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The Appalachian Trail Club of Florida

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The Florida Trail and the National Scenic Trails

The Friends of the Florida Trail is celebrating the trail's 50th year in 2016. Go to their website and see how you can help., The Friends of the Florida Trail exists to promote the acquisition of continuous right-of-way for the Florida Trail as a wilderness footpath set aside for posterity. Hiking Trails for America is an organization dedicated to enhancing, preserving and protecting our National Scenic Trails. With the exception of the Appalachian Trail, the 10 other National Scenic Trails are neither complete, from end-to-end, nor are entirely under Federal jurisdiction. Please go to the web site and help support keeping these trails in public hands.

18 January, 2017 Meeting: 


Paula Benshoff, of Around The Bend Nature Tours

Fun and food...

The monthly meeting of the Appalachian Trail Club of Florida will be held on Wednesday, 18 January, 2017.

Paula Benshoff, of, Around the Bend Nature Tours, is our presenter this month.
The author of “Myakka” (Pineapple Press) is a Florida native who grew up in Sarasota when the nearest woods was just down the street and the way to Myakka was a dirt road.

She worked as a park ranger at Myakka River State Park for fteen years before assuming the role of park naturalist in 1995.

From 2003 until 2013, her responsibilities as the Park Specialist in Land Management included the prescribed fire and invasive species management programs.

Benshoff is co-author of the Myakka Plant List and many other publications about the park. She has worked with Around the Bend
Nature Tours since her retirement from Myakka in 2013.

Come and join the fun and learn about your Florida environment. Bring along a friend, a potluck dish to share and smooze with the great hiking crowd.

Look forward to seeing you there!
Around the Bend

We're ALWAYS looking for speakers to come and tell their story, vendors to show us the latest gear and authors to talk about their latest book. Join us soon!
Guests always welcome. We meet at the Sarasota Garden Club.

Upcoming Meeting and Events Schedule
Doors open at 6:30pm, meeting begins at 7:30 (after potluck)
Date Meeting Theme Comments and contacts Host
19 October, 2016 (past event)Your summer?
Members share what they did over the summer.
16 November 2016 (past event)Kay and Kim from Quest Outfitters:How to replace a zipper on that tent or backpack. Here is a note from Kim and Kay: "We will bring in some items for demonstration and a sewing machine for those who would like some hands on experience. We can also show how to repair some common problems.  If you know of any one who has something that needs to be fixed, they are welcome to bring it in and we can explain to them how to repair it.

Looking forward to it, we will see you then

Kay and Kim
Quest Outfitters
21 December 2016Holiday gathering and celebrating the year's end. We're still working on lining up a speaker for the meeting. HOW ABOUT YOU?
18 January 2017
15 February, 2017

Please!!!If your email or phone number has changed lately, notify the club so we can update your email address. If you switch from AOL, JUNO or some other service to Comcast,Verizon etc. make sure we know about your new address.

Send an email to:

and include your real name, trail name, old email address, and new email address and phone number. If your postal address has changed, include that as well so we can make certain you get the monthly Newsletter. Thanks!!!

Club meets at:
Sarasota Garden Club (Click here for a map)
1131 Boulevard of the Arts
Sarasota, Florida 24236

Hosts Needed!
Host: Sign up to be a Host at a meeting. Hosts arrive a bit early at the meeting and bring the ice and drinks and help set up the meeting room. We're looking for hosts for for future meetings. Do your part, Email, or call to sign up!

The club meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30, starting with a potluck dinner. Each member brings a prepared dish to share with others, and their own personal utensils, plates, and napkins, if required.
The business section of the meeting starts at 7:30, and usually includes a guest speaker or some other informative event. If you have a presentation the membership might enjoy, do contact us!
This video keeps getting requests, so here it is for your viewing pleasure...

Rainbow Lake

Click here to watch, or download the 100 Mile Wilderness Video of K1 and New York Minute

Reading The Trail...

From time to time I'll post a favorite book or journal that pertains to the A.T. PLEASEsend me your recommendation and a book report. It is highly recommended that you can help out the club authors by visiting their web sites and leaving nice comments for others to see. Companies, such as actually follow this activity and will put marketing efforts into books that show interest. If you have read one, or all of these books, do drop by and leave a review.

Two works from Bill "Skywalker" Walker
book cover Skywalker

Skywalker: Highs and Lows on the Pacific Coast Trail: Bill's latest work. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT)is the perfect place for an average person to do something extraordinary. Bill Walker ("Skywalker"), who stands 6'11", might seem like anything but average. Yet in a brutally honest tone, he lays to bare all his considerable weaknesses and fears. Among these are crushing weight loss and fatigue, along with a fear of getting lost or a bear stealing his food. Nonetheless, he is bound and determined to hike the PCT, which at 2,663 miles, runs all the way from Mexico to Canada. The PCT's calling card is its stunning beauty. It has a diversity of geography unequaled by any footpath in the world.

Haunting and beckoning the PCT hiker are the implacable desert, the towering majesty of the so-called High Sierra, and the ruggedly bleak, northern Cascade range. Indeed, the PCT hiker faces much greater extremes of terrain and climate than on the famed Appalachian Trail. Completing this demanding challenge calls for overwhelming clarity of purpose.

Walker's signature characteristic as a writer is his real talent in capturing people ("Skywalker's humor, his delight in human foibles appeal to a broad audience."--Jeff Minnick, Smoky Mountain Book News). Obviously, he is a people person because he runs into and vividly describes a truly colorful cast of characters from seemingly all walks of American life. Among these are Uber Bitch, Shit Bag, and Serial Killer; the reader learns how these hikers ended up with their names (hint: blunders). The reader need not worry that Walker is a bully. Throughout this irreverent narrative, he turns his considerable supply of humor back on himself in ruthlessly self-deprecating fashion. It all makes for a delightful read.

