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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- 10.10.21 : The waterfalls of Hocking Hills State Park. Pics 1 and 2: Upper and Lower Falls along the Grandma Gatewood Trail near Old Man’s Cave. Pic 3: Cedar Falls.10.10.21 : The rhythm of the campsite… night, sunrise and afternoon from our wooded oasis at Stacked Stones Retreat in the Hocking Hills.10.09.21 : Had an awesome private evening ride with Becky at Blue Moon Acres Stables in the Hocking Hills. We rode the father/daughter team of Stroker (Nick) and Mystique (Neil).10.09.21 : Took a walk around the earthworks at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park on the way to our camping weekend in Ohio’s Hocking Hills. These geometric ceremonial mounds were built by native cultures that lived in the area from about 200 BCE through 500 CE. The park is made up of six separate sites located around Chillicothe, Ohio.07.29.21 : The final big hike of our summer trip was Pennsylvania Mountain near Fairplay, Colorado. It’s not a well-known peak, but it’s a 13er and provides great views of the continental divide and surrounding mountain ranges in a quick (but steep) 5 mile round trip.07.21.21 : At 9 miles, our hike down the Grand Canyon’s North Kaibab Trail was our longest and by far the most strenuous hike of the summer. We went as far as Roaring Springs, 4.5 miles and 3,200 feet below the rim.