Friday, April 10, 2015

Kanas' Highpoint, "Mount" Sunflower and other road trip adventures

Back in 2012 I began my move from Missouri to Colorado which inevitable led me through the most boring of all road trip states...Kansas.  Now, if you have never driven through Kansas don't feel left out.  It pretty much looks like this........
........For eight hours or so.  Honestly I don't think I saw anything else other than cornfields and oil rigs and not a hill to be seen.  However, this didn't deter me from trying to find something to break up the monotony.  I did a lot of research to try to find something, anything, that would be an interesting place to hike or a cool place to stop and to my surprise I actually found two. 
The first stop on the trip was Monument rocks, which is also known as Chalk Pyramids.  It wasn't far from my route on I-70 and from the pictures it looked really cool.  It is also listed as a National Natural Landmark, and, I have found that anytime something is listed as a National anything it is usually pretty good so I checked it out.  I was impressed, it isnt a big place but it is very accessible.  You essentially just drive right up to it, there weren't any frills, no admission, no visitor center, no park rangers, it was just the monument itself standing out there in the middle of nowhere undisturbed.  I was also the only person out there so I took my time and walked around for a while.  There wasn't a whole lot nearby so I didn't do any hiking but I spent a good amount of time admiring the beauty of nature.  It was incredible to see this collection of Chalk formations rising up out of the flatlands of Kansas.  Definitely worth the trip if you are driving through. 

Me at the Summit of Mount Sunflower
The second stop on this trip was another one of my Highpoints that I have been collecting.  I hadn't gotten the Kansas Highpoint so I figured as I was driving through I would add this one to my list making it my 7th State highpoint achieved.  I will admit I wasn't that excited about this was as it was a drive up and I had generally planned my highpoints to avoid the roads and attempt to actually "climb" them as much as I could but this one was unavoidable.  There was nothing to climb it was going to be a drive up.  It was made much more interesting by the fact that the owners of the land that the highpoint sits on have embraced the absurdity of hundreds of people flocking to this gentle rise in the middle of a field and did a great job on their highpoint monument.  It is actually my favorite so far.  There is a register and a book with a fun reading about the highpoint as well.  I took some pictures so you can see what they wrote.  Overall I was impressed by the time they took to make it a special highpoint and I think you will agree if you ever make it there.
The monument at Mt Sunflower
Sign at the cattle guard to Mt. Sunflower

One of the best register reads I have seen on a state highpoint!

I didn't expect to enjoy the stops that I made as I took this trip but I was pleasantly surprised by both.  I don't think that I would go out of my way for a visit to this part of the country but if you find yourself driving down I-70 and get sick of looking at corn they are both worthwhile stops.

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