membership information can be found on our Membership page.
 

General Participation Guidelines
Always sign up ("pre-register") for an event by using our Meetup.com site or by contacting the leader so you can be reached if there is a change or an event cancellation.  Trip leaders generally make all reservations and arrangements and may set group size limits on some trips and activities.  If you are not pre-registered you may be turned away at some events.  Non-members and their guests must fill out a liability waiver form, available here, before participating in any Sidetrackers event or activity.  Please note that Meetup group membership alone is not the same as Sidetrackers club membership.  For more information please visit our Membership page.

Additional information about our activities and events may be announced at monthly meetings, on our Meetup.com site, and by Meetup.com email messages.  If you did not sign up for an event or activity at the last club meeting and would like to do so, you may add your name to the list at our Meetup.com site.  If you have additional questions, please contact the trip or activity leader directly.




ACTIVITIES and EVENTS
 

Sat 3/7, 4:00 pm, Okefenokee Boat Tour and Cookout: Come join us for an afternoon event in Folkston, GA.  Meet us at the information center of the Okefenokee Swamp out from Folkston, GA. NOTE: Please check Meetup.com/Sidetrackers for the additional directions and the meet up location.   Folkston is about 5 miles over the GA line on US1/301.  We will have a cookout at 4:00 p.m. with hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, beans, tea and peach cobbler with ice cream.  Then we’ll take a sunset boat cruise, looking for gator eyes and other critters.  You may want to go earlier in the day to hike and bike the wonderful trails and boardwalk.  The total cost for dinner and cruise is $38.50.  Boat captains have to be hired so please email Kathy for mailing details. Your spot will be held upon receipt of your full payment of $38.50. Checks will only be accepted through March 1st.  In addition, there’s a $5.00 charge for each vehicle, so you might want to make arrangements to carpool and have a person with a senior pass in your car!  Leader is Kathy P. bchprosser@bellsouth.net.   For more information about the swamp, check out the following links:   http://www.okefenokee.com/  and meetup.com/Sidetrackers

Sun 3/8, 9:30am, Casual Bike Ride thru Avondale and Ortega Areas: Come join us for a fun morning of bicycling riding in beautiful Jacksonville.  Bicycle riders need to be experienced city riders as this ride will be on city streets.  We will see some scenic water views as well as a ride through the historic Avondale and Ortega neighborhoods and parks.  The outgoing ride will mainly follow Oak Street with a little diversion in Avondale to the bank of the St. John’s River before continuing down to Ortega.  The return journey will mainly follow Herschel Street back to King Street.  There will be opportunities to stop at some of the parks in the area.   The total distance will be about 10 to 12 miles. There is a limit of 25 people, so please sign-up ONLY if you are planning to attend this winter ride. Please update your RSVP if your plans change. Dress appropriately and bring sunscreen, rain gear, a few snacks and plenty of drinking water. There are plenty of restaurant choices on King Street for those interested in sharing a meal afterwards. We will meet at the corner of Oak and King Streets in Riverside at 9:30 AM. There should be ample parking near the corner.   This ride is most suitable for road, hybrid or mountain bikes. Riders are strongly encouraged to wear a helmet. Leader: Tom L.: 772.224.7822.

Sat 3/14, 9:30am, Biking the Baldwin Trail, Jacksonville: We will meet in the parking lot at 9:30am. Just west of bustling downtown Jacksonville, the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail-Trail, one of north Florida's oldest, traverses a rural setting of hardwood uplands, wetlands and pine flatwoods. A dense tree canopy shelters much of the nearly 15-mile paved path, providing habitat for hawks, wood storks, stilts and belted kingfishers. You're also likely to encounter turkeys, alligators, rabbits, gopher, tortoises and coral snakes. Beware the latter, a venomous species with wide black and red bands broken by narrow yellow rings! The Imeson Road trailhead, closest to Jacksonville, is a good place to start an out-and-back journey of 29 miles. To reach the Imeson Road trailhead from downtown Jacksonville, take I-10 west to Exit 356/I-295 North and head up I-295 to Exit 9/Commonwealth Avenue. Drive west on Commonwealth about 1 mile to Imeson and turn right. The marked trailhead is on the left. (This ride was originally scheduled for Winter Garden, FL but it was changed because of the 160 mile drive. This one is less than 10 miles!) We can decide where we might like to go to lunch after the ride. Leader: Tim Scott, cell # 904-705-3335.

