Showing posts from August, 2008

The Flint Hills of Kansas

The Flint Hills of eastern Kansas harbor the largest remaining pieces of the Tallgrass Prairie Ecoregion. They are one of the few remaining places where the human eye can encompass the great ocean of grass so frequently and eloquently described by early American travelers and settlers.

Here, the wind, the openness and the omnipresent sky all commingle and instantaneously transport you away from modernity to a timeless place where you feel, thankfully and willingly, abandoned. Dream-like, you sense the ghosts of bison and feel that subtle, tenderly ancestral, thrill of open country.

Formed by the shallow seas of the Permian (280-240mya), limestone, riddled with insoluble chert concretions, gives the hills their distinctive “plateau” shape. The residual chert gravel and stones have rendered the region unfit for row-crop agriculture. It is this feature that has spared the region from the ill fate of the plow. Secondarily, the regional climate is too dry for most exotic cool season grasses.…