Menasha Ridge Press :: Authors :: Sandra Friend & John Keatley
Sandra Friend & John Keatley
A hiker since she was old enough to toddle through the Appalachians with
her parents, Sandra Friend is known as Florida’s hiking expert. She has
tallied more than 3,000 miles on foot throughout the state. Hiking,
paddling, backpacking, and rafting are all a part of her outdoor résumé,
which she expects to expand upon greatly in the years ahead with the
outdoorsy man in her life.
Known best for her nature writing, Sandra is also a travel writer. A
member of the Society of American Travel Writers and the Florida Outdoor
Writers Association, she has authored 27 books since 1999, more than
half of them about her home state of Florida. Her off-trail excursions
involve immersing herself in historic places, driving back roads to find
rural treasures, and visiting public gardens. Always curious about the
natural world, she’ll go miles out of her way to see a waterfall, a
sinkhole, or an outcrop of minerals.
A native Floridian growing up along the Space Coast, John Keatley spent
most of his youth in the woods or on the water with Scouting, becoming
an Eagle Scout. During a 33-year career on the Space Shuttle program, he
found time between missions to unwind in the great outdoors, camping,
sailing, canoeing, hiking, and cycling. As the Shuttle program came to
an end, he resumed the outdoor activities he loved as a youth and began a
new career as an outdoor writer. While preparing for a thru-hike of the
Appalachian Trail he met Sandra, and they have been hiking and writing
together ever since. John is a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers
Association and enjoys sharing his often unique stories of outdoor
|Sandra Friend & John Keatley
Five-Star Trails: Gainesville & Ocala
Sandra Friend & John Keatley
Your Guide to the Area's Most Beautiful Hikes
While polar opposites in many ways – college town versus retiree mecca – both Gainesville and Ocala share a love of the outdoors. Students from UF hike the same trails as Volksmarch groups from the Villages, enjoying wilderness immersion in the Ocala National Forest and the Cross Florida Greenway. With several hundred miles of trails throughout the region to choose from, Five-Star Trails: Gainesville & Ocala helps you find the best. Authored by Florida hiking expert and long-time Ocala resident Sandra Friend, with Florida Trail Association life member John Keatley, this guide provides a fresh perspective on the region’s array of hiking trails. Covering more than 35 hikes across a three-county region, all within an hour’s drive of either city, Five-Star Trails: Gainesville & Ocala gives you a reason to get outdoors now.
Hikes are rated/highlighted according to five criteria: scenery, trail conditions, child-friendliness, difficulty, and solitude. Recommendations for best hikes in other categories – including wildlife watching, ancient trees, Florida Trail segments, geology, kid-friendly, and dog-friendly hikes – make it easy to choose an adventure at a glance. Add Sandra Friend’s knowledge of habitats, wildlife, and local history, and you’ll be glad to have Five-Star Trails: Gainesville & Ocala.
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