Local boy takes a hike
The tales of wilderness derring-do in Bill Bryson's book A Walk in the Woods struck a chord with Daniel Miranda. Bryson's adventures along the Appalachian Trail inspired this gung-ho guy to undertake a journey that took him six months and ten days to complete. Other than being a former Boy Scout and a fan of the Eighties TV show Wild America, Miranda had little hiking knowledge. "This was my first long backpacking trip. After reading that book, I felt drawn to the trail," he says. Although there is no official record of such information, Daniel Miranda is believed to be the first Cuban American to hike the trail. Getting out of Miami and into the boonies made Miranda realize the potency of his culture. He describes the end of his remarkable journey as "the definition of bittersweet." He reached the final summit September 11, 2001. "I finished the last part of the trail with that in my head, wondering what the hell is going on in the world," Miranda says. The Florida Trail Association's Big Cypress chapter presents this hiker's story tonight at 7:30 in Room 900 of Palmetto High School, 7460 SW 118th St., South Miami-Dade. Call 305-386-8559. --Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
One nation under conch
What do you do when The Man is keeping you down? You fight The Man, of course. That's exactly what Mayor Dennis Wardlow and the citizens of Key West did in 1982 when the U.S. Border Patrol set up a checkpoint at the Last Chance Saloon in Florida City, blocking traffic on the sole artery to and from the Keys. April 23 marks the birth of the Conch Republic, whose motto is "We Seceded Where Others Failed." The 23rd annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration starts tonight at 7:00 with a kickoff party at the Schooner Wharf Bar (202 William St., Key West). Saturday you can cheer on your favorite man in stilettos at the Great Conch Republic Drag Race starting at 1:00 p.m. along the 700 block of Duval Street. The festivities continue through May 1. Call 305-294-2298, or visit www.conchrepublic.com for a complete schedule. --Lyssa Oberkreser
Ladies of the Gridiron
These babes are ready to rumble
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Sports fans, what could be better than being tackled to the ground by a throng of athletic chicas going after your balls? The answer is: gawking at a team of ladies partaking in unnecessary roughness as they take each other down with all the fury of a woman scorned. No, we're not talking about the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Female jockstraps will snap when the Miami Fury women's professional tackle football team opens its season against the Orlando Mayhem today at noon at the North Miami Athletic Stadium at Florida International University's Biscayne Bay Campus, 2155 NE 151st St., North Miami. Tickets cost ten dollars; free for children under seven. Call 786-285-1383, or visit www.miamifuryfootball.com. --Kris Conesa
Meandering in Nature
Earth Day celebrations continue with a free environmentally conscious event today at Cauley Square Historic Village (22400 Old Dixie Hwy., Goulds), starting at 11:30 a.m. You can take a nature tour with Frank Schena from the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, listen to author Nancy Dale's nature ecture, shop at the farmers' market, or create a craft with the kids. Call 305-258-3543, or visit www.cauleysquareshops.com. -- Lyssa Oberkreser