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November 2013 / December 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.


Sat. 11/2, 10:00am, Zip Lining 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, so 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: We 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

Details to follow. http://www.flaglercounty.org/facilities.aspx?page=detail&RID=18

Sat 11/23, 9am, HORSEBACK RIDING: Horseback riding at Skunkie Acres, 608 NW Sophie Drive, White Springs, FL.  Cost is $40 a person for a 2-hour ride.  Western saddles will be used and all levels of riders are invited.  We will ride on shaded trails and also go through their petting zoo. www.skunkieacres@hughes.net.

Due to the limited number of participants (15), Sidetrackers.com (dues paying) Members will be given RSVP preference through Friday 11/15.  On 11/16, RSVP’s will be open to all Meetup/Sidetrackers members.   

Meet at McDonalds on Chafee Road at 9am.  Carpooling is available and can be made in advance or at McDonalds.  Horseback ride begins at 11am.  We will stop and have a late lunch after the ride, so make sure you have a big breakfast before the trip.  Leader: Julie H.  904-424-1548

Fri – Sat 11/29 & 11/30, 7:00am, Kayak Suwannee River/Swamp Meet and Old Tyme Farm Days, Live Oak, FL:  Come enjoy a weekend of fun at this Annual Heritage Festival featuring Late 19th Century skills. Cane grinding, syrup making, antique equipment and exhibits, petting zoo, kids games, food vendors, blacksmith, arts & crafts and so much more. Meet up time for carpool is 7:00 am (departing no later than 7:10 am) for those who want to paddle in the morning and tour the festival in the afternoon. Carpool location is the parking lot at the WalMart Supercenter, 6767 103Rd St, Jacksonville, FL 32210. (west side near I-295). I can take up to 3 passengers (without kayaks or canoes). The drive to the park is 1 hour 20 minutes and we should be at the Canoe Outpost by 8:40 am in order to catch the 9:00 am shuttle upstream (earlier if you want to rent). If you just want to meet the rest of us at the Suwannee Music Park and Campground, then come when you can. Please call me or post a note of your plans so I know when to expect to see you and so I can call the Canoe Outpost with the expected number for the 9:00 am shuttle.

The plan for the morning kayak/canoe is to ride a shuttle up river from the Suwannee Canoe Outpost located in the park (phone [masked]) and be dropped off for a 2-3 hour paddle downstream at Dry Creek (4 miles/2 hours) or Crooked Branch (6 miles/3 hours). The shuttle leaves on the hour every hour but we should arrive 20 minutes early to assure a spot. If you bring your own kayak or canoe, the shuttle is approximately $12 each. Rentals which include the shuttle ride are between $17-24. If you just want to paddle from the boat ramp, it costs $10 to launch your own boat (so you may as well take the shuttle with the rest of us and see more of the Suwannee!).

Overnight camping is available if you want to stay more than one day. $10.00per vehicle. Bring your lawn chairs. More information: http://www.musicliveshere.com/content/index.phpBest to contact the Leader: Susyq via Meetup.com/Sidetrackers/

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

Sat 12/7, 10:00am, Hike and Visit to a Live Farm, Gainesville:  Come join us for a fun filled day of hiking in beautiful Gainesville. We will meet at McDonalds on I-10 & Chafee Road at 9:00 a.m.  Carpooling is available and can be made in advance or at McDonalds.  We will visit the Morningside Nature Center to hike the trails (7 miles of available trails), see the wild flowers, picnic and visit the “live farm” where interpreters will show you what life was like on a rural Florida homestead farm in 1870.  We will watch as they make biscuits, fresh butter, and more.   We will also see a cabin, schoolhouse, smokehouse, wood shop and a forge.  There is no admission into the Nature Center.  3540 E. University Ave, Gainesville, FL.  www.natureoperations.org. Leader: Julie H.  904-424-1548

