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August 2014 / September 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.


Revised 8/19/14

Sat 8/2, 8:00am, Peddle and/or Paddle the Ortega area and/or River (Westside Jacksonville):
Come pedal your bike 15 miles and paddle your kayak/canoe 5 miles around the Ortega and Cedar Rivers (Westside). You can do both or choose to do one or the other. Get some exercise while you see the stately river front mansions from the street view then the water view!

Pedal is expected to be done at 8:00-9:30 am and paddle at 10:00 -11:30 am, with lunch to follow 12:00- 1:00 pm. Parking, bike/kayak staging areas, and lunch will be located at a Canoe and Kayak Club’s fenced lot on the Ortega River. The bike route is on scenic paved roads in scenic residential neighborhoods next to the rivers. The paddle starts from a private dock on Ortega River and will traverse the rivers in the same neighborhoods that were bicycled. Picnic tables, a few plastic chairs, bathrooms, and plenty of shade are available at the site.  

Bring your own bicycles (helmets required) and your own kayak or canoe plus paddle (life jackets required). Any type of bike and kayak/canoe can be used, as these will be leisurely rides.

No rentals are provided but you may make your own arrangements to borrow or rent. Bring your own lunch, drinks, and something to share if desired. 4619 Ortega Farms Circle, Jacksonville, FL. Your leader is Susyq: Please contact her susyqmeetup14@gmail.com

Sat 8/2, 8:00pm, Fort Clinch Candlelight (EVENING) Tour: Come join us for a rare evening stroll in the park. Roam Ft. Clinch after dark by lantern and candlelight. Corporal Bledsoe will lead small groups for this unusual after hours tour. First built in 1847 and occupied by both Confederate and Union forces during the Civil War, the fort also served as a communications outpost during World War II. Visitors will see it all, from laundry area to the medical quarters. Fees: $4.00 single occupant per vehicle, $6.00 per vehicle with 2-8 people and a $3.00 Fort Clinch admission. Please dress accordingly for a night hike and bring additional items such as bug spray, water, flashlight, etc. Those wanting to carpool can meet at 7:00PM at the McDonald’s on Airport Road.( I-95 and Airport Road Exit. Head east towards the stores, not the airport. McDonald’s will be mile on the left (north) side. Everyone will meet at 8:00 pm at the Fort Clinch Museum and Visitor Center, 2601 Atlantic Ave., Fernandina Beach, FL.  Leader: Vicki A. 904.923.2335.

Wed 8/6, 6:30pm, Monthly Members Meeting: Regency Square Library, 9900 Regency Square Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256

Sat 8/9, 8:00am, Paddle along Cracker Creek, Port Orange: Come join us for a day paddle along the quiet waters of Cracker Creek in Port Orange. Located in Volusia County, this is an easy 90 minute drive down I-95, a few miles south of Daytona. We will meet at 8:00am at the McDonald's on I-95 and Old St. Augustine Road. If you plan to eat breakfast, please arrive 15 minutes earlier. We will leave for Port Orange at 8:15am and lead a convoy down I-95.  If you bring your kayak or canoe, there will be a $5.00 launch fee.  Kayak rental fees will be $30.00/half day or $45.00 for a tandem (2 person) kayak. Please see website for additional information, address and highlights of activity in the area. Http://www.crackercreek.com.   Camping is also an option at Cracker Creek; however, this event is not arranging any overnight accommodations.  We will probably paddle for app. 4 hours, and then go for a burger and beverage. Please be sure to bring typical paddle gear i.e. PFD, bug spray, water, aqua shoes, sunscreen, whistle, cap, and a snack. If you are not going to join us for lunch, you may want to bring a sandwich as well. Lunch will be near Port Orange at a place called Hidden Treasures Tiki Bar and Grille: http://www.hiddentreasureonrosebay.com/ for menu and location.  Leaders: Paula S. 904.588.2707 and Chris H. 904.48.6276. Paula will need to call a few days ahead to make kayak reservations.  Please specify if you need to rent a kayak, (indicate single or tandem) or if you are bringing your own kayak.

