Somehow, when building I-70, they missed a lot of interesting sites in Kansas.
We started somewhere near Canton on the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway and made it up to Maxwell Wildlife Refuge. This an odd wildlife refuge, tram tours by reservation that allow you to view elk and ‘buffalo’. I’m not 100% convinced on the genetic purity of the buffalo, so I feel more comfortable calling them buffacows. Well, all purities aside, we didn’t need a tram tour since the buffacows were crossing the road at the time and the elk decided to sit opportunistically on top of a hill for easier viewing. Maybe they are trained…
Here is a better picture of the buffacows:
They seem a little small, even for females, but I could be completely wrong and they are perhaps wood bison and therefore genetically pure….
We found some nice looking badlands-ish type dirt by a rather unimpressive, but very busy, reservoir.
We drove north until we hit Lindsborg. Unfortunately, we missed most of the entertaining aspects of this town. I guess it has Dala Horses gracing each corner in the downtown area. These wooden horses are locally carved and given witty names like “Salvador Dalla” and the like. There are also many worthy museums, including one for Sandzen and another for a National Geographic photographer. I think we will have to make a trip back. We did pass the Mill Museum and drove over a nice old bridge…
Miles from there, we came across Kanopolis State Park and Resevoir. There isn’t much of an ‘opolis’ there, but there was a very interesting lake. The water level was very low and we climbed down the steep bank and found that most of the ‘rocks’ that lined the shore and made the bank weren’t actually very rocky. They seemed almost clay-like, but the park literature says they are shales. Very soft shales. There actually appeared to be a lot of petrified wood within the bank and shards of petrified wood scattered on the shore. All of it was pretty fragile and also pretty sparkly. Apparently, there is gypsum present. Here are some of the layers with the supposed petrified wood:
This is an interesting cut.
We drove a short distance from there and found Mushroom Rock State Park, which featured rocks that looked like camels….kidding, they did indeed look like mushrooms, and I was told by my father via text message that I could pick them, just not eat them….morel season is coming in a couple months!
Anyway, the rocks displayed crossbedding, in this case, sand deposited by water in such a fashion that the sequence of deposition is visible in a sense.
Here is a pretty good picture of a rock with crossbedding [and a pretty good one of us, too!]:
I’m not entirely sure why these rocks are here. I know that there is a rock city with what appears to be the same type of rock and there also seemed to be a ridge of hills that corresponded with these formations and they are perhaps here due to their resistance to erosion. But I have no confirmation on my sleepy carride theories yet.
We ended our lovely 56 mile drive by stopping at Taco Bell and listening to some very energetic highschoolers. By the end, we were only 8 miles from that dreaded stretch of interstate. Most travelers, going from point A to point B using I-70, usually do not include any stops in the Sunflower state, unless they are stormchasers, of course. But indeed, there are some worthy stops hidden in the prairies of Kansas…who knew!?