SSW at 5 mph
Written by Erren Harter
If this was the Breakfast Quiz and the question was “who first coined the name – The Flint Hills?” Would you have an answer?
I do because my friend Wikipedia always has lots of interesting facts.
Explorer Zebulon Pike gets the credit for the Flint Hills and also for Pike’s Peak!
More Flint Hills facts after telling you about the Gator Rally Bobbi and I participated in earlier this month. The Rally hosted by Prairie Land Partners and their dedicated staff is a unique opportunity we have because we live near the beautiful Flint Hills.
On Thursday, our night, some 27 Gators took off from the cattle pens 16 miles south on the Kansas Turnpike. Four incredible hours later we had traversed nearly 40 miles over some of the most gorgeous land anywhere.
We were lucky because the recent rains added vibrant colors to this amazing place.
The Flint Hills historically known as Bluestem Pastures or Blue Stem Hills, is a region in southeast Kansas named for the abundant residual flint (or chert) eroded from the bedrock that lies near or at the surface. The region includes a band of hills in eastern Kansas stretching into north-central Oklahoma, it has the most dense coverage of intact tallgrass prairie in North America.
The highest point in the Flint Hills is Butler County High Point, with an elevation of 1680 feet. The Flint Hills span 199 miles by 81 miles.
Our journey paused for dinner near Teterville and then Teter Rock for pictures. Where’s Teterville you ask? O, that’s just west of Thrall.
The trip back to the cattle pens led us through what my dad used to call the “oil patch.” I’m not sure we were on any of his old leases, but the smell and the sights and sounds of oil being pumped from this rocky soil was nostalgic for me.
The Gator Rally is a big undertaking for Prairie Land Partners encompassing 5 nights with stunning results. Not only did dozens of people get to see the Flint Hills up close and personal; three organizations – Big Brothers/Big Sisters; the Senior Center and C.A.L.M. – shared over $37,000 from the event. Our hosts deserve a big thank you.
Last thought: Let’s call it 40 miles in a Gator and my butt was sore, my back worse, my eyes swollen from the dust and my face covered with what was close to mud. My thought - If 40 miles in Gator felt like this - what must 200 miles on a bike on gravel feel like?
I now have even greater respect for both our magnificent Flint Hills and the DK 200 riders.
I’m Steve Sauder with “Something to Think About.”