April 05, 2007

The Kansas Flint Hills

The other day, I mentioned the National Geographic article on the Kansas prairie reserve, and someone from the Kansas Flint Hills Tourism Coalition stopped by to ask for a link to their site.* Considering that the Flint Hills are one of the very few grassland preserves in the U.S., with most of this ecosystem lost entirely to corn and soy farming, I thought, sure.

There are naturally ranches and farms that encourage visitors, or in some cases, guests. Also museums, nature trails, natural history centers and a wagon train tour that's available in the summer. And rolling green hills, unless you get there around the time of year when the grasses have dried and turned all golden.

Many times on my drive here to Madison from Seattle on the I-90, I wished I'd had more time to stop in the plains states and look around. Everything was all frosty and so gorgeous. While I loved the pine-covered mountains of the Puget Sound, I came to believe that grasslands have been very under-rated. I mean, sure, they may not sound exciting, but when you're there it's different. It's big and sprawling and quiet in ways that made me just want to pick a direction and walk for days. For the first time in my life, I kind of wanted a horse; which I swear to you, I never have before. I felt small, but in a good way, humbly glad to be just the right size to be awestruck by the sky and the vastness of the land. Anyway, it was nice.

It's not Borneo, but come on, you're probably never going to go to Borneo. As an American, odds are that you don't even have a passport. But it looks mellow and idyllic and the pictures in the National Geographic spread were nice. Seeing green stuff all around for miles can be one heck of muscle relaxant. I also suspect that my cell phone wouldn't have the remotest prayer of getting a signal in the Flint Hills; which was super-annoying in Washington D.C. (darn you, Cingular, for your miserable coverage of our nation's capital), but sounds like a heck of a recommendation for a vacation spot. I have to admit, I'd like to go one of these days, even moreso because it would help fund the healthy preservation of a beautiful place.

* An actual person, mind, making an on-topic request for me to promote something I'm interested in, and not a spammer.

Posted by natasha at April 5, 2007 10:14 PM | Environment | Technorati links |

For many years, the cell signal disappeared just about at Ft. Riley as you drove west, and stayed gone until you got to Colorado. Last trip I got signals in that area when I drove one way, and no signal when I was driving east.

Posted by: Scorpio at April 5, 2007 11:08 PM

Thanks for the positive response. Hope you can visit, soon and often. Cell Phone works most places in the Flint Hills now! I cross it regularly.

Bill ;-)

Posted by: Bill Smith at April 6, 2007 03:46 PM