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December 2013 / January 2014 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 12/4, 6:30pm, Monthly Members Meeting and Planning Meeting: Regency Square Library, 9900 Regency Square Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256

Fri 12/6, 5:00/6:00pm: St. Augustine Art Walk and Christmas Lights: This is the monthly first Friday event where you stroll from gallery to gallery viewing art - the art varies so that there is always some for everyone's taste. Good exercise and refreshments along the way. This amazing city was named by AAA to be one of the 12 top places to spend the holidays. It is the perfect way to officially start the Holiday Season.  The walk is from 5 to 9; however, most of you work -- so, we will meet at the entrance to  the Winery on Kings Street at 5:00 -- if you cannot be there at that time, we will meet you outside Rembrandt's at 6:00 (just let us know) which is just down the street from the Winery. Afterwards we will go to dinner.   Leader: Marta W.

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.

Follow this link (1) for more details, and also this link (2) for more details.

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.  You can also follow this link for more details.
Leader: Dan Wolf
(904) 412-4821, Email: dpwwoolf ’at’ gmail.com

Sat 12/14, Hiking adventure at Rice Creek in Palatka: We will meet at McDonalds at 9:00 am on US 17(Park Ave.), by 295 across from the Orange Park Kennel Club in Orange Park.  Rice Creek is a conservation area near Palatka and is part of the Florida Trail.  This was an area where the Colonials established fields of rice and indigo using dikes and canals. The trails are very lush with wild Azalea’s and Cypress trees.

One of the Cypress trees is the 7th largest in Florida. This hike is moderate and the distance is 5.2 miles.  For those who want a longer hike, the Hoffman Crossing would add 3 miles round trip.  With the cooler weather, this would be a good warm-up for longer hikes later in the year, such as The Big Oak Trail, also part of the Florida Trail.  Please dress accordingly for weather.  Bring bug spray, water, camera and snacks.  Leader: Victor C. 904-517-2321.  Directions and maps will be distributed at McDonalds and carpooling is available.  http://www.floridahikes.com/ftricecreek

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, OPEN

Wed 1/1, 6:30 PM, CANCELLED DUE TO HOLIDAYS.  Happy New Year!

Sat 1/4,   OPEN

Sat 1/11, Hike at Big Oak Trail, Suwanee River Area. (Waiting on additional details from trip leader.)

Sat 1/18, Bike Ride at Black Creek Trail, Fleming Island. (Waiting on additional details from trip leader.)

Sat 1/25 Manatee Festival, Blue Springs. (Waiting on additional details from trip leader.)

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

2014 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, 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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