Tallgrass prairie once covered 170 million acres of North America. Today less than 4% remains, some of it under the protection of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in the Kansas Flint Hills. A ranch since the 1880s, the land in the preserve wasn’t used for agriculture, conserving the tallgrass prairie. We spent a few hours in the preserve on our return from Texas last March. After a stop at the visitor center and a brief tour of the historic ranch buildings, we set off for a hike (3.5 miles – Ranch Legacy/Scenic Overlook Trail loop). Although the prairie was still partially snow-covered, the sheer expanse of the land was striking, as well as the silence. While hiking we encountered our second bison herd of the trip. The ranger had warned us that they were “rather moody lately” but they didn’t seem to mind my antics as we walked through their pasture. The bison are a relatively new addition to the preserve, reintroduced to the area in 2009 with 13 bison from Wind Cave National Park, with the hopes of growing the herd to near 100 in the future.
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- 03.28.21 : Looking through the upper opening of Double O Arch in the Devil’s Garden section of Arches National Park. For scale, this opening is 71 feet wide by 45 feet high.03.27.21 : One of those magic moments happened at Corona Arch in Moab the other week. As we started back toward the car after sunset, we happened to turn around on just the right section of trail and at just the right moment to see the full moon coming up over the arch. Five minutes sooner or later and we would have missed it.03.31.21 : View from the Chesler Park Trail in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. From top to bottom: La Sal mountains, bluffs of the Colorado River gorge, the Needles.03.30.21 : Hiking through enormous and bizarre sandstone formations at Fisher Towers just northeast of Moab, Utah.03.29.21 : The view from the Lathrop Trail at Canyonlands National Park. This trail descends from the Island In The Sky down to the White Rim Road with amazing views of Airport Tower and jagged canyons leading to the Colorado River.03.28.21 : Looking through Tower Arch in the Klondike Bluffs section (the least visited area) of Arches National Park.