Sat 3/21,10:00am, Hike/Nature Walk at UNF Nature Trails: Sleep in a bit and then come and join us for a pleasant hike at the UNF Nature Trails. Our trail will proceed around Lake Oneida and then through pine Flatwoods and the wetlands of the deep swamp. We should be able to view many of the native plants and wildlife associated with the habitat and a 500 year old Grandfather Cypress tree. The total distance will be approx. 2.5 miles. After the hike, for those interested, we can stop by Bahama Breeze at nearby St John's Town Center to have some lunch. You will want to bring a bottle of water, appropriate hat and layered clothing for the weather, and a bright friendly smile. Directions - take 9A and exit at UNF Drive towards the UNF campus. We will meet and park at parking lot 100 which is on the right and is next to the Eco-Adventure Outfitters Center and the trail heads. Please RSVP on:  http://www.meetup.com/sidetrackers     Host: Sue R.  cell-904-349-3619

Sun 3/22, 8:30am, Day Cruise Aboard “Mosey” docked at Beach Marine: Come join Master Capt. Ken Chumley for a relaxing day cruise aboard his beautiful ship,  "Mosey". It’s his little boat that he calls “home”.  Capt. Ken plans to head south down the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) for about 2 hours and drop the hook at one of my favorite anchorages - Pine Island.  This is a remote area with virtually nothing man-made in sight and provides a great view of the water and surrounding savannah-type grasses.  He will be researching local authors and hopes to turn the outing into a book review as we all gather on the bow to relax.  After a leisurely 3 hours or so swinging on the hook, he will weigh anchor and enjoy a 2 hour cruise back to the marina.  Hopefully Billy's Boat House or Nippers will have live music that evening for those wanting to hang around.  Please bring something to share with the group for lunch and whatever you would like to drink.  This event has no charge, so grab your soft sole shoes or flip-flops and come join in for a relaxing day on the water! Meet at: Beach Marine, 2315 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville Beach, 8:30am to dusk. Members Only Event! Leader: Ken Chumley. Contact Ken via Meetup.com/Sidetrackers.

Tue 3/24, Riverside Walk to the Landing: Get ready for another 6 mile walk from Riverside to the Landing. We will start from the usual place; corner of Park and Post/next to Riverside Park. There's plenty of parking by M Shack on Post and Margaret St.   Please call or txt Victor at  904-5172321 if you cancel or are running late.

Sat 3/28, 9:00am, Julington Creek Paddle: We'll kayak/canoe the beautiful Julington Creek. This is a 6 mile trip and easy paddle through quiet waters, secluded forests and into Mandarin’s backyards at the water’s edge. We will pull up to the boat ramp next to Clark’s to have lunch and use the restrooms. We expect to be back at the boat launch after 3:00pm. There are no rentals available at the site so you can bring your own kayak or rent one in advance. Bring your lunch, plenty of water, sunscreen and bug spray. We will meet at the Palmetto Leaves Park Boat Launch, 13799 Old St. Augustine Road, just west of I-95 at the Old St. Augustine Road exit just across the street from Kohl's Dept store.  Call Sue R at 904-349-3619 for further information.

Sun 3/29, 8:00am, Hiking Florida Trails at Stephen Foster Folk Cultural Center State Park:  Come join us for a full day of hiking. This will be a rugged 8 mile hike up and back going west from the state park. We anticipate taking 2.5 - 3 hours to complete the hike. Part of this trail is not for beginners, so it is best to have some hiking miles behind you and wear good hiking shoes. Bring a walking stick, proper clothing for weather, cap, sunglasses, bug spray, sunscreen and a few bottles of water. It is also suggested to pack a few snacks for the hike. We will meet at the McDonald's off (705) Chaffee Rd. and Interstate I-10. Plan on parking at the Stephen Foster Cultural Center Park, 11016 Lillian Saunders Drive, White Springs, Fl. 32096.  In order to save on excessive parking fees, we plan on parking a few cars by Heritage and Tourism center by the old bath house then load up to enter the park . This hike will have bluffs, ravines, sinkholes, wild azaleas and the beautiful Suwannee River.  Leader: Victor, 904-517-2321. For additional information, see their website: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Stephen-Foster.  We can either eat lunch in White Springs or do a picnic.  Send comments to the Meetup.com/Sidetrackers discussion board.

