Monday, September 20, 2010

Truth in Grass, a Kansas Adventure

        Our previous blog, drew a nice mash note from Cheryl Unruh in Kansas.  (Cheryl and her brother used to work on the Larned, Kansas Tiller & Toiler. Now she writes a blog Flyover People, Life on the Ground in a Rectangular State.)
       Her note brought back a glorious afternoon in the tall grass. 
       I'd done a piece on the Belleville Midget Nationals  for Road & Track ("The Edge of the Track is in the Sky"), and we thought, let's see what there is to see in Kansas.  My parents grew up in Kansas and I've always felt at home under those spacious skies. Let's see what's left of the tallgrass prairie. (click on pictures to enlarge)
click to enlarge to see the form of the prairie.  The landscape is very dark, but also,very beautiful.

"Tallgrass prairie once covered 140 million acres of North America. Within a generation the vast majority was developed and plowed under. Today less than 4% remains, mostly here in the Kansas Flint Hills. The preserve protects a nationally significant remnant of the once vast tallgrass prairie and its cultural resources. Here the tallgrass prairie takes its last stand.

We stayed in Cottowood Falls, at the Grand Central Hotel where they served martinis the size of goldfish bowls.
Kathryn talked to Jane Kroger who runs a 4,000 acre ranch off the grid.  Jane calls her ranch The Republic of Grass.

Not all adventures are about speed and risk.  Go stand in that remnant of the prairie that was an ocean of grass from Texas to Sasketchuan. Watch the wind roll across the prairie in waves, the swallows skitter through the sky, and feel time slow down bit by bit until you can feel the centuries that have come before.  This is time travel.  You can go forward or back.  You can feel the grandeur of the curve of the earth and the passage of your moment in time.  Fasten your seatbelt.  You could lose your sense of importance.

We'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story. (click on pictures to enlarge)

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