According to the United States Forest Service, it was at the end of the 20th century that hiking became recognized as a form of recreation. This makes sense because we were still a largely rural population before then, so most of us lived near forests and fields and that was just a part of our daily experience. Soon, walking and outing clubs became popular, in fact, the USFS says that the Rocky Mountain Club was founded in Denver in 1873! These clubs developed hiking trails for use and they promoted wilderness preservation (forest history.org). Scouting came out of this movement as adults recognized the positive effects that spending time in, and learning about, natural places had on youth.
There is no doubt in my mind that the cure for most things that I fret about is time spent running on my own, or hiking with friends. Elaine and I have completed two hikes so far in our season, and enjoyed sharing one of them with Alex and Rikki. Last week, we hiked the Raw Hide Trail in White Ranch Park, which is part of the vast array of trails in the Jeffco open spaces. The informative signs told us that the Ute and Arapahoe tribes used this land. A homestead was filed in 1865 and later sold to the Paul White family who ran a commercial Hereford cattle operation and raised crops to feed those cattle. Some of the horse powered farm equipment is on display. In 1969, Paul’s wife Anna Lee agreed to a part purchase-part gift agreement and the land come into the Jeffco open space system.
I was amazed at the tenacity of those first settlers in that difficult to access, but lush land as they worked hard to make their living and raise their families. The wildflowers were lovely, the sky was bright blue with some puffy white clouds and we had a wonderful hike. Hiking season is officially underway! Bonus: I arrived home to check the windmill just in time for this blessing.