Wed 4/1, 6:30pm, Monthly Meeting: Regency Square Library, 9900 Regency Square Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256    

Fri, 4/10, 6:45p.m., WALK THE VILANO BRIDGE: Here is a challenging walk in the Vilano/St. Augustine area. We will park at Publix at the corner of A1A and Coastal Hwy at the (east) base of bridge.  We will head west over the bridge towards the carousel and back. After our vigorous walk, we will get a bite to eat at a restaurant nearby in Vilano. Please call or text if you cancel or are running late. Leader: Victor, 904-517-2321.  

Sat 4/18, 9:00am: Peters Creek Paddle, Green Cove Springs: Meeting at Mc Donald's across from the dog track on Park Street in Orange Park at 9:00 A.M. Otherwise, we will meet you at the boat launch at 9:45 am.   This is a good one for a beginning paddler or someone who just wants to take in the beauty of Florida. It is approximately a 2 hour paddle depending on the tide. Rental kayaks are not available. Places  like our REI rent kayaks and will even help you put them on your car. Bring a lunch or snack and plenty of water. Launch time is 10:00 am. That means in the water and leaving shore. Peters Creek is at Camp Chowenwaw Park, an old Girl Scout camp.  It is located at the mouth of Black Creek.  Peters Creek provides a habitat for many water birds. The aquatic vegetation provides foraging areas for the St. Johns River manatee population as well as an ideal habitat for many fish species. Bald eagles, river otters, white tailed deer, turkeys, alligators, foxes, raccoons, migrating songbirds, as well as frogs, lizards, snakes, and turtles are just a few of the creatures you might see while visiting Camp Chowenwaw Park. Camp Chowenwaw,  park phone number: (904) 529-8058  http://parks.claycountygov.com/ The Historic Girl Scout Museum will be open that Saturday, 9 am to 11 am. Do not use a GPS or MapQuest to find the address. It is wrong. Go through Orange Park over 3 bridges to Black Creek. From the top of the bridge you can see the Girls scout camp on the right. Look for the small brown sign, “Camp Chowenwaw” at the base of the bridge. Take a right down a dirt road until it dead ends. The Ranger Station will be to the left and the launch area will be to the right. Drive a short distance to a recreational Log Cabin and parking area with bathrooms.  If you pass the swimming pool you have gone too far. We will launch our boats behind the Log Cabin. Your Hosts are Vicky A. 904-923-2335 and Sue R. 904-349-3619. Located: 1517 Ball Road, Green Cove Springs, FL , (904) 529-8058.

Sat 4/25, TBD am, Day Cruise Aboard “Mosey” docked at Beach Marina:  Come join Master Capt. Ken Chumley for a relaxing day cruise aboard his beautiful ship,  "Mosey". It’s his little boat that he calls “home”.  Capt. Ken plans to head south down the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) for about 2 hours and drop the hook at one of my favorite anchorages - Pine Island.  This is a remote area with virtually nothing man-made in sight and provides a great view of the water and surrounding savannah-type grasses.  He will be researching local authors and hopes to turn the outing into a book review as we all gather on the bow to relax.  After a leisurely 3 hours or so swinging on the hook, he will weigh anchor and enjoy a 2 hour cruise back to the marina.  Hopefully Billy's Boat House or Nippers will have live music that evening for those wanting to hang around.  Please bring something to share with the group for lunch and whatever you would like to drink.  This event has no charge, so grab your soft sole shoes or flip-flops and come join in for a relaxing day on the water! Meet at: Beach Marine, 2315 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville Beach, TBD to dusk. SIDETRACKERS MEMBERS ONLY! Leader: Ken Chumley. Contact Ken via Meetup.com/Sidetrackers.

