Arikaree Breaks in Kansas with Zeb the Duck

Here we are in Kansas.

Entering Kansas

Entering Kansas

This is the farmland we expect to see in Kansas, but today we are looking for something else.  We are looking for the Arikaree Breaks.   Driving on US Highway 36 into St. Francis, Kansas, we head north at the courthouse.   The humans are following the self driving tour of the area.   First stop is the G.A.R. Cemetery.

G A R Cemetery

G A R Cemetery

The east half was to be for Grand Army of the Republic veterans and their families.   These are veterans of the United States Civil War.

Civil War Veteran and his wife

Civil War Veteran and his wife

The west half was for citizens and their families.  No lots were to be sold; only a donation for the deed was taken.   The intention was to provide an honorable burial to destitute veterans of the Civil War.  This cemetery was established in 1889.   Our map led us over 4 creeks, most of which were dry.  Next stop was Horse Thief Cave.

Entrance to Horse Thief Cave

Entrance to Horse Thief Cave

Along the side of the road, near the entrance to Horse Thief Cave was this mailbox.

A mailbox for Horse Thief Cave?

A mailbox for Horse Thief Cave?

Why a mailbox?  Who receives mail here?  I, Zeb the Duck, have no idea.  This is the back of the cave.

Where is the rest of the cave?

Where is the rest of the cave?

Wait a minute.   What happened here?  Our map tells us most of the cave has caved in, leaving only the entrance.   When the cave was last used in 1878, there were 2 rooms back here.   The outlaws used the front room as their living quarters.   There was a large back chamber where the stolen horses were kept.  Looking behind the cave, this is certainly not the flat Kansas farmland we expected.

Not flat Kansas landscape here

Not flat Kansas landscape here

Driving further, we find the Lookout Point.

Arikaree Break

Arikaree Break

This is a canyon.   It is beautiful in its own way.  These Arikaree Breaks are 36 miles long and two to three miles wide.   They are really great to see.  Further along, we are reminded that this really is farm country.   The cows are grazing in the breaks.

Cows in the breaks

Cows in the breaks

They get in and out of the breaks on their own.   Information from the nearby city of St. Francis tells us about this area.  The Arikaree Breaks were formed by wind deposited sand, silt, and clay particles, called loess.  After deposition, the loess has undergone spectacular processes of head cutting, and sidewall cutting the advancing tributaries of the Arikaree River and the South Fork of the Republican River.   This all happened during the Holocene Age, a little less than 9,000 years ago.  The humans tell me we will drive through a private farm, with permission from the farmer, to see 3 corners.   I really don’t know what that means.   But, along the way, I see two new friends watching me.

We are being watched

We are being watched

I love to see deer.   We also saw a large flock of wild turkeys.  They humans tell me 3 corners is where 3 of our states all meet.   This is the sign explaining everything.

3 Corners. Meeting of Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado.

3 Corners. Meeting of Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado.

We are in Kansas, Nebraska is directly north and Colorado is on the east.  Here I am where these three states meet.

Marking the exact meeting of three states

Marking the exact meeting of three states

This is a great marker and I, Zeb the Duck, am glad to be here.   I wanted to sit on the fence post to gaze over these three states.

Observing 3 states. Getting flatter in all directions.

Observing 3 states. Getting flatter in all directions.

You can see that the land is getting flatter, the typical land of Western Kansas, Western Nebraska and Eastern Colorado.   We are heading back to Colorado now.

Heading back home

Heading back home

It is always good to go home.   On the drive back, we reflect on the Kansas landscape we saw.

We really did see this in NW Kansas. Badlands?

We really did see this in NW Kansas. Badlands?

This looks more like the Badlands of North and South Dakota, but it is the Arikaree Breaks in Northwest Kansas.   We hope you drive around your area and see some surprising features also.

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Western Kansas with Zeb, Soapy Smith and JB Duck

Ducks, let’s get in the car.   Those are some of our favorite words.  Driving east on I-70 from Denver, we passed Limon and Burlington and entered Kansas.

We are entering Kansas

We are entering Kansas

Naturally the first stop was the Kansas Welcome Center for travel information.

Let's find out what to see

Let’s find out what to see

The wind was strong here.   Our next stop was Goodland, Kansas to see the Van Gogh.   A huge, 80 foot tall, reproduction of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Three Sunflowers in a Vase”, on an easel stands tall in Goodland.

Replica of Van Gogh's Three Sunflowers in a Vase

Replica of Van Gogh’s Three Sunflowers in a Vase

The reproduction was painted by a Canadian artist, Cameron Cross.   If you are on I-70 in western Kansas, you should stop in Goodland to see this.   Continuing east we took Exit 70 to Oakley, Kansas.   As you may guess, this was the home of Annie Oakley, originally Annie Moses.    We stopped at the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center.

