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October 2013 / November 2013 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.

Additional information about these activities and events may be announced at monthly meetings, on our Meetup.com site, and by Meetup.com messaging.  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.


Wed 10/2, 6:30pm, Monthly Members Meeting: Regency Square Library, 9900 Regency Square Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256

Fri-Mon 10/4-7, Cheaha State Park, Anniston, Alabama: Camping/Hiking/Change of Seasons Trip:  This is a SIDETRACKERS MEMBERS ONLY trip.  Due to advance soliciting, this trip is full. This was needed in order to ensure cabins and guarantee reservations.  An e-mail was sent to all current/paid members a few months ago.  Should any slots open up, please feel free to get on the waiting list. We will meet at McDonalds, 705 Chaffee Rd. S, (off I-10) Exit 351, 32221 at 7:00am, Friday, Oct.4th.   Car pooling is available, but will take advance planning. 

The trip consists of the following:

Camping (Chalets and Tent)
Several members have reserved the Cabins/Chalets.   Each cabin sleeps 5 people.  We have (1) camp site for those who are camping.  Money must be collected by the September Sidetrackers meeting for those already confirmed.  If monies are not collected, those on the waiting list will get first consideration. 

Lodge at State Park
For those members who would like to attend and are not confirmed for a cabin or camping, you can contact the Lodge and get a room, if rooms are still available.   Call (256)488-5111 or (256)488-5115.  The reservation will be under your name, as Sidetrackers does not have any of these rooms blocked.

Cheaha State park is the pinnacle of “awe and natural beauty” and is at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and has the highest point in the State, at 2,407 feet.   The Indians called this the “Chaha”, meaning “high place.”  The trails are the Pinhoti Trail and the Chinnabee Silent trail where you will see some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the area.  The hikes are steep and will require hiking boots.  The hiking will be moderate to difficult as we are in mountain terrain.

Miscellaneous Activities
There are Wineries, an Indian Museum, White Water Rafting, Waterfalls and we will be there for the Change of Seasons.  http://www.stateparks.com/cheaha_state_park_in_alabama.html

Bring sunscreen, plenty of water, food for grilling/cooking, snacks, camera /binoculars.   Leader Victor C, cell 904-517-2321.  As a courtesy, please call Victor if your plans change if you are unable to attend.  There are kitchens in the cabins and a restaurant in the Lodge, so plan accordingly. One way is approximately 420 miles and 7 hour drive.

Sat 10/12, Open Weekend

Tues 10/15, 6:30pm, Tour of the Cummer Museum Gardens area: The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Jacksonville boasts one of the most important and delightful gardens in Northeast Florida. The gardens have a fascinating history stretching back over 100 years and bear the imprint of some of the foremost names in landscape design and horticulture. Throughout the year, the gardens are ablaze with rare horticultural specimens nestled under a canopy of mature live oak trees. In addition to the lush plantings, features such as reflecting pools, fountains, arbors, antique ornaments, and sculptures help create a special outdoor space that provides a perfect complement to the museum's collections.

Tuesday evenings, the gardens area is open free to the public. Let’s enjoy a relaxing tour of the gardens including the new addition of the Olmsted Garden. Visit the Cummer Museum's website to print out a garden map or view the interactive tour before Tuesday. We will stay until dark, then for those interested, we will head over to Lola's Burrito Joint in Riverside for a late dinner. The Group Leader is Paula S. 904-588-2707  http://www.cummer.org/gardens-history

Sat 10/19, 8:30am, UNF Osprey Challenge Course:  (Rescheduled from 7/27)  Participate in a four hour Basic Low Elements program consisting of games and icebreakers and a couple basic low initiatives designed on the premise of building group camaraderie and trust, and forming principals of success for leaders and team players. It is perfect for groups who are getting to know each other or just a fun day to bond with friends. Osprey Challenge Course Program Description.  Please review the UNF OCC-Participant-Guide, Osprey Challenge Course Waiver and the OCC-Health-Disclosure-Form formsCost is $35 payable in cash or with a check made payable to UNF Osprey Challenge Course.  Payment and completed Waiver and Health forms must be submitted to the Eco-Adventure staff at the event.

