~~~~~~~~~ "We are here for only a moment, wanderers and sojourners in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace." I Chron. 29:15 NLT

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Blessings of Fall

Last Sunday we took a two-hour road trip to visit our son and his girlfriend in Topeka. It was a beautiful fall day with nary a cloud in the sky. Since they moved to a different home we took
I-70 through the northern part of the Flint Hills. It's not as colorful in fall, but you get the idea. The traffic up, was slow, but going home there was constant traffic from east to west, or west to east, whichever you prefer.

We had been taking I-35 and 335, the turnpike, through the southern part of the Flint Hills. That drive was just gorgeous last Spring, but I couldn't find pictures. You know how it is, you get to moving along at 70 mph. and it's hard to stop and get pics. But I remember stopping for at least a couple If I find them on a different card I'll post them at another time.

In the above picture you can barely see a ranch house and other buildings sheltered by trees. I can't imagine living on that windswept hill in any season except the few calm days we have in Spring and Fall. In a serious Winter snow I can imagine being shut in for a least a day or two. We don't seem to get the blizzards I remember we lived through when I was a child, but then I was a child and everything was bigger then.

When you travel I-70 from West to East Kansas, Salina seems to be smack dab in the middle of vast barren pasture lands. You get, oh, I'm guessing about 75 miles east of Salina and you're beginning to see the type of rolling hills that are reminiscent of Missouri. And by the time you're on your way to Kansas City, you can't tell the difference between Kansas and Missouri. There are lots of hills smothered with an array of different tree varieties.

About the same distance west of Salina, you'll see pretty much the same level pastureland, but with a few more farms visible from I-70. When you get closer to Hays you begin to see gentle rolling hills with clumps of trees growing at the bottom of gullies. Enjoy the reprieve, because when you get to the Kansas-Colorado border you drive through hundreds of miles of desert-like landscape till you get to Denver and can see the promising mountains west of Denver. (Ignore the date on the picture-Picasa saved the picture in the wrong file & attached that date.)

A few weeks ago, my dear friend and I decided to take the walking trail around Emma Creek just east of the Bethel College Campus. It was a beautiful Fall day with just a little bit of a nip in the air.

As you can see the trail is tree-lined with leaf-mold and chipped wood carpeting the path beneath our feet. Not too far into the trail there's a small sanctuary with a fire pit where college students and others can gather around a fire with hot chocolate, roasted hot dogs and marshmallows or to just gaze into a warm fire.

All the while we were walking our senses were wonderfully titillated with a woodsy and earthy scent. At one point a quick movement just in front of me made me realize a baby snake had slithered across the path in front of me, and not a second too soon! When we began our walk the sky was overcast and it was eerily quiet. On our way back the sun came out which seemed to wake up a couple of cardinals who started calling out to one another.

Yours Truly is trying to hide discreetly behind a bush while leaning against a tree that looks like it was seared most of its length by lightening. It must have been raining enough to keep the other trees around it from going up in flames.

We loved the walk and hope to do it again soon. I think it would be lovely with a little snow on the ground and shrouding the bare tree branches. Wish y'all could join us. It took us about an hour to walk one-third of the trail with the creek running full and singing joyously beside us after several inches of rain that fell a couple of days earlier.

I hope you've enjoyed this slice of Kansas life. I'll keep posting pictures as I'm enjoying using this blog as a pictoral journal.


Dr. Bill ;-) said...

Enjoyed the story and the photos. Thanks for sharing.
Positive mention of the Flint Hills always gets my attention! Thanks!
So happy it brought me to your site. Hope you and your readers visit regularly.

Our 22 county Flint Hills Tourism Coalition, Inc. promotes visits to the Kansas Flint Hills – the website is: http://www.kansasflinthills.travel/

Best wishes!
Dr. Bill ;-)
Personal Blog: http://flinthillsofkansas.blogspot.com/

Letters From Midlife said...

I also enjoyed reading about your trip and the pictures are great. Thanks for sharing them!

Betty said...

I always like story´s with pictures... :) Great post. It´s kind of reassuring to me that your country looks barren as well in the winter, not just ours. But still lovely. Every season has it´s beauty!

Blue-eyed Blonde said...

I just love the Flint Hills and I'm glad to have a chance to see them in every season now that we go to Topeka to visit family. But Spring is my favorite time in Kansas, not just the Flint Hills. It's the carpet-like greenness, and all the wildflowers.

Thanks, Dr. Bill, for the heads-up on the FHTC. I'll be stopping by for sure.

lookuptoday said...

I don't get to travel much so i truly enjoy traveling with others on their blogs. Dee