Were joined a group of friends and went for an early morning walk around Konza Prairie Biological Station. Now, when I say "early", we started walking around 7:30am, and when I say "we", I mean the five or so of us who arrived a little later than the others, who were about 30 minutes ahead of us.
Why so early? Well, it's summer here and the days can be very hot, so the idea was to get a walk in before the day became too hot. And thanks to the cloud cover (and rain) the morning stayed a nice warm temperature. Yay!
It's been a while since Michael, Jimmy, and I had been in the area - and even then we didn't do any walks - so we were enjoying every little thing, including this tiny toad that was the same colour as the path.
I'm so happy Konza Prairie Biological Station exists, because I think it's very important to develop a really sound understanding of an area's ecosystems and ecology, and that is exactly what the Biological Station has been working out.
There are lots of photos to come, just press read more...
I'm feeling a little lost for words because I'm not sure these photos do the area, and the morning, justice. The air was warm (with a touch of cool) and humid (with enough of a breeze about to describe the morning as very pleasant). It was really refreshing.
The rain was never enough to deter us from always choosing the longer path, and helped keep us cool. Even Jimmy didn't mind getting rained on.
There was a bit of thunder at one point, but it never amounted to anything, and rolled by.
This. This is my favourite photo of the landscape. It reminds me of the Darling Downs and yet all the details are different.
We let Jimmy loose a few times. We had to: there was no way he was being carried the whole walk; and he needed to stretch his legs too. He ran where he could and jumped off things when the opportunity presented itself.
This was roughly the point where I put my camera away. Michael put his away too, because it started to rain and we didn't know how wet we might get, so we weren't going to risk our good (read: expensive-ish) cameras. Out came the iPhone. Trusty thing.
Look at that boy run. Oh I love that run. That run helped Jimmy get all the way to Daddy, who decided it was time to wear him. Jimmy wasn't too keen until he realised Daddy had his Camelbak, which meant water! Running is thirsty work.
If it wasn't for the whole tornado alley thing, and the whole it's-a-long-way-from-home, I'd love to live out there. It's quite beautiful.
Prairie wildflowers are something else. And they really only make sense out on the prairie, as much as I'd love to have some at home, they belong in ground not a vase.
It was a good thing Daddy was wearing Jimmy here, because those plants with the yellow flowers (to Michael's right) have lots of spikes. I had a brief encounter with one and was itchy for the rest of the day.
More prairie flowers, thanks to Michael (but on my phone). They are amazing and so different to what we're used to.
All up, we were outside for about 3 hours. We were all wet, sweaty, and hungry, even Jimmy, who had the best seat on the prairie for much of the walk. We piled into the cars and were eager for brunch (except Jimmy, he wanted to explore the carpark and help Daddy find a Geocache, which we'll have to go back for, because there wasn't time).
We enjoyed brunch at Bluestem Bistro. one of the few places open on Sunday morning. It was good to sit down. It was good to eat. Naturally, we chose tables outside.
On the drive home I looked back at Jimmy and saw one tired little boy. He had been up since 6:30am, nearly 6 hours by this stage, he had seen sights he hadn't seen before, and spent time with more people than he usually does. He passed out just as we arrived home and slept for over 3 hours.
Konza Prairie Biological Station for the win. Head there if you happen to come to (or near) Manhattan, KS. We ended up doing the Konza Godwin Hill Loop, but there are shorter walks.