‘Wandering Gypsies’ hike through Iola

Women walkers travel the state. They stopped in Iola Sunday.

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Local News

February 10, 2020 - 10:37 AM

The Wandering Gypsies, a group of about 45 women from across the state, gathered for a photo at the west trailhead at Iola’s Lehigh Portland Trail complex. The group meets once a month for an outdoors excursion. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

A group of about 45 walkers ignored Sunday’s soggy weather, embarking on a hike along Iola’s Lehigh Portland Trails.

The Wandering Gypsies, a group of women from across the state, met in Iola for their expedition.

The women — all of whom share a passion for outdoors and hiking — gather for group adventures once a month at predetermined locations.

The Gypsies started small about a year ago, but have grown larger in numbers each month, noted Shannon Martin, an Iola native now living in Dexter.

Sunday’s turnout — the largest yet — included enthusiasts from Topeka, Wichita and parts west. “Sometimes we get a couple from Oklahoma,” Martin said.

“It’s just a social group,” Martin said. “We pick a different hiking location each month. It’s all about women, and being supportive and uplifting to each other, and having a good time and being outside.”

Sunday’s excursion covered about 6½ miles, and included a trip to John Brown’s Cave.

The Wandering Gypsies, a group of about 45 women from across the state, gathered for a photo at the west trailhead at Iola’s Lehigh Portland Trail complex. The group meets once a month for an outdoors excursion. REGISTER/RICHARD LUKEN

“I’m originally from Iola, so I’d known about the Lehigh Portland Trails,” Martin said. “We thought this would be a fun location to explore.”

There is no fee to join Wandering Gypsies. The Facebook-based group invites all women, with a few basic rules: no husbands or men allowed; children or pets are permissible only on special hikes.

Mainly, the rule is to bring a positive attitude, to lift each other and celebrate being adventurous women.

The next excursion is March 29 at Camp Horizon near Arkansas City.

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