Sun 8/10, 1:30pm, Virtual Shooting Party at Aiming Point Firearms Academy, Jacksonville: Come join us for a fun filled afternoon of simulated shooting using a laser-equipped firearm in a safe, fun environment.  Moving targets will provide a range of difficulty, for not only the beginner but also for the seasoned shooter.  https://www. We will have a 2-hour party (2-4 pm) with 4 participants shooting at a time while the others watch on a TV from another room.  Based on 20 participants, the cost will be $6.25/person and each participant should get two 10-minute sessions.  First session will be practice and the second will be scored.  If time permits, the individual with the highest score from each group will compete for bragging rights as best shooter (four highest scores from the five groups will compete).  The $125 fee has been paid in advance. If you RSVP, you are agreeing to pay $6.25.  Unless special arrangements are made, payment is due within 10 days.  Send checks to Steve Dorsey, 10135 Gate Parkway N, Unit 1612, Jacksonville, FL  32246-8268.  If you must cancel after making payment, your funds will be returned if another individual pays to take your place.  Leader:  Steve 561.602.8613

Sat  8/16, 8:00am, Hike at Bulow Creek State Park, Ormond Beach: Come join us for a full day of hiking in beautiful Bulow Creek. We will meet at McDonald’s off I-95 and Old St. Augustine Road (Bartram). We will meet at 8:00am and leave promptly at 8:30. If you want to eat, please arrive 15 minutes earlier. We will caravan down I-95 and exit at 278 for Old Dixie Highway.  Bulow Creek protects nearly 5,600 acres, more than 1,500 of which are submerged lands. The highlight of Bulow Creek is one of the largest remaining stands of southern live oak forest along Florida's east coast. The reigning tree is the Fairchild Oak, one of the largest live oak trees in the South. For more than 400 years it has been a silent witness to human activities along Bulow Creek, including the destruction of the neighboring Bulow Plantation during the Second Seminole War in 1836. Several trails allow hikers to explore the interior of the park, where visitors can see white-tailed deer, barred owls and raccoons. The Bulow Woods Trail, nearly seven miles long, takes hikers to Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park. Visitors can picnic in a shady pavilion or at a table on the lawn within view of the Fairchild Oak. The hike will calls for proper footwear, water, sun screen, bug spray and comfortable attire.  When the hike is over, we will stop for lunch in the area.  http://www.floridastateparks.org/bulowcreek/   Ormond Beach is 73 miles from our departure location and the drive will take 75 minutes or so. 3351 Old Dixie Highway, Ormond Beach, Florida 32174  (386) 676-4050 Leader: Vic, 904.517.2321.  As a courtesy, please call or text Vic if your plans change or if you are running late.Close Please make car pooling arrangements, thru Meetup.com, before the day of the event. Victor will provide directions at McDonald’s.

Sun 8/17, 10:00am, Kayak the River from Aunt Kate’s Restaurant, St. Augustine (Vilano Beach):   Come join us for a full day of kayaking and swimming in the Tolomato River We will meet at McDonalds (586 March Landing Pkwy) Jax Beach, on AIA South near JTB behind Target. We are planning on a 10:00am departure.  Arrive earlier if you plan on having breakfast, etc.   Please make your car pooling arrangements ahead of time and make sure you have the same schedule as your driver.  If you are coming from the St. Augustine area, please meet us at Aunt Kate’s. Please communicate with the leader where you will be meeting the group.  We will launch our kayaks from “Aunt Kate’s” Restaurant (612 Euclid Ave.)  off A1A, 2 miles south of the Castle Otttis. They have a boat ramp and dock, plus there should be plenty of parking.  We will kayak for several hours and park on the sandbar for swimming.  Afterwards, we will stop for lunch at Aunt Kate’s. Depending when we finish, we might be able to listen to live music on the deck. Kayak rental is available at Kayak St. Augustine at 904-315-8442.  They will deliver and pick up kayak and charge $40 for 4 hours. Leader, ulie, 904 424-1548.   As a courtesy, please call Julie if your plans change, if you are unable to attend or will be meeting us at Aunt Kate’s.  Website: http://www.aunt-kates.com

Sat 8/23, 10:00am, Hike, Pancake Lunch and Swim at De Leon Springs State Park:
Latest update:
     Swimming, hiking, pancake lunch.  Bring a lawn chair.  There is an optional boat ride on the springs,
     so please bring extra money if you would like to participate in some of the options available.  If you do
     not plan on eating in the pancake restaurant, then bring a picnic lunch.  As with many Sidetrackers
     trips, you may want to bring snacks and drinks.

Come join us for full day at De Leon State Park. We will begin with a 4 mile (loop) hike on the Wild Persimmon Hiking Trail. After the hike, lunch will be at Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill and Griddle House at 12:00 noon for lunch where everyone gets to make their own pancakes on a grille in the middle of the table. You can order blueberries, sausage, eggs or other items to accompany your pancakes. Please let me know if you are planning on going. I can make a reservation ahead of time so we all will be sure to get in. Afterwards we will cool off at the spring boil. De Leon Springs State Park provides access to Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, where canoeists can explore 18,000 acres of lakes, creeks and marshes. Canoe, kayak and paddleboat rentals are available in the park throughout the year. Snorkeling and swimming is permitted at the spring boil, the water temperature is a constant 72 degrees to beat the heat, and depths range from 18" to 30' at the spring. Parts of the trail can flood during wet seasons and biting insects are common, so appropriate clothing and footwear are recommended, along with insect repellent and drinking water. Be sure to bring your towel and bathing suit.  Cost(s) of Activity: Park entrance $6 per vehicle + lunch.  Carpool: 8:15 a.m. at the McDonalds at 14151 Old St. Augustine Road, Jacksonville, FL near I 95.  If you plan on getting coffee or breakfast, please arrive earlier.  There will also be carpooling from St. Augustine at Burger King, 2685 SR 207 (exit 311 off I 95) at 8:15a.m.  Please contact leader the trip leader if you will be carpooling from this area.

Maureen F. (904) 705-3377  Links:
Welcome to Florida State Parks and http://www.floridastateparks.org/deleonsprings/aboutthepark.cfm 

Fri-Mon, 8 /29 - 9/1, (Members only) Labor Day Weekend at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, GA: Callaway Gardens is having a Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival on Labor Day Weekend. There is so much to do here starting with the balloon glow at dusk Friday night. There are balloon launches at 7:15am and 6:00pm on Saturday. There are several gardens with a discovery center and butterfly center, nature and biking trails, beach and water sports, and much more. You can bring your bicycle if you choose. We will explore more each day.

We will stay in deluxe 2 bedroom cottages with fully equipped kitchens and living room areas. Each bedroom has 2 queen size beds and a bath. Cottages can sleep 8 if we double up or 4 if you want your own bed.  The price for all three nights per person is $148 if sharing a bed or $296 if sleeping alone.  We will coordinate dinners or just desserts on Saturday and Sunday, depending on the number of people. More information will follow closer to the date.

We will leave early Friday morning for the six hour drive up and return Monday around noon. If you wish to carpool, contact the leader for details. RSVP directly to leader and pay to reserve spot. Check out the website to see all of Callaway Gardens. Leader: Paula S. 904-588-2707 or email sawyerhouse-at-bellsouth.net.

Wed 9/3, 6:30 PM
, Monthly Meeting and Planning Meeting:
Regency Square Library, 9900 Regency Square Blvd., Jacksonville, FL   (Oct, Nov and Dec event)

Fri-Sun 9/5-9/7, (Members Only) Relaxing “Chill Out” weekend in Madison, Fl.  Come join an intimate group of 10 "Sidetrackers Members" on beautiful Cherry Lake in Madison County, FL.  It is a 2 hour drive from Jacksonville and 20 minutes from Wild Adventures Theme Park (Http://wildadventures. net) The crystal clear lake is ideal for swimming, any water sport, boating or fishing. There is a lot of land to explore plus a campfire area for the evening time. The house sleeps 10 people comfortably with 2 king-size bedrooms and a bunk room that has 2 Queen size bunk beds and a 1 Queen size regular bed. The bedrooms sleep 2 and are $25.00 per night per person. The bunks are $20.00 per night per person.  There is a sleeper couch in the den that can sleep 1 for $15.00 per night. This beautiful house has a full kitchen, living area, game room and a large front porch with a dock. We will arrange group dinners and other activities as the group desires. Note:  there will also be an additional fee of $10.00 (cash) per person for "clean up" service at the end of the weekend. For photos and additional information, check out the website at: http://www.radloffretreat.com   If you are Sidetrackers member and able to provide full payment no later than Sunday, 7/27/14, please contact Kathy B. ASAP at: kathy_beck@bellsouth.net.  Cell 904 463 3499.

Sat 9/20, 9:00am, Nature Hike on Little Talbot Island: Sleep in a bit and then lets enjoy a very pleasant four mile nature hike experiencing a cross-section of ecosystems on 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 smile. Cost: Entry fee of approx. $ 4 or $ 5 per vehicle onto the island, plus lunch if you desire. Please note, this Sidetrackers event is strictly a nature hike on the trail/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 elect to go swimming on the island.  We will meet at the Hardee’s at 9111 Merrill Rd. at 9:10 AM. If you plan to eat breakfast, then please come earlier so you will be finished by 9:10 AM.  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 depart Hardee’s sharply by 9:20 AM and car-pool and caravan 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 Talbot Island parking lot at approx. 9:50 AM near the bathrooms and shelters.   For those interested after the event, some people may desire to get lunch at the nearby Sand Dollar Restaurant that has good food and a wonderful water view. Leader (Mr.) Kim L. (cell 904-610-5029)

Sun 9/28, 8:30am, Jekyll Island Bike Ride: We will meet at McDonalds on Duval Rd by the airport in the Riverplace Market and leave promptly at 8:45am. Arrive early if you plan on having breakfast. Carpooling is recommended, but you may want to arrange it ahead of time as there is planning involved when transporting bikes. We will be parking in the Historic District on the island nearest the Sea Turtle Center if you want to meet us there. It takes about 65 minutes to get there from our meeting spot.  We will ride the bike path through the center of the island to the ocean and around the north end, stopping at driftwood beach/pier for a stroll and quick snack then finishing the ride and touring the historic district on foot and having lunch at a nearby restaurant. Any type of bike is welcome but beach cruisers are most appropriate. The ride is about 9 miles long with stops to enjoy the sites. This is a very scenic ride with intracoastal and ocean water views on paved trails and a lot of island history. There is a limit of 25 people, so please sign-up ONLY if you are planning on attending. And update your RSVP if your plans change. Please bring plenty of water, sunscreen, bug spray and a light snack if you desire.  We will get a bite to eat on the island. Location to be announced. There is a toll bridge before crossing over to the island with $6.00 fee per car so bring cash. Leader: Paula S. 904-588-2707. As a courtesy, please call Paula if your plans change and you are unable to attend or you will be marked as a no show. http://www.jekyllisland.com/resources/visitors-guide/

Wed 10/1, 6:30 PM, Monthly Meeting: Regency Square Library, 9900 Regency Square Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256

Sat  10/11 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 absolutely the best zip lining in the state. There are 9 zip lines, some over 130 feet in the air, many over the water where there once were deep rock quarries. There are also a long rope bridge to cross and a 60ft. rappel down a tree. We went to The Canyons last year and it is a trip you won't forget. The drive takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to get to The Canyons which is outside of Ocala. To sign up you have to go towww.zipthecanyons.com and book a tour for yourself (and a guest if you wish). Book the time as 10/11/14 at 12:00pm so that we can go as a group. If that time slot is booked, take the next available one. You have to pay by credit card at the time of booking. The cost is $96.00 per person.  Please also reply on the Sidetrackers Meetup site. This is a long weekend and it will get booked up quickly, so don’t delay if you are interested. The morning of 10/11 is already getting booked, so that’s why we will hope to start the course together at noon. The entire course takes about 3 hours. We go off in groups of 8. You will select your time slot when you book & pay for the tour online.  When you select your time slot, post it as a comment on Meetup.com/Sidetrackers  so that other Sidetrackers can try to join your group!! We probably won’t be finished until around 3:30pm. Once you are on the course, you keep moving and there is little time to eat, so you might want to bring a power bar or cookies to sustain yourself.  This is real exercise! We will go the The Yearling in Cross Creek afterward. Everyone agreed that this is one of the best restaurants we have ever been to. The food is fabulous! Leader: Tim Scott, cell 904-705-3335.The website for The Canyons iswww.zipthecanyons.com. Please click website link to review cancellation policy. ALWAYS CHECK MEETUP.COM/SIDETRACKERS FOR UP TO THE MINUTE CHANGES AND INSTRUCTIONS!

*Sat –Mon, 10/11-13 Devil’s Den Florida’s Pre-historic Underground Spring, Williston, FL:  On a cold winter morning you can see steam, like smoke, rising from the chimney.  Thus, the early settlers gave the name Devil's Den.  Crystal clear water, year round 72 degree temperatures, ancient rock formations with stalactites, fossil beds, and much more.  Devil's Den is truly a natural wonder.  Bring the family and enjoy a day of fun and relaxation at Devil's Den.  All divers must be Open Water certified, sign release, have proper training, and follow rules and regulations.  http://www.devilsden.com/Information.html   *tentative activity.

Fri-Mon, 10/24-10/27 “DeSoto State Park Fall Trip in (N/E) Fort Payne, Alabama: We will depart early Friday, October 24 at 6:00 a.m. and return on Monday, October 27 leaving 2pm. The cost of the trip is $92 per person for housing for 3 nights.  We will need a $50 deposit, by August 31st, mailed or handed to Vic Corrales, 1321 Gately Road, Jacksonville, FL 32225 or Kathleen Donato, 113 Seagrave Main St, #102, St. Augustine, FL 32080.  The remainder of the balance is due by September 30, 2014.  The trip is in Desoto State Park in Northeast Alabama in the Lookout Mountain area by Little River Canyon preserve. We should be able to see the change of seasons. It is about 50 miles North from where the trip was last year.  This area provides mountain biking, camping, canoeing, kayaking, rappelling, caving, and lots of hiking trails from easy to difficult with some steep inclines and descending routes. The hike will calls for proper footwear, water and comfortable attire. There are two chalets reserved for 10 members.. Due to timing, the first to pay gets to stay in a chalet.  If there is a great demand and enough money in advance, there is a chance we could reserve another chalet.  However, the few available chalets will be gone in a couple of weeks. This trip will be offered first to paid Sidetracker members only. This state park has been rated as the best in Alabama It has a restaurant, back country camping, numerous waterfalls, caves, and Little River Canyon for kayaking. There is the possibility of a trip to the #1 rated hiking area near the Tennessee border at the Walls of Jericho state park which has a trail that descends down some 1000 feet. It encompasses some 7 miles of moderate to difficult hiking. The nearby town of Mentone is the highest elevation town in Alabama with some great arts and crafts and some great eateries. http://www.alapark.com/desotoresort/  Resort is located near: 1299 Blalock Drive NE Fort Payne, AL 35967. Please note that this trip is appx. 475 miles and will take nearly. 8 hours to drive. Leader, Vic, 904 517-2321.   As a courtesy, please call Vic if your plans change and you are unable to attend.

TBD, 6:30pm, Jax Beach Bike Ride: Join us on the beach for a casual evening bike ride and enjoy the ocean breeze while we ride about five miles on the sand. This is an easy ride for all levels. We will meet at Oceanfront Park on 1st Street South between 5th & 6th Avenues South at 6:30pm. There is plenty of parking at the east end of 5th Ave. Bring water and any bike appropriate for the sand. We will leave for the beach at 6:40pm so if you are running late, just head south on the beach. Those people interested can go out for a bite to eat somewhere at the beach afterwards. If you have any questions call the Leader: Kathy D. 908-433-5974

Wed 11/5, 6:30 PM, Monthly Meeting: Regency Square Library, 9900 Regency Square Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256

Wed 12/3, 6:30 PM, Monthly Meeting: Regency Square Library, 9900 Regency Square Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256

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, 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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