We turned west on the wrong dirt road and sort of got lost. Al says we weren't lost, we were just going west on a road we didn't know the name of. I tried to put "Castle Rock" as our destination into the GPS, but it wouldn't recognize it. We kept driving west and pretty soon we could tell that the terrain ahead was looking somewhat rugged and that maybe that is where we should go. Soon enough we saw a sign for "Castle Rock".
There was a deer that had met his demise at the bottom of the canyon. Probably was being chased by a mountain lion (yes, they do exist in Kansas!) and didn't realize there was this cliff in front of him.
There is an abundance of yucca and would you believe aspens? Like Colorado and New Mexico combined! And there is wild mint growing too. You can just smell it in the air and the smell lingered on our shoes also.
We drove down to the bottom of the cliff as far as we could go. Al thought we should go on a hike and explore. It looked a little eery to me. Hardly even a trail, but Al said "Come on! It's an adventure!"
Oh my. Now I was just a little freaked out.
After about a 10 minute walk, we came to the lake.
In 1867 here at Cedar Bluff there was an Indian attack on a wagon train that was transporting a threshing machine to Salt Lake City. The remains of the threshing machine could be seen for years after the attack.
After we got back to the car (safely), we continued on west on dirt roads. Great Plains country. You could see for miles! Late in the last century this territory was the domain of the Cheyenne and Kiowa, General Custer and his troops and the likes of Buffalo Bill.
Castle Rock is in someone's pasture but they allow visitors to come. Just have to be respectful and not trash it up. You go across a cattle guard and follow the trail.
Al took the road to the top of the ridge. I thought he was going to drive over the ridge and I screamed! (Today in my devotions I was reading in the Message from Psalm 46 and I had to laugh out loud. "God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need Him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom." Well, I wasn't so fearless.) Al is such a tease sometimes and he had me thinking the car was not going to stop before we went over the edge.
We drove down a narrow and deeply rutted road to the bottom of the cliff. At one point we got stuck. There are a few places that it is so badly rutted that they have made a 2nd path next to the original one. If you go, it would be a good idea to take 4-wheel drive if possible.
We found the badlands area just south of Castle Rock to be very interesting and wish we would have had time to do more exploring there!
The Castle Rock limestone, chalk and shale formation is fragile and may not last many more years. The tallest spire fell during a thunderstorm in 2001.
The shadows were lengthening and we needed to get to our next stop - Monument Rocks before the sun set.