Located in the Red Hills near Ashland, KS in Clark County is the Big Basin Prairie Preserve. Owned and managed by Kansas Wildlife and Parks it consists of 1,800 acres, where you will be able to explore a sinkhole that is 1 mile across and 100′ deep, known as the Big Basin. Big Basin and other sinkholes in the area were formed when layers of gypsum and salt formations dissolved and collapsed causing the sinks. There is a smaller sinkhole to the east of the Big Basin known as the Little Basin. Located in the Little Basin is St. Jacobs well.
Buffalo roam free. Be sure you know where they are before getting out of your car or hiking.
St. Jacobs Well is down this rugged trail.
This pool of water is St. Jacobs well, a natural sinkhole that has never been dry.
Little Basin – St. Jacobs well is the group of trees in the center.
On a hot summer day I can’t think of a better place to be than on the back roads of Kansas, (well maybe out on a lake or high on a cool mountain top) but here we were temperature 105, heat index 112, on the back roads.
Off the beaten path in a remote pasture in north Ottawa County, KS stands a sentinel over looking the vast prairie. Known as the Smithalo, it is a 60 ton monument to the American Bison, built by Ray Smith with the help of his brother Chester in 1977-1978.
The monument can be seen from miles away. It is on the right side of the hilltop.
Bull and Cow
Cow and calf
The monument is constructed out of steel, stone, and concrete. There are lightning rods attached to the monument since it is the highest point for miles.
Mr. Smith started breeding buffalo in the 1960. He also was know for at one time having lions, bears and camel. He passed away in 1999. He is buried by his beautiful monument to the American Bison.
All photos were taken with my Sony camera and zoom lens from the road. I can only imagine how awesome it would be to stand by the monument and see the world from there!! Hopefully I will get the chance to see it up close someday.
I had my day all planned out, and none of what I had planned worked out. It is a cool, breezy overcast day and the place I was wanting to go in the Flint Hills would be better photographed on a clear day. Wylie and I loaded up and took the back roads over to Maxwell Wildlife Refuge