The Flint Hills Scenic Highway

May 03, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

After a good morning at Otto's Mill and Dam, it was north to the Flint Hills Scenic Highway, Highway 177! I had heard a lot about this highway so I had to see it for myself. I was going to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve but with no set time to be anywhere else but where I wanted to be. Anything that caught my eye was game and if I wanted to stop I did. That's usually the most fun because its unexpected and I often get my favorite images that way.  

The color of this building caught my eye first, then the tree arching over the door, and then I realized I was looking at a door within a door but it had been many years since the big doors had been opened. The tree branch had grown up against them barring them shut.

 

The Old Shop DoorsOld Shop Doors

 

I drove off looking for the next photograph. As I passed through the countryside, I realized that even though the Flint Hills have a different landscape than I'm used to seeing, I really liked them. They have a bit of big sky feeling to them but with the long rolling prairie hills. Scattered throughout these hills were the water pump windmills. Some standing proud against the landscape and turning with the winds while others fall in disrepair, rusted and missing blades. The sight of this windmill made me quickly pull off the road and stop at the gate to take a few images. I knew I wanted to do this in black and white to draw attention to the thin, bare, skeletal branches on the left reaching towards the geometric shape of the windmill; and as opposed to the image above, this one void of color; just the elements and the texture. 

At the Edge of the Pasture - Waterpump Windmill in KansasKansas Waterpump Windmill - On The Edge of The Pasture

 

After taking various images of this scene, and after a lot of cars slowing down to see what this guy with a camera was doing, I decided to move on. I had heard there were some waterfalls downstream of the Chase State Lake spillway so I decided to find them. I turned onto the road to the lake, and typical of Kansas dirt roads after a rain, my truck received another coat of Kansas mud. No problems here but I'm glad I've got 4wd in case I need it.

I found the pulloff I was looking for and hiked across the earthen dam. I didn't hear the magical sound that I, like many others, love to hear as you approach a waterfall. That sound that brings excitement, that roar of falling water that lets you know your in a special place. Even though I found little water it was still a pretty place and another mark on the map for a return trip.

 

Then I was back at the truck, northward bound again and more to see.

 


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