Sun  12/8, 9:00am, Swim, Snorkel and Scuba at Troy Springs or Hike San Felasco Hammock State Preserve: Come out for a day of swimming, snorkeling and if you’re a certified diver, SCUBA. We will meet at the McDonalds at 454 Cassat Ave, 32254, at 8:30 AM and leave by 9:00. Troy is a state park on the Suwannee River about an one hour and forty five minutes from Jax. Located about 30 miles southwest of Lake City. The spring is a large open hole about 60’ deep. At the mouth of the short and wide run to the river are the ribs of a civil war boat. If you get a little chilled in the spring water you can swim over to the warmer river water. It’s a comparatively small park and spring area compared to most. They have picnic tables and bathroom facilities. There is a 1/2 mile nature trail. We can eat at one of the restaurants in Lake City on the way back or plan a picnic lunch at the spring. http://www.floridastateparks.org/troyspring/ and Get More Details Here

If weather prohibits a visit to the springs we will go hiking at San Felasco Hammock State Preserve located in the north east area of Gainesville. This preserve has one of the few remaining mature forests in Florida. The limestone outcrops and extreme changes in elevation provide ideal conditions for many species of hardwood trees, including several champion trees. Bobcats, white-tailed deer, gray foxes, turkeys, and many species of songbirds make their homes in the 18 natural communities found in the preserve.  http://www.floridastateparks.org/sanfelascohammock/  674 Troy Springs Road, Branford, FL 32008
Get More Details   Leader: Dan Wolf
(904) 412-4821, Email: dpwwoolf’at’gmail.com

Sat 12/14, Rice Creek Hike, Palatka, FL: http://www.floridahikes.com/ftricecreek: Details to follow.  

Sun 12/15, 4:30pm, Avondale/Riverside Luminaria Walk- Members Only Event: Enjoy the Christmas Season in Jacksonville’s historic Avondale and Riverside neighborhoods for the annual Luminaria display. More than 36,000 luminaria line the streets. It’s a really festive atmosphere. We will have dinner at Lola’s Burrito Joint on King Street across from the Riverside Baptist Church, then visit Riverside Baptist Church for caroling and a tour of this historic landmark. We will then walk through Riverside and enjoy the lights, music and live manger scenes. If you don't wish to eat with us, you may tour the church on your own and join us in front of the church at 6:30pm.

We will meet at Boone Park on Van Wert Ave adjacent to the tennis courts at 4:30pm. Parking is available on Van Wert Ave just off Park St. We will then carpool to the restaurant and end our night back at Boone Park. Leader for the walk is Paula S. 904-588-2707

Sat 12/21, 1:00pm, Members Only Holiday Party and Campout at Dutton Island Preserve Park: We will gather to eat for a lunchtime picnic and celebration of Sidetrackers friends with hiking, lawn games and a campfire. The Club with provide meats, side dishes, drinks and eating utensils/supplies and members can bring a side dish or dessert if they wish.  We have reserved a primitive campsite with campfire ring for use during the day so we can have a campfire later in the afternoon.  The first 20 people to show interest can also camp out overnight at the primitive campsite. There is room for 5-8 tents. There is no running water or electric at campsite but a bathroom is located at the pavilion.

Dutton Island Park and Preserve is a pristine salt marsh ecosystem that offers visitors exceptional wildlife viewing and awesome outdoor water opportunities. Enjoy the marsh observation viewing deck and the scenic nature trail where sites may include wading birds and a variety of native reptiles, along with palmettos and marshland habitat. 

The park is located off Atlantic Blvd. Take Mayport Road north to Dutton Island Rd, turn west to Dutton Drive on right. This is the entrance to the park. Drive onto the island where there is limited parking available or park at the trail parking lot just before the island entrance and carpool or walk onto the island. We will meet and eat at the Pavilion located less than 50 feet from the parking lot right along the main trail.

This is a SIDETRACKERS MEMBERS ONLY trip. Please RSVP by phone or email by Dec 15 if you can make the picnic. We will need to have an accurate headcount for ordering the food. If you wish to campout, it will be first come, first served so RSVP as soon as possible to reserve your spot. Coordinator is Paula S. at 904-400-6699 or sawyerhouse”at”bellsouth.net.

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, 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...
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