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.
“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.