Born and raised in Macon, Georgia Bachelors and Masters Degree University of Georgia in Accounting Accountant, Arthur Andersen, Atlanta Commodities trader in Chicago and London for 14 years Teacher of English as a second language in four Latin American countries for three years Author of Skywalker--Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail In 2010 hiked el Camino de Santiago

SKYWALKER, Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail, By Bill Walker. (ISBN 1-934144-26-6)
Note: Skywalker is currently out of printed copies of his book. He will let us know when more are available.

Bill Walker, a member of our organization (is "organization" too restrictive a description of our club?) did a thru-hike of the A.T. in 2005. His book about that hike is in a similar genre to that of Bill Bryson's "A WALK IN THE WOODS", but Bill has some bragging rights that Bryson doesn't, Bill finished the trail that year! This book explores what a newbie to hiking encounters when setting out to do a thru-hike of the A.T. and in fact, just setting out to spend his first night in the woods.

His descriptions are vivid, his sense of humor is gripping and his insight into what goes on in the mind of a hiker attempting such a feat is extremely detailed. His writing style is engaging and never dull, you finish one chapter and can't wait to get into the next one, you just have to know what happens next.

At 6'11" Bill is an imposing figure, and his book is one of the imposing books about hiking the A.T. and a "must read" for anyone setting out for their first long distance hike. This work will become a treasured classic in any hikers library. Contact Bill directly for a copy of his book, or go to his Website or, or Barnes and Noble, or Borders Books and order it now.
I'd rate it five stars
Dennis Blanchard

Your web master is guilty of shameless self-promotion here. Yes, Dennis R. Blanchard (trail name: "K1") now has his book for sale. Eventually, every member of this club will have a book out there; that's obvious. Here's a synopsis of the book:

Dennis Blanchard's promise to his brother haunted him for over forty years. Finally, when there were no more excuses, he set out on the Appalachian Trail to fulfill that promise. As he walked the trail, Dennis reconnected with the Norman Rockwell America that seems lost and forgotten. He learned that not only are the difficulties of walking over 2,200 miles easily underestimated but that trouble can begin long before setting a first step on the trail. Blanchard's introspective demonstrates that bears, rattlesnakes and challenging terrain may be far less formidable than some of life's more subtle dangers.

The book's web site is:
or you can entertain yourself at the book blog:
The web site has some amusing quotes concerning the book from a few of our members.There is a link on the web site to a secure eStore for orders, or you can order it directly at:
The book is also available at NEW: Three Hundred Zeroes is also available on Kindle, click here.

Note to members and visitors, I will have copies available at the next meeting. This book is also available at Environeers in Sarasota, FL

Mamas book photo

ITS ALWAYS UP, Memories of the Appalachian Trail, By The Mountain Marching Mamas. (Charme Burns, Sylvia Crump, Ellen Kilpatrick, Mary Pfennig and Lenore Bunny Schneider)

A half-dozen women once decided to take a hike. Two thousand miles and twenty-some years later, the "Mountain Marching Mamas" had traversed the entire Appalachian Trail -- Maine-to Georgia, "five million steps." Mountain Memories of the Appalachian Trail is their memoir. It is filled with tales of triumph and travail, humor and sincerity, common sense and nonsense, and wisdom and dim-wittedness that only a mama who marches over mountains could share. Any hiker, outdoors person, or "mama" will love these stories and this book.

Their insight, relationships and warmth beckon you to join them as they complete the trail a section at a time, a year at a time. They start their long journey as novices, but come away as experienced adventurers with a gripping story to tell. the book is a joy to read. Pull up a comfortable chair, a warm drink and stay dry and warm as they trudge through cold, rain, animal encounters, weirdo encounters and at times, wonderful weather and scenery.

The book can be ordered at or from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (It will ask if you are an ATC member or not, then go to the second page of book listings), or call the ATC at 1-888-287-8673.

lineLocal sources for hiking equipment and outdoor adventure line

Environeers logo
Environeers is in the Sarasota Crossings Shopping Center at 5373 Fruitville Rd, 1/2 mile west of Interstate 75 at Exit 210 ("Fruitville Road" Exit).


bilgy tentbilgybilgy tent
Quest Outfitters (800-359-6931) specialists in outdoor fabrics (silnylon, Cordura, Packcloth, Supplex, fleeces, no-see-um mesh, neoprene, Thinsulate, Primaloft, and much more), outdoor wear and gear patterns (backpacks, bivy sacks, parkas, gaiters, etc), fasteners (side release buckles, d-rings, etc.) tent poles and zippers.
line Club Contact information and Directions line

ATC-mapClick here for a map. PhonePhone: 941-921-1467 MailboxNewsletter editor Grace Tyner

ATCC-Logo The Appalachian Trail Conservancy,
National Advocacy Group for the AT.

Click here to join BackpackingLight
Click to join BackpackingLight

Maxine quote: "I always take something with me to avoid bear attacks, usually pepper spray, or a slow uncle!"

Contact Webmeister: Dennis Blanchard

Updated 24 February, 2015

  • Club President: Alan "Boom Boom" Roddy
  • Vice-President: Nancy Keegan
  • Club Secretary: Bunny Schneider
  • Club Treasurer: Libby Tyner
  • Program Chair: Dennis "K1YPP" Blanchard
  • Newsletter Editor: Grace Tyner