Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The thing about Kansas....

most people automatically think, "Kansas....ugh!". And to be honest, I felt that way too, upon hearing that we were coming to Ft. Riley, in Manhattan, the LITTLE Apple®. But this was mainly because I had BEEN here once, a long time ago, in another lifetime. I didn't remember much about it, but I DID have (until just a few years ago, as a matter of fact!) a t-shirt that had "Manhattan, KS - the Little Apple" on it!

But once we hit the rolling hills just west of Topeka, it was truly a sight to behold. I'm still completely fascinated with this area. The plains, the prairies of Kansas...well, there are few words that can do it justice.

There are sunrises and sunsets that are just incredible to see...they take your breath away and you want to try with all your heart to capture the moments, but you just can't. The native flowers and! There is a Tallgrass Prairie reserve here. The tallgrass, it's called Bluestem, can grow taller than a man sitting on a horse! It is some of the prime grazing land in all the U.S. The state flower, the native sunflower, is unlike most you've seen. It is a wildflower. It resembles a black-eyed susan, but only in color. It's larger than the BES, and the center doesn't cone out. It truly is a remarkable sight to see it in the late summer/early fall...there are FIELDS filled with them.

Why am I waxing poetic about Kansas? Well, I went to a mini-retreat this weekend and spent the night in a gorgeous lodge (Prairie Fire Lodge in Maple Hill, KS)and got to see my first REAL prairie I wanted to share a few photos.

just before sunrise at the pond

Sunrise on the Prairie

Looking west as the sun rises - the warmth of the sun just warms the hills right up!!!

The sunflower photo was not taken this weekend, but I wanted to share it nonetheless. The other yellow flower is known as the False Kansas Sunflower. It it also widely seen in the same season and areas, and quite often is mistaken for the real sunflower...but you can tell them apart by their centers and the amount of petals they have.

Kansas Sunflower
(this picture was taken on the road by my house...notice the dirt-covered leaves...everything in this area looks like that because the city won't pave this road and it is HIGHLY traveled. I'm glad our balcony is on the back of the building; our things don't get covered in dirt!)

False Sunflower

And in case you didn't know, The Flint Hills (the area I am talking about so fondly!) was featured in the April 2007 edition of National Geographic. The photographer, Jim Richardson, has all his photos, including many that were NOT in the issue, on his website.

I will share that link momentarily. Some of the photos are incredibly remarkable. One of the big "spring events" is the burning of the prairie. This takes place over many days and is, from what I have heard, PHENOMENAL to observe. Mr. Richardson has captured the heart of the Flint Hills with his photography, and I hope you'll take a moment to peruse them...then come back and share with me your thoughts on Jim Richardson Photography.
Be sure to click on the link on the top right that says Flint Hills.


SB said...

makes me wanna travel....


Dr. Bill ;-) said...

It has been very interesting to have a Google Alert for Blogs on "Kansas Flint Hills!"
Yours came up today!
We have a 22 county Flint Hills Tourism Coalition promoting visits to the Kansas Flint Hills – this is the website:
Our web site is to promote the Kansas Flint Hills; and we were so happy to be in the 22 page color photo spread in National Geographic's April Issue on the Kansas Flint Hills, as a distinctive landscape.

We would appreciate a link from your site, to ours, if you are willing to do so. THANKS!
Best wishes!

Bill ;-)

Personal Blog:

rennratt said...


The pictures are awesome!

Christy said...

Makes me homesick. My favorite Kansas site is the waving wheat...I'm sure I probably shared this with you...but it's my peaceful spot. I love to talk walks, a country mile along wheat fields. When I was in high school my best friend and I would walk a country block around wheat fields. To watch it waving so gently in the wind, there's just a peace about it.
Oh one of the BEST sunsets is taking the exit 113 off of I-70 (going to Manhattan) and there's a lookout, looking West towards's truly stunning.

texasblu said...

I loved traveling through Kansas - I bought a frame with Sunflowers on it just for the pic of my kids amongst them - they are incredible! Michele sent me today... :)

Army Wife said...

as a Nebraskan you just made me MORE homesick...which I did not think was possible...

Bette said...

Kansas is definitely underrated. This summer my sweetie and I took the motorcycles through the Flint Hills, stopped at the Konza prairie, and spent the night in Manhattan, having a grand old time the whole way. I'm glad you're putting in a good word!

LoveMyTanker said...

You are making me miss Kansas and I swore I would never miss it. But, alas I do!!