"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Sunday, August 1, 2021

SO MUCH to see in Scott City, Kansas - Old Jerusalem Badlands & Monument Rocks/Chalk Canyon

Scott City, Kansas
Lake Scott State Park


An interesting stop on the way to Scott City, on the far western side of Kansas, was to find the oldest geocache in the world.  Who would've thought it was right here in Kansas? 
This isn't it but it was a very artistic hide nearby.  The cache was inside the log.  Some people are so creative.
The cache location was right off Highway 70 near the town of Oakley.  It was placed in 2000 when geocaching began and is still in operation.
We parked at a trucker station and a nice guy came up and asked us if we were here for Mungo.  That is the name of the geocache.  We said yes so he joined us on the hunt.  It was fun meeting you Woody.
Lake Scott State Park, W/30, $23, #110.
This is our 3rd state park on a lake here in Kansas.  Scott Lake is much prettier than the others.  It's smaller but it's not on the open plains so it isn't as windy.  We have a lot planned here so I'm not sure we'll be able to get the kayak out here either.  There is plenty to see and do here to keep you busy for a week.
We had a nice view of the lake.
Just down the road is Little Jerusalem Badlands In the miles and miles of flat plains, there is a mile long stretch of 100 foot tall spires and cliffs of eroded Niobrara Chalk.  This rock was deposited about 85 million years ago.  It was formed by sediment at the bottom of an inland ocean.
There were so many sunflowers out and I didn't know that I captured, by luck, this dragonfly.
This was the back way from the cliffs to our campground.  Really pretty.
We had a full day and watched the sun sink down behind the hill.

Nearby the campground was a monument to the Battle Canyon of 1878.  It marks the last encounter in the state of Kansas between the Native Americans and US Troops.


We hiked around here a bit and came to the Sanctuary Cave.
It's so hot out here even the cows went for a swim.

Another must see out here is a drive out to Monument Rocks & Chalk Canyons.  It's located just a few miles off of SR83.  It sits on private rangeland but thankfully the owner permits the public to access and visit for free.  What is nice about this area compared to Little Jerusalem Badlands, is you can walk right up to them.  They are fragile so you can't climb or walk on them.  I was amazed to see that no one has carved "Joe loves Mary" on them causing the rancher to make them off limits.

The iconic Eye of the Needle.  These outcroppings are 70 feet tall.

We walked all around and watched the clouds come and go as we took pictures.

We enjoyed walking around and looking at all the interesting shapes.

Hurley would take advantage of any shade he could find out here in the heat.




And right across the road is another set of outcroppings.








In 1858 the Smoky Hill Trail was started when gold was discovered at a nearby creek.  David A. Butterfield had it re-surveyed in 1865 and asked the government for protection for his freight and stage company, the Butterfield Overland Despatch (BOD).  On 9/11/1865 the first stagecoach left Atchison, KS and arrived in Denver 12 days later.  The fare of $175 didn't even include meals.  These markers were placed on every main road from Ft. Ellsworth to the Colorado state line across the state.

One of many old, historic cemeteries out on the windy, lonely plains.

The Buffalo Bill Cultural Center was built in 2005.  It's rather small but has some interesting local history

Hey, is that Buffalo Steve?  Bill's twin?
From 1867-1868 the Kansas Pacific Railroad was being built in buffalo country.  West of Hays was dangerous for hunting to provide fresh buffalo meat for the crews due to hostile Indians.
There were many rock and mineral and dinosaur displays but my favorite were the pictures painted and decorated with tiny seashells collected from the area.  The tree trunks and leaves are shells and bits of animal fossils.
Flowers are shells.
This shark is made from hundreds of shark teeth and animal fossils.
Of all the farm and business implements I liked the Ice Cube Cutter.
A Tylosaurus Proriger.
Look at those teeth.
Seems like pretty low miles?  Maybe they didn't have many fires back then?

After the museum we stopped for this amusing geocache.
Across from the towns grain mills was a Dairy King.  We do like to pop into a Dairy QUEEN once in a while for a Blizzard so we thought we'd stop here and support the local business.  Instead of a Blizzard they off you a Tornado.  Apropo for Kansas.

Back at our campground there is some Pueblo Ruins we stopped in to see.






Our very last stop was to purchase some bison meat from the rancher next door.
Richard and Susan Duff of Duff's Buffalo Ranch were very nice and offered to take us on a tour of their ranch the next day but we were leaving so perhaps another time.  If you are in the area, they have fantastic cuts of bison.  Delicious!
Two Kansas City Strips and two Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignons.
What is the difference between buffalo and bison?  Buffalo are native to Africa and South Asia (think Water Buffalo) while Bison are native to North America and what we are more familiar with.