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February 2015 / March 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.


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.

Sun  2/8, 1:30-4:00pm, Tour of St. Augustine’s Houses of Worship: Join us for a self-guided walking tour to learn about the Oldest City's historic houses of worship. Tour hosts will be available from thirteen houses of worship to share the rich heritage and interpret the beautiful architecture. These congregations have welcomed visitors for more than a century. This event is open to the public. There is no charge for admission. Donations will be appreciated. Through the courtesy of the St. Augustine Green Trolley a special shuttle will be provided between locations and can be boarded at any participating church along the loop. We will meet at 1:15 pm at the Plaza De La Constitucion (known as "the Plaza"), in the heart of downtown St. Augustine and there is a limit of 25 people. To maximize attendance, please only RSVP if you will definitely attend.  Maps of the houses participating in the tour will be available at the start of the tour. We will then set up a plan to try to visit all 13 over the 2 hour time period. Parking is available throughout the city. There is also a parking garage located at 1565 Cordova Street; cost is $12/day. The garage is about a 15 minute walk to the gazebo at Plaza Constitution, so please allow time to arrive on time. Afterwards we may grab a bite to eat at a local eatery. Event Host: Kathy D. 908.433.5974.  Additional Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Augustine_Foot_Soldiers_Monument.

Sat  2/14, 9:00am: Hiking Training at Big Shoals State Park to Little Shoals:                              Come out and join an energetic, challenging and extremely scenic hike at Big Shoals State Park /White Springs, Florida. The hike will be approximately 9-10 miles with some steep hills, views of the Suwannee River, wildlife, and some of the most beautifully manicured wooded trails in Florida.  The park is located north of the city of White Springs Florida.. Bring plenty of water, bug spray, sunscreen, snacks and typical hiking gear.  Clean bathrooms available at parking lot and also at the main facility. For directions and/or additional information: http://www.floridastateparks.org/bigshoals/default.cfm. The event is approximately 90 minutes from the McDonald’s on Chaffee.  We plan on going out to lunch nearby after the hike. As always, check Meetup.com/Sidetrackers for meeting times and last minute changes. Call Leader: Vic C. 904 517-2321

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

Sat 2/28, 10:00am, Hike/Nature Walk at UNF Nature Trails: Sleep in a bit and then come and join us for a pleasant hike at the UNF Nature Trails. Our trail will proceed around Lake Oneida and then through pine Flatwoods and the wetlands of the deep swamp. We should be able to view many of the native plants and wildlife associated with the habitat and a 500 year old Grandfather Cypress tree. The total distance will be approx. 2.5 miles. After the hike, for those interested, we can stop by Bahama Breeze at nearby St John's Town Center to have some lunch. You will want to bring a bottle of water, appropriate hat and layered clothing for the weather, and a bright friendly smile. Directions - take 9A and exit at UNF Drive towards the UNF campus. We will meet and park at parking lot 100 which is on the right and is next to the Eco-Adventure Outfitters Center and the trail heads. Please RSVP on: http://www.meetup.com/sidetrackers Host: Sue R. cell-904-349-3619.

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 links:   http://www.okefenokee.com/  and meetup.com/Sidetrackers

Sun 3/8, 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.

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, 8:30am, Day Cruise Aboard “Mosey” docked at Beach Marina: 
Come join Master Capt. Ken Chumley for a relaxing day cruise aboard his beautiful ship,  "Mosey". It’s his little boat that he calls “home”.  Capt. Ken plans to head south down the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) for about 2 hours and drop the hook at one of my favorite anchorages - Pine Island.  This is a remote area with virtually nothing man-made in sight and provides a great view of the water and surrounding savannah-type grasses.  He will be researching local authors and hopes to turn the outing into a book review as we all gather on the bow to relax.  After a leisurely 3 hours or so swinging on the hook, he will weigh anchor and enjoy a 2 hour cruise back to the marina.  Hopefully Billy's Boat House or Nippers will have live music that evening for those wanting to hang around.  Please bring something to share with the group for lunch and whatever you would like to drink.  This event has no charge, so grab your soft sole shoes or flip-flops and come join in for a relaxing day on the water! Meet at: Beach Marine, 2315 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville Beach, 8:30am to dusk. Members Only Event! Leader: Ken Chumley. Contact Ken via Meetup.com/Sidetrackers.

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, 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...
Email addresses are slightly obscured with 'at' instead of '@' in an attempt to foil automated spam robots.

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