Sun 4/26, 9:30am, Bike the Amelia Island Trail:  Come join us for this spring time morning ride. The "Amelia Island Trail" is a beautiful live oak tree canopied paved trail that was completed in 2013. Approximately 6.2 miles on the southern part of Amelia Island. This ride is open to all types of bikes. We will start our ride from Peters Point Beach Front Park, 1974 S Fletcher Ave, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034. Peters Point is a public beach access area. It has a large parking lot with covered picnic areas, bathhouse, and bathrooms. The plan Is to make a loop south along the "Amelia Island Trail" to Amelia Island State Park. From there we will cross on to the beach and enjoy an ocean side ride for our return to Peters Point. For those who don't have the bikes capable of riding on the beach, or just more interested in taking the path for the entire ride, Mo Fields will lead a path only group. If the winds are blowing south strong enough the beach riders may start the loop heading south on the beach and then return along the paved path. In either case we should have plenty of beach to ride on. Low tide is at approximately 9:30 AM. Total ride should be 12+ miles. After our ride is complete lets enjoy an ocean side picnic and maybe a swim or just relax on the beach. Remember to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and possibly bug repellent. For those who want to meet to car pool or follow along caravan style, let's meet behind the Hardee's, east of I 295 at 9111 Merrill Rd and leave by 8:30 am. We will be taking Heckscher Drive. For those who have never driven this way to Amelia Island, it is one of the most scenic around. The drive-time from the Hardee's to Peters Point will be about 45 to 50 minutes. Cliff 904-334-7631 and Maureen F.  904 705-3377. For more information see: http://ameliaislandtrail.org/maps.html

Wed 5/6, 6:30pm, Monthly Meeting: Regency Square Library, 9900 Regency Square Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256

Sat 5/16, 8:00am, Butterfly Rainforest Exhibit in Gainesville: Come join us for a lovely day in Gainesville. Tour the beautiful Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. The exhibit is a four-story, outdoor screened enclosure with waterfalls, a walking trail and hundreds of live butterflies“. Cost for the butterfly exhibit: $10.50 for non-residents or $9 for seniors (62+) and FL residents. If you have AAA and bring your card or use mine, you should save about four dollars. We’ll go to lunch afterward at the Ale House. Wear comfortable shoes, bring $$$ for lunch and your bright smile. For those of you that would like to meet to carpool, I plan to meet behind the McDonald’s on Old St Augustine Rd. and 295 in Mandarin. Please arrive by 7:45 AM. We will be departing for Gainesville by 8:00 AM.  There is a lot of parking in this area and there will be no problem leaving our cars there.  Please be sure to eat breakfast. We will be having lunch around 1:00 pm. Directions from Jacksonville: Take I-10 west to US 301 South (exit 343) towards Starke staying on 301 to Waldo - 37.6 miles. From Waldo veer right (Gainesville sign) and drive 10 miles southwest on SR 24 (becomes Waldo Road in Gainesville) to the junction of SR 222/NE 39th Avenue. Turn west (right) onto SR 222/NE 39th Avenue. Cross over Main Street and then US 441/NW 13th Street. Continue to NW 34th Street. Turn south (left) and travel 3.5 miles to the traffic signal at Hull Road. Turn east (left) onto Hull Road. The entrance to the University of Florida Cultural Plaza is on the south (right) side of Hull Road. Your host is Sue R. (904)349-3619 Link to the museum website:  http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu  We will meet at the front entrance to the museum.

