July 13, 2024

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Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

A Cool Fall Morning Visit

Much of North America, around 400,000 square miles or so, was once covered by tallgrass prairie lands. Fast forward to today and you find less than 4 % of that prairie remains. Kansas is home to 10,861 of those remaining acres of tallgrass prairie.  The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is located in the Flint Hills area of Kansas near Cottonwood Falls and two miles north of  Strong City on Highway 177.  The preserve is a joint effort of the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy. There’s quite a bit to see including the original Z Bar Ranch House and outbuildings including a huge limestone barn.  Nearby is the old one room schoolhouse.

Recent I joined several other photographers for an early fall outing to the preserve.  We arrived shortly after dawn on a rather chilly morning.  Everything was covered with a lovely (but cool)  light layer of frost.

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The frost quickly melted into tiny reflective water droplets which glowed when backlighted by the morning sun.

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It was chilly to make the images and really rather damp.  But it was a fun experience. The day warmed up with the rising sun helping the photographers to warm up a bit as well. (Full Disclosure – I am NOT a cold weather photographer!)

Below: The prairie spreads out unobstructed to the horizon west of highway 177.

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Topping one of the hills near the Z Bar Ranch is the old one room school house.

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The grasses do get tall out here – hence the name Tallgrass Prairie.TG6

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There are multiple types of grasses -some taller than others and some more colorful.

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I’m a bit on the tall side – about 6 ft. 4 inches.  As you can see – some of this grass does get rather tall!

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We had a great time visiting and photographing the area.  Cottonwood Falls is the county seat of Chase County, Kansas and has a classic and beautiful stone Courthouse.

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After a busy morning of prairie photography we had a great lunch in Strong City at the very local Longhorn Saloon.  (If you visit – try the hand cut french fries – excellent!)  With full tummies  we headed out for the two hour drive back to Kansas City.  The shooting was done but now we had lots of prairie  photos to review and edit.

 

Visit The Kansas Prairie …………. And Enjoy The Adventure!

Dr.B, The Photo Trekker

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