Meet at 8:30 am at the UNF Eco-Adventure Outfitters Center at parking lot 100 (which is on the right at the southeast corner of UNF Drive/North-South Road).  Limited parking is available in front of the Eco-Adventure office.  Additional parking is available across the street - north of the police department. Directions / Map.   Eat a healthy breakfast before attending the Challenge course. You will need all the ENERGY you can get!  Water will be provided all day. Please feel free to bring a refillable water bottle and/or hydrating sports drinks. *PLEASE NO SODA, ENERGY DRINKS, CARBONATED BEVERAGES, ETC.* Comfortable, loose fitting clothing is best.  Wear knee-length shorts, Capri style pants or long pants.  Must wear tennis shoes, boots or closed-toe equivalent and socks. Please check the weather on the day of your course, and prepare accordingly. Please wear sun blocking materials – sunscreen, sunglasses with croakies, hats etc. and bug spray.  All personal items that could potentially fall out of pockets (cell phones, wallets, car keys, pocket knives, etc.) will be collected and locked in the staff office.  No jewelry will be allowed on the course. Please leave it at home or in your car.  Event Host: Steve D.  ste_dor ‘at’ bellsouth.net, 561.602.8613

Fri 10/25-10/27, Camping, Hiking and Kayaking at Stephen C. Foster State Park,  Fargo, GA:. Come join us for a fun filled camping weekend. We will meet at the McDonalds, I-10 & Chaffee Rd. (705 Chaffee Road, 32221) at 6:00pm, Friday.   Camping is available in the park.  You can have 2 tents per site.  Call to reserve your camp site.  Ask for location close to the Sidetrackers group.  The campsites are about $28 per site and can accommodate 2 tents with as many people as you can fit in the tent.  I will only reserve a couple of campsites and add more if necessary.  Call 1-800-864-7275 to make your reservation and leave deposit.

We will kayak Saturday and Sunday and rentals are available at the park.  Kayak rental fees are for 8 hours; a single is $30 and a tandem is $35. However, rental fees will be less for a 4 hour paddle. The kayak paddle is considered easy to moderate as the water levels are high and the points of interest are about 2-3 miles.  If you do not want to paddle, you can rent The Kayak Boat for the day for $75. Up to five people can fit in the Jon boat.  There are also guided paddle tours available. Victor will be able to provide more information regarding the Kayak Boat.

There is a park guided tour in the morning and evening for $20 a person.  We will be doing a haunted ghost tour/boat ride/hike in the evening to Billie’s Island for $25 a person.  

There are also free hiking trails in the park.  Call 1-912-637-5274 to secure your spot for the tours.  Leader is Vic C. at 517-2321. We will coordinate meals and a group dinner once we confirm RSVP’s. 

From the McDonald’s meet up site: The distance to Stephen Foster State Park, 17515 GA Highway 177, Fargo, GA 31631  is approximately 85 miles and will take almost 2 hours.


Sat. 11/2, 10:00am, Ziplining at The Canyons in Ocala, FL: We will meet at McDonalds on Old St. Augustine Rd. (by I-95) at 10:00am. This is the best zip lining in the state. There are 9 zip lines, some over 100 feet in the air, some over water. There are also 3 rope bridges and a 100ft. rappel down a canyon wall.  The weather is not an issue because there are rain shelters along the course. It takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes to get to The Canyons.

To sign up you have to go to www.zipthecanyons.com and book a tour for yourself (and a guest if you wish). Book the time as 11/2/13 at 12:00pm. If that time slot is booked, take the next available one. You have to pay by credit card at that time. The cost is $89.00 per person. Please also reply on the Sidetrackers Meetup site. The weekends get booked up, so don’t delay if you are interested. The morning of 11/2 is already getting booked, so that’s why we will hope to start the course at noon. The entire course takes about 3 hours. We go off in groups of 8.

We probably won’t be leaving until around 3:00pm. I have been told that once you are on the course, you keep moving and there is no time to eat, so you might want to bring a snack to sustain yourself until after we leave. We can find a place for a late lunch afterward. Leader Tim Scott, cell 904-705-3335. The website for The Canyons is http://wwwzipthecanyons.com. Please click website link to review cancellation policy.

