Western Kansas

Over the Easter weekend I decided to take the long drive out to Western Kansas as there were a couple of cool looking rock formations out that way. It would appear that here in the US I don’t get any extra days off but it being Easter did mean I didn’t miss any football games as we were only meant to have one game on the Sunday and this was postponed due to complaints about it being Easter Sunday.

On the Friday evening I did the four hour drive, managed to find the camp-site and was in bed by one o’clock. Turns out it was still getting quite cold at night and my summer sleeping bag, even with a liner, didn’t keep my quite warm enough so I didn’t have the best night sleep. My new, over-ventilated American tent may not have helped! After I got up I drove another hour west to the first rock formation I wanted to see. I had realised that morning that although I had brought my Camelbak with me I had left the cap for it in Lawrence so on the way I stopped in a store in a tiny settlement – a village in British parlance but no doubts the Americans would still call it a city! They still sold things on credit to local customers which brought home to me how close-knit the community must be. Well, it was in the middle of no where. Flat no where. It turns out that those that said western Kansas was flat were correct, at least for parts of it.

One bit that was also flat was were the rock formations, called Monument Rocks, were. This made the big lumps of rock sticking out of the ground look quite odd as they were so out of place. I was well pleased that I’d gone to see them, despite them being in the middle of nowhere, and I took quite a few photos. As I still had a significant amount of the day left I went to nearby Scott State Park. This was in a cool location as it had a lake with bluffs all around it and you dropped down towards it on the road in. Quite unexpected given the flatness all around. I did an enjoyable 7 mile hike all around the hike and then headed back to my camp site.

After another cold night I went for a short, 5 mile, hike in Cedar Bluff State Park where I was camping. If I’m honest this was a bit disappointing as the Bluffs that were meant to be the scenic highlight of the walk weren’t very bluff-like or scenic. I found some scenic bluffs shortly afterwards when, after driving some gravel roads – something I’m getting quite used to – I found a parking area further along the shoreline. Here the bluffs were rather more spectacular. Again I may have taken a few photos.

I then went off to find Castle Rock. This may have involved a small 30-odd mile detour when I unexpectedly found myself back by the Interstate. The rocks weren’t in my Sat Nav, I didn’t really have an address for them – only a road they were on and my Sat Nav seemed to be giving different road names to what I was expecting. It turns out that one county (the one I was in) lettered roads going North to South while the adjacent county I was aiming for did it from South to North. This difference resulted in the detour mostly on gravel roads. It was well worth doing as the rocks were again pretty cool. As they were by a bit of a cliff I didn’t find them quite as spectacular as the days before but they were very definitely worth seeing despite the interest involved in driving the mud roads around them. Photos from the weekend are here.

As well as a couple of trips further afield I’ve also been exploring a bit more locally not I have a car. Clinton Lake is a reservoir near Lawrence and I’ve spent quite a bit of time, mainly in the evenings, hiking around it which I’ve enjoyed – it’s nice that I have some reasonably nice countryside so close by.

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