Buffalo Bill Cultural Center

Buffalo Bill Cultural Center

The big attraction here is the statue on a hill.

Buffalo Bill and a Buffalo

Buffalo Bill and a Buffalo

Buffalo Bill and a buffalo.   Inside, the Colorado Traveling Ducks, sat on the head of a buffalo.

Colorado Traveling Ducks sitting on a buffalo's head

Colorado Traveling Ducks sitting on a buffalo’s head

We believe this was our first buffalo sitting.   Buffalos are big.   So far, Kansas was all farmland.

Kansas farm

Kansas farm

We headed south on Hwy 83 toward Oklahoma, and soon we saw pumping oil wells.

Pumping oil wells

Pumping oil wells

Turning off the highway onto dirt roads, we were heading for Monument Rocks.   We liked this view of the road.   There are not many trees, but these two near a river bed formed an arch over the road.

We like the trees over the road

We like the trees over the road

Suddenly we spotted the Monument Rocks, also known as the Chalk Pyramids of Kansas.

Monument Rocks

Monument Rocks

The 70 foot tall sedimentary formations of the Niobrara Chalk were created 80 million years ago when Kansas was a vast inland sea.   We parked and walked around some of the chalk pyramids.   They are really big and we are really small.   Mom had to be careful where we sat.   The wind blew us away a few times.

We are in this photo

We are in this photo

We love arches.   We three ducks are on the ground on the right side of the arch.

Colorado Traveling Ducks on right side of arch

Colorado Traveling Ducks on right side of arch

If you look closely, you can see us.   These Monument Rocks, or Chalk Pyramids were the first to be designated as a National Natural Landmark by the US Department of the Interior.   These Chalk Pyramids are on private rangeland but the owner opened the land to the public.   The Chalk Pyramids are fragile, and humans are asked not to climb on them.   The Monument Rocks, or Chalk Pyramids are on both sides of this dirt road.

Monuments Rocks or Chalk Pyramids of Kansas

Monuments Rocks or Chalk Pyramids of Kansas    Mom is experimenting with the panorama feature on the camera.

We think these formations, about 27 miles south of I-70 are worth the time to leave the interstate and see some of what Kansas has to offer.   When you are in Kansas, be prepared for lots of wind.

Cousin Duck Goes to Topeka, Kansas

None of the Colorado Traveling Ducks have visited Kansas.     Mom’s friend, Tom and his son, Mike, took Cousin Duck to Topeka to the 140th reunion of Topeka Lutheran School.   Tom was a teacher there from 1971-1974.     They checked into a motel in Topeka, near the school, and Cousin Duck found something new.

What is on the pillow?

What is on the pillow?

What is this, he asked?     This is a mask for a CPAP machine.

Now I can sleep better

Now I can sleep better

Cousin Duck says he breathes better with this mask.   Driving around Topeka they found the house where Tom, Mike and the rest of the family lived in Topeka.

The humans lived here over 40 years ago.

The humans lived here over 40 years ago.

Big yard here.   They are now in the school, the home of the Topeka Lutheran Wildcats.

Am I a Wildcat?

Am I a Wildcat?

Cousin Duck now thinks he is a Wildcat.

A trophy

A trophy

Some of the former students are holding a trophy, won when they were teenagers.   Wildcat Duck likes Brad and Pam, his new friends.

Brad and Pam are Wildcat Duck's new friends

Brad and Pam are Wildcat Duck’s new friends

They were Tom’s former students.     Now what is this?

Paddles?

Paddles?

In the early 1970s students could be paddled if they misbehaved in school.   Mmmmm.   Sometimes a little persuasion teaches students valuable lessons.   The students that were paddled realized that maybe they deserved it and none were angry about things now.   For more information about this school, visit http://www.TopekaLutheran.org   Sunday, Tom and Mike, with the newly named Wildcat Duck visited Washburn University.

Wildcat Duck at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas

Wildcat Duck at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas

Across from the University is a great store.   They went into Time Machine Records and More.   Another former student, Brent, was there.   Look at this album from Freak Brothers.

Ducks love vinyl!

Ducks love vinyl!

Wildcat Duck really like the figures behind him.   This is the immensely popular band, KISS.

Wildcat Duck is with KISS

Wildcat Duck is with KISS

That is so perfect.   Everybody loves KISS.    For more information about this store visit http://www.timemachinerecordstopeka.com   We think Wildcat Duck had a great trip.   But it was time for them to leave Kansas and come back to Colorado.

Goodbye Kansas

Goodbye Kansas

Thanks for the trip Tom and Mike.   I, Wildcat Duck, had a great time.