Wed 11/6, 6:30pm, Monthly Members Meeting: Regency Square Library, 9900 Regency Square Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256

Sat 11/9, Go fly a kite! Be a kid again in Ponte Vedra: Come on down and spend a fun filled day flying a kite and having a picnic on the beach. The event will be held at the Center pavilion, South Ponte Vedra Recreation area. This is 12 miles south of Mickler’s Landing at A1A, located across the street from the St. John’s Fire Station at 2998 A1A. The park is on the ocean side.

This event has two options:
1. Meet at 10:00 am at the park. Be sure to bring swimming gear, a kite & and your cooler with your favorite beverage. Also please a dish to pass for the picnic after flying. Picnic tables only, be sure to bring a chair. The leaders will be grilling hot dogs, chicken dogs and tofu dogs. All paper goods and condiments will be supplied. A word of caution! Based on the last visit to this area, the sandspurs were plentiful and painful. Gym shoes or aqua shoes are recommended. This place is definitely xeriscaped! Anyone wanting to carpool should meet at the A1A side of Mickler’s Landing parking lot by 9:30 a.m.

2. Optional cycling to the pavilion. It is exactly 12 miles of the most beautiful and natural  cycling in Northeast Florida. There is a large bike lane; any type of bicycle will be fine. If you choose to also do the cycling, please meet at Mickler’s Landing in the rear of the parking lot near A1A at 8:30 a.m. There will be transport for your gear to the pavilion. You just enjoy your ride!

This event is open to the first 50 people who sign up, members & non-members. Non-members will require a release form (you can save time by downloading it from sidetrackers.com and bringing it with you)  Leaders: Call Emilio R, at 904-344-6108 or Brenda B. at 904-655-2130.

Fri – Sun 11/15 thru 11/17, Princess Place Preserve Camping and Matanzas River Paddling in Palm Coast, FL:  Plan on meeting at noon at the McDonalds on Old St Augustine and I-295. This is located at: 11230 Old Saint Augustine Rd. Jacksonville FL 32257.

Careful, it’s off I-295, not our usual meeting location of I-95. We are reserving sites Moody 1 and 2 located on the intra coastal. They allow four tents per site. However, there is no limit to the amount of bodies per site. I hope everyone will come down and explore the areas waters with us and cook some good food with our famous pot luck meals. Of course, day guests are welcome as well too.

Bring typical camping and paddle equipment. A word of caution! The oyster beds are very sharp. Everyone entering the water is urged to wear heavy duty shoes, aqua shoes or old sneakers. The camping fee for the weekend is $20.00 per tent. Kayaks will be available to rent. Just let me know if you are interested and I will call for rental prices.

Menus will be discussed closer to the departure date. For more information on this area, check out: http://www.flaglercounty.org/facilities.aspx?page=detail&RID=18 

Camping Location:  2500 Princess Place Road, Palm Coast, FL  32137; the drive is 48 miles and will take approximately one hour from McDonald’s Any questions, call Sue M. at: 215-939-8523

Sat 11/23, Morris Star Hike, Gainesville, FL: Details to follow.

Wed 12/4, 6:30pm, Monthly Members Meeting: Regency Square Library, 9900 Regency Square Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256

Sat 12/7, Horseback Riding, Jacksonville: Details to follow.

Sat 12/14, Jekyll Island Christmas Walk: http://www.jekyllisland.com/holiday-offerings/

Sun 12/15, Rice Creek Hike, Palatka, FL: http://www.floridahikes.com/ftricecreek

Sun 12/15, Avondale Luminaries Walk (evening): Details to follow.

Wed 12/18, Sidetrackers Christmas Dinner (Members Only): Details to follow.

Sat 12/28, Manatee Watching and Hiking at Salt Creek, FL: Details to follow.

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

2013 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, November 6, 2013 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, December 4, 2013 – 6:30 PM

2014 Monthly Meeting Schedule.
WEDNESDAY, January 8, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, February 5, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, March 5, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, April 2, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, May 7, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, June 4, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, July 2, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, August 6, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, September 3, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, October 1, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, November 5, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, December 3, 2014 – 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 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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