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New Meetup: Dayhike Pine Valley Ranch

From: Scott
Sent on: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 4:53 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for Weekend Hikers...Plus!

What: Dayhike Pine Valley Ranch

When: Sunday, October 24,[masked]:00 AM

Where: Pine Valley Park
Hway 285

Folks we haven't been up there since last winter when we got off of the trail. Let's try and do better this time.

I would recommend you wear proper footwear this time of year.

Directions to the Wadsworth and Hampden park-n-ride:From Wadsworth Blvd. & Hampden, continue south on Wadsworth Blvd. to W. Jefferson Ave. Right on W. Jefferson Ave., into park-n-Ride. We will leave from the park-n-ride at 9:15am.

Getting There
From U.S. Highway 285 at Pine Junction, turn southeast onto Pine Valley Road (County Road 126). Continue 5.8 miles toward the town of Pine, then follow the signs to the park. We'll start this hike around 10:00.

Pine Valley Ranch Park possesses a unique blend of historic and natural features. From 1896 to 1986, Pine Valley was home to many of Colorado's homesteading and ranching families. Early owners of Pine Valley included J.W. Hildebrand, Thomas Gusher, the Liming Family and the William Baehr family. The Pine Valley Lodge which sits above the parking lot, was built in 1925 for William Baehr, a wealthy Chicago businessman.

Reminiscent of the manor homes found in Germany's Black Forest, Pine Valley Lodge took only 90 days to build. J.B. Benedict (Baehr's">Baehr's architect) and his crew of sixty men worked 24 hours a day in order to meet Mr. Baehr's">Baehr's deadline. In subsequent years, Mr. Baehr's">Baehr's foreman, Conrad Johnson, added an observatory, pagoda, ice shed, barn, water wheel and tea house to the property, which had come to be known as the "Baehr-den of the Rockies".

Besides its ranching history, Pine Valley served three other industries as well...lumber, ice and the railroads. Trees were cut from Pine Valley and the surrounding mountains during a boom in the timber industry in the late 1800's. Toward the end of the century when logging was at its peak, a large forest fire swept through the South Platte River Valley and destroyed what little forest remained. Around this time ice production was another popular industry which operated at Pine Valley Ranch. Water was diverted from the North Fork of the South Platte river into various, local man-made lakes like the one on the park. Ice blocks were cut and shipped via the Colorado and Southern Railroad to Denver.

The railroad had a temporary stop constructed at the ranch in order to deliver heavy freight and building supplies. By 1937, the branch of the railroad which served the South Platte Canyon was abandoned. Today, the Narrow Gauge Trail follows the original railroad bed.

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