Sat  5/30, 9:15 AM, NATURE HIKE ON LITTLE TALBOT ISLAND:  This is the Saturday one week after the Memorial Day weekend so hopefully everyone will be back in Jacksonville and looking for a relaxing and pleasant four mile nature hike.  You will be able to get acquainted with many new friends attending this event while catching up with various old friends. We will experience a cross-section of ecosystems on the Little Talbot Island State Park. This includes maritime hammock, beach dunes, depression marsh, and a stroll on the beautiful white sandy beaches of the island. It will be nearing low tide when we get to the beach portion, so there will be a good opportunity to view wildlife and locate shells or sharks teeth. Bring water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, and a bright friendly smile. Cost: Entry fee of approx. $5 per vehicle onto the island, plus going out for lunch if you desire. Please note, this Sidetrackers event is strictly a nature hike on the wonderful trail and beach of Little Talbot Island. It does not include swimming in the ocean. In the event one or more wish to divert from the hike  and elect to go swimming, then the Sidetrackers activity for those people will end at that time and you will be on your own. The tides and undertow of the ocean can be dangerous and you should exert all caution if you divert from the hike and elect to go swimming on the island.  We will meet in the large parking lot behind the Hardee’s at 9111 Merrill Rd. at 9:15 AM (come earlier if you plan to eat breakfast and to get a head start in arranging car-pools). Take 295/9A North or Southside Blvd Connector North and exit to the right at Merrill Rd. Proceed east and Hardee’s is immediately on your left. We will get everyone signed in promptly and we will depart Hardee’s sharply at 9:30 AM for the approximately 20 miles to Little Talbot Island State Park off of Heckscher Blvd. If you live in north Jax or Ga. then suggest you meet us at the Little Talbott Island parking lot at approx. 10:00 AM near the bathrooms and shelters.   For those interested after the event, some of the attendees will probably get lunch at the nearby Sand Dollar Restaurant that has good food and a wonderful water view. Please ensure everyone you carpool with have similar plans for lunch. Leader (Mr.) Kim L. (cell 904-610-5029)

Sat 6/13, 8:00am, Hike at Kanapaha Gardens:: Known as the Best of Attractions of Gainesville Florida is a perfect way to spend a day. Come join Shana Herrin and Sue Rorer on a walk-through of these Botanical Gardens, which are comprised of 24 major collections visually accessible from a 1 mile paved walkway. These include the state's largest public display of bamboos and the largest herb garden in the Southeast. Some of Kanapaha's gardens are organized taxonomically; others demonstrate principles of ecology or natural selection. Kanapaha's signature plants include a premier stand of Chinese royal bamboo (Wong Chuk), and--during the warm months--giant Victoria water lilies and Asian snake arums.   We will meet Saturday morning at 8:00 am at the Steak ‘n Shake at 10661 San Jose Boulevard just off I-295.  It is approximately 1 hour & 45 minute drive to Gainesville. It is $7 plus tax per person for admission – if we want a Guided Tour we need to have at least 10 people minimum attend.  Afterwards we can go to get something to eat at a nearby restaurant before heading back to Jacksonville.  The Group Leader: Sue R. 904 349-3619.   http://www.kanapaha.org


Non-members and their guests must fill out a liability waiver form, available here, before participating in any Sidetrackers event or activity.  Please note that Meetup group membership alone is not the same as Sidetrackers club membership.  For more information please visit our Membership page.

Additional information about these activities and events may be announced at monthly meetings and on our Meetup.com/Sidetrackers trip reservation pages.

2015 Monthly Meeting Schedule.  Locations Will Be Announced.
MONTHLY MEETINGS are always on the first non-holiday Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m.
and the location may vary.  Subscribers to our Meetup.com group receive an automatic reminder message in their email two days before the meeting.

WEDNESDAY, April 1, 2015 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, May 6, 2015 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, June 3, 2015 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, July 1, 2015 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, August 5, 2015 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, September 2, 2015 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, October 7, 2015 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, November 4, 2015 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, December 2, 2015 – 6:30 PM

The Sidetrackers Newsletter
Our newsletter is maintained by Chris who can be reached by email at newsletter 'at' sidetrackers.com.
If you have any comments about the newsletter, or if you have material to submit for inclusion in the
next monthly newsletter, please send email to newsletter 'at' sidetrackers.com.

To Become a Sidetrackers Member
Members pay a small annual fee to help share the annual cost of maintaining this web site and the small costs of running the club.  Members are also covered by our supplemental accident insurance policy and are not required to submit a Guest Waiver form at each Sidetrackers trip, activity or event.  Membership applications are accepted throughout the year.  Please visit our Membership page, or send questions and comments to membership 'at' sidetrackers.com.

The Sidetrackers Web Site

Our web site is maintained by Frank who can be reached by email at webmaster 'at' sidetrackers.com.  Please contact Frank if you have any corrections, photos, or other items of interest from any current activities. We will be pleased to consider your suggestions concerning the web site content.

In Case You Were Wondering...
Email addresses are slightly obscured with 'at' instead of '@' in an attempt to foil automated spam robots.



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