After emailing my group hike pals for ideas about this week’s hike challenge, Annmarie proposed Lion Gulch — and lucky for me, the gang was available and ready for another group event…2 weeks in a row!  Wait, wait, there’s more.  My friend Kimberly flew in for the weekend to join us. AND…this was a dog-friendly hike.  Ro & Karma reunited.  Hooray!

Talk about rapid change in temps.  Last weekend we turned back early in blowing snow; this weekend we hiked in short sleeves.

Ideal sunshine start, hiking amongst tall pines. Our trail snaked over beautiful water spills, iced over in the November temps.  Short sleeves, sure — but still cold enough to revive my ‘Ro on Ice’ pic series…first standing ice since May.  LOVED it!

Lion Gulch soon gave away to a section of the trail aptly named Homestead Meadows.

The Homestead Act of 1862 encouraged western expansion by opening America’s land to agricultural settlement. To qualify, a person had to be a United States citizen (or express the intent to become one), older than 21 years or head of a household and possess less than 160 acres of their own land. To acquire the property title, one had to build a house within 5 years, occupy the land for at least 6 months of the year, make income related to the property and cultivate a portion of the land. After 6 months one could buy the land for $1.25 an acre, or $15 outright after 5 years. Homesteaders could acquire up to 320 acres of land under the Act, a program that ended in 1976.

By far this was the most interesting part of our day hike — settler home & home furnishing remains from late 1800’s thru mid-1950’s.

Upon breaking for lunch, Ro scored his first taste of freedom since late winter.  Annmarie convinced me to let Ro go off-leash.  Tough letting go but of course Annmarie was coooo-rrect.  Ro stayed close by after an initial crazy romp, running circles around us & dog pal Karma.  Fun day for little guy; Ro owes Annmarie BIG 🙂

Skies grew overcast and temps dropped — so we layered up & pushed forward in search for an old Sawmill.  Anti-climatic gotta say but we did stumble upon 2 additional homesteads and a Boy Scout troop (never know when that can come in handy – HA!).

Group hikes with John & Annmarie always end with dinner. Who doesn’t crave red meat after a 10-mile hike?  LOL>



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