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January 2015 / February 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.


Sun 1/4, 10:00am, Ft. Clinch Hike/Bike/Picnic: Come join us for a fun day in the woods. Enjoy the beautiful 80 degrees on a hike and picnic with optional bike ride at Ft. Clinch State Park in Fernandina. The park address is 2601 Atlantic Avenue, Fernandina Beach.  We will meet and leave Hardees on Merrill Road at 10:00.  If you want to meet us at the Park, please meet us directly across the street from the park entrance at approximately 10:45 at the recreation center. The trail begins at the fort parking lot and parallels the park drive for approximately three miles, then crosses the road and returns back toward the fort on the opposite side. Parts of the trail are heavily forested and traverse ancient dunes that are very steep, offering a challenge to hikers.  Willow Pond Hiking Trail is located centrally along the park drive. Wildlife observation is very good on these trails. Alligators, deer, and a variety of bird life can be seen in this area. Some of the largest dunes in the state loom over this section of coast, where rugged windblown oaks and gnarled cedar trees anchor the sands in steep inclines. There will be a picnic at the park after the hike.  Leader is bringing hot dogs, buns, and condiments.  Please bring a covered dish and your own water/drinks.  Call Leader Julie:  (904) 424-1548.

Wed 1/7, 6:30pm, Monthly Meeting: Regency Square Library, 9900 Regency Square Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256

Sun 1/11, 11:00am, Skeet Shooting at Amelia Island Shot Gun Sports Here's your opportunity to shoot things and destroy them, old-time Florida style. We'll be assembling at the Amelia Island Shot Gun Sports Club, 86300 Hot Shot Trl, Yulee, FL 32097, for a late morning skeet shoot. A "round" of skeet consists of 50 shots (rounds) at clay pigeons.  The course consists of 5 stations positioned along a mile semi-circle.   Think of it as “skeet golf.  The fine folks at Amelia Island Shot Gun Sports will supply everything we need for a safe and fun event. All you need bring is sunscreen, bug spray and a comfortable pair of sunglasses or safety glasses (eye protection is required). For those of you without eye protection, the club will have a few pair of safety glasses we can borrow. Based on a turnout of 20 Sidetrackers the cost is $45 per person, which includes gun rental and shells. If we have fewer members attend we'll adjust the per person cost upward pro-rata. The event should take about two hours so we should be good and hungry for lunch afterward. There are picnic tables at the club if you wish to pack a lunch.  http://www.ameliashotgunsports.com.  Car pooling is encouraged from your area of town.   Leader: Leader: Jim Nackley (904-382-7734 cell).  ADDENDUM:   We're limiting this to 20 attendees.  However, we encourage you to join a waiting list if you want to go.   We can work with the Amelia Shot Gun Sports club to accommodate more people if we have more interested in attending.  

Tue 1/13, 6:45pm,  Jacksonville Evening Walk - Wonderwood Bridge: Come out for an evening hike of about 5 -6  miles. We will meet and start at the BBQ Barn next to Pleasant Point Animal Hospital.There is plenty of parking near BBQ Barn near  at Kangaroo Express. 14025 Mount Pleasant Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32225    http://www.restaurant.com/BBQBarn . Leader: Victor: 904.517.2321.

Sat 1/17 8:00am, Hiking Adventure 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).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: Sue R. 904.349.3619. As a courtesy, please call or text Sue if your plans change or if you are running late. No entrance fee is required to enter this park.

Sat 1/24, 9:00am, 30th Annual Manatee Festival at Valentine Park in Orange City, FL:  Come join us for a fun filled day at the Manatee Festival in Volusia County. We will depart from the McDonald's on Old St. Augustine Road (near Kohl's) and I-95 at 9:00am sharp. It is a approximately 95 miles to our destination and will take us 1:45 to drive to Valentine Park, 1511 W French Ave, Orange City, FL 32763.  If you plan on eating breakfast, please arrive at 8:30am. We expect this to be a full day. If you need to be back in Jacksonville by a certain time, please drive your own car or carpool with someone with the same time restraints. The gates will open at 10:00am. Please bring cash for there is an $8.00 admission fee. All proceeds will fund scholarships and Blue Springs State Park. There will be food vendors plus a free shuttle to see the manatees at Blue Springs. This is a large art and crafts festival with music, dancing, sand sculpting, shows and rides. To learn more about the festival or the manatees, click onto: http://www.themanateefestival.com/event  or http://www.savethemanatee.com.  Any questions, please call Sue M. at 215.939.8523.

