Skip to main content

Last week I drove across the country, from Georgia to Nevada. As usual, I took back roads much of the way. Driving highways such as Interstate 70 in the populated parts of the country is an exercise in dealing with traffic, and not much else. Kansas has other east-west highways that are less crowded. Take one of those roads, and you can actually see the countryside around you, stop when you're tired, or pull off the road to take pictures.

Near the town of Strong City, I was ready for a break. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve loomed ahead on the map. With only an hour or two of time available, there was no way I could experience the whole 10,000-plus acres. But I had time to see the visitor center and hike a short loop trail.

Pictures are in lightbox mode.

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

The first settlers on this land were Stephen and Louisa Jones, who oversaw the construction of the farm house and outbuildings. The house was finished in 1881 at a cost of around $25,000, a tidy sum in that era. Outbuildings, including a 100 by 60 foot limestone barn, cost another $15,000. The area was a working ranch from 1878 until 1986.

With help from The Nature Conservancy, the ranch was developed into a national park, with full park status achieved in 1996.

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Detail of one of the stone walls.

detail of stone wall, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

This is not the world's largest ball of twine, but it's an impressive ball of barbed wire.

ball of barbed wire, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

The day was hot and windy, and I was there in the early afternoon. It was not the most pleasant of circumstances, but I took the time to look at the landscape. I quickly noticed the tenacious butterflies, struggling against the fierce winds as they navigated from one flower to the next.

Even this battered monarch was able to reach the milkweed blossoms.

battered monarch, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Did I mention that it was windy? These sumacs were being whipped left and right by the gusts.

wind in the sumacs, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Water is a precious resource on the prairie.

stream, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Other insects were also abundant. Unidentified beetles on lead plant.

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

A dragonfly poses near a creek.

dragonfly, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

One last look at the countryside.

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Link to Park Service website

Since there seems to be no Daily Bucket today, I will publish as a Bucket. My availability for comments is limited, but y'all know what to do. Carry on...

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site