Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life! Deut. 30:20

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kansas Adventures, June; Part 2

Leaving Maxwell Preserve, we took Highway 56 east toward 77 on the other side of Marion.

The old Chisholm Trail and Santa Fe Trails intersected just north of 56.

Two miles east of Canton and approximately 1/2 mile north, there is a cemetary where a young man, age 16 named Ed Miller was buried back in 1864. That summer was a time of unrest on the plains. There was a civil war going on and on the plains the Indians were attacking wagon trains and ranches.

A sick woman in Marion needed a doctor and young Ed volunteered to go find help. Unfortunately he encountered a band of Indians who tortured and killed him. An interesting story that you can read about here.

We drove to 77 and took the road south.

As we were passing this farm, I saw a horse in the barn half-door.
I asked Al to turn around (he is so accommodating!). I was hoping the horse wouldn't go back in the barn before I would get a picture of it.

Perhaps you can't tell, but the horse is PAINTED on the door. Ha! Good laugh on me!

We arrived at our destination.

It would be lovely to live in this home! I've always wanted to have a turrett! We once slept in a turrett in a castle on the Rhine! There were 77 steps up to the room we stayed in. Sort of like Rapunzel's room!

We decided to try this local "hole-in-the-wall" - Auntie M's.

We are in KANSAS!

We asked the waitresses about the location of the cemetery. I have wanted to stop at this cemetary ever since reading the story "Lone Tree" by James D. Yoder. I blogged about the story earlier.

The book told about some Mennonite immigrants who came to Kansas in 1874. They endured terrible hardships - no bathing at all for months due to lack of privacy on the boat. Smelling of urine and puke. They were sent to Hutchinson but Hutch did not want them. They were sent to Florence in cattle cars and put in a warehouse for the rest of the bitter cold winter. Of the 700 immigrants, over 300 died due to smallpox.

So I have wanted to see this gravesite. One of the waitresses had never heard such a thing and she'd lived in Florence since she was 15. But the other waitress did know of it and she told us how to get to Hillcrest Cemetery.

Just north of Highway 50 on the bend going around Florence.

You take the furthest north entrance and go to the clear back northwest corner.

Potter's Field is where many transients and poorer folk were buried, as well as the mass grave. You can tell from the picture that there is all the grass without headstones. That is the grave site.

There is a headstone erected in memory.

The one waitress who didn't know about this told her family about it and so her daughter and grand-daughter drove out to look. Al said I stirred the pot in Florence and by evening the whole town would know the story.

She is gone in the land where the weary

Enjoy the sheer rapture of sacred repose.

The field of medicine has advanced a long way. There were so many graves of infants, children and young moms who died in childbirth. Almost all died by their 40's! A complete family of children was wiped out in a measles epidemic. One little boy died of a broken leg.

There are Veterans from six different wars buried there.

We were told to keep going on the road past the cemetery to find the fresh springs that feeds the town of Florence. Did you notice the sign on the Florence water tower? 99.96% fresh spring water.

We missed the turn-off to the right and ended up going into the Flint Hills.

Went back to the turn-off we missed and found the springs. The water was gushing out.

Such pretty places and amazing facts about Kansas' history.

Need to figure out where we will adventure in July now!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Kansas Adventures, June; Part 1

For our June adventures, we chose to go visit Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, off the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway. Located 6 miles north of Canton, this 2800 acre preserve of native grass prairie is home to 250 bison and 80 elk.

Beautiful Smokey Hills.

Before white men settled in Kansas, the Cheyenne, Souix, Kanza and many other native American Indians roamed this area, following the bison. The hills in the above picture are called Battle Hill Knobs, where sometimes the Indians fought each other.

If you are wanting to go to Maxwell Reserve, it is best to call ahead to make reservations. When we arrived, there was a group of international students from Emporia who had just returned from their tram tour. There were some Japanese students and it was fun to visit with them.

Since Al and I were the only ones going at our designated time, we got a ride with this cowboy, rather than on the tram.

During the summer, the elk stay away from people. In the wintertime, however, they will allow people to get closer.

The bison didn't care that we got pretty close. Cowboy Owen told us that when the European settlers came, they didn't know what these creatures were. They thought they looked somewhat similar to water buffalo, so they got called "buffalo". The Indians called them totanka.

We drove through the prairie and stopped at a watering hole where there were a lot of bison.

Owen said we needed to keep the doors to the vehicle open just in case we'd have to make a dash for it. Sometimes the bison will get irritated and charge.

There were these bison coming to the watering hole on the other side of the vehicle. We watched them closely and they watched us too!

This rock is called Dakota sandstone and it is everywhere.

After our tour, we drove to this observation tower that was closeby.

Among these trees is McPherson State Fishing Lake. We decided to drive over there.

When I climbed down the steps, Al gave me some flowers that he had picked. When we were newlyweds at KU and didn't have money, he often would pick wildflowers for me.

Beavers keep busy building dams.

Sandplums. Our sister-in-law used to make sandplum jelly. She lives in California now; not sure if they grow those there or not.

A barnswallow peeking out of a bluebird's house.

Relaxing on a nice Kansas summer day.

If you want to visit Maxwell preserve, there are some fun days ahead!

Aug 27 and Sept 3:
Board trams in search of fall wild flowers.

Sept 17:
you can ride the trail (bring your own horse)

Oct. 7 - 9:
Mountain Man Rendezvous Demonstrations of 1800's life style, primitive camps and traders.

Nov. 16:
Buffalo auction - so if you want to own your own buffalo.....
They will also serve buffalo burgers, chili and pie.

Continuation of adventures, part 2 coming up next time.