Sat 1/31, 8:15am, The 28th Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, Gainesville, FL: Come join us for a full day of fun and entertainment at the Alachua County Fairgrounds for the 28th annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire. We will meet at 8:15 am at McDonald's located on I-10 and Chaffee Rd. We are leaving for the 70 minute drive at 8:45 a.m. sharp.  Please try to arrange carpooling prior to the event. Come be swept away by medieval magic as troupes of actors, street performers and musicians journey back to the days of yore. Revel in the sights and sounds of one of North Central Florida’s premier events. Faire hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and the admission fee is $17 for adults. Tickets can be purchased online for a slight processing fee or at the event. Yes, they do honor most major credit cards. Event Leader: Sue M. 215.939.8523. For more information:  http://www.gvlculturalaffairs.org/website/programs_events/HMF/medieval_index.html

Wed 2/4, 6:30pm, Monthly Meeting: Regency Square Library, 9900 Regency Square Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256

Sat. 2/7, 10:00am, Hike Nocatee Preserve Trails:  Join us for a fun morning hike in Nocatee.  We will meet at the parking lot behind Ponte Vedra High School, 460 Davis Park Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32081.  We will hike the natural, unpaved trails which are ideal for walking, jogging, mountain biking, bird watching, photographing nature or horseback riding. Located just south of Davis Park and near Ponte Vedra High School, the trail head offers parking for vehicles and horse trailers, as well as restroom facilities.  This area encompasses 2,400 acres of environmentally sensitive lands stretching three and one-half miles plus additional side trails (which can total an additional 2 miles or more) along the Intracoastal Waterway, winding throughout the peaceful preserve areas. The hike should take about 2 hours. Bring water and a snack, if you wish. After we can eat at Dick’s Wings and Grill located in the Nocatee Town Center, about 10 min drive from the trails. The menu consists of a variety of wings, sandwiches, salads, flatbreads and wraps. The drive from Jacksonville is: I-95 S to St. Augustine Rd E, Take a Right on US 1 South. Take a Left on Rt. 210 Valley Ridge Blvd.–Gate Station at intersection. At the second light make a right on Davis Park Rd. Drive about 1/2 mile and you run into Ponte Vedra High School. Parking, restrooms and the trailhead are behind the high school. Leader is Maureen (Mo) F., cell: 904-705-3377.  As a courtesy, please call or text Maureen if your plans change or you are running late.

Sat  2/21, 12:30pm, Betz-Tiger Point Preserve (Jacksonville) Picnic & Hike: Come join us for an afternoon picnic and hike in the Jacksonville area. We will meet at the Picnic Pavilion. Bring a bag lunch or snack to eat and socialize before the 3.4 mile hike.  At 1:00 we will hike the Yellow Trail.  Surrounded by salt water marsh, Betz-Tiger Point Preserve has over 525 acres of land. It is known for its remote quiet trails where wildlife is abundant. Due to the area being a nursery for juvenile shrimp, this is a feeding area for birds from the Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy White Egret to the endangered Wood Stork.  We should finish the hike in 1 - 2 hours. Dress and supplies recommendations: Long pants, closed toe shoes, bottled water, snack, bug spray and rain gear if the forecast predicts rain. Directions: 12100 Pumpkin Hill Road, Jacksonville, FL 32226. The preserve is easy to get to: Take Hecksher Drive to New Berlin Road, then take a right where it intersects with Cedar Point Road and then turn left on Pumpkin Hill Road. Pumpkin Hill Road will dead end into Betz-Tiger Point Preserve.   Carpooling; Meet at 12:00pm behind the Hardees on Merrill Road, one block east of I-295 Beltway. Leader: Vicki A.  If you have any questions, running late or unable to attend after the Meetup.com RSVP is closed, please text or call the Leader, Vicki A. at: 904 923-2335.   For more information and a view of the trail map, go to:  http://timucuantrailparksfoundation.org/Parks/betz-tiger-point-preserve.html and http://www.coj.net/departments/parks-and-recreation/recreation-and-community-programming/docs/preservation-(1)/betz-tiger-point-trails-map.aspx

Wed 3/4, 6:30pm, Monthly Meeting and Planning Meeting: Regency Square Library, 9900 Regency Square Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256      

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 link:   http://www.okefenokee.com/

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.

Sun, 3/22, TBD, Boat Ride – Members Only

Sun TBD, 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.

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, February 4, 2015 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, March 4, 2015 – 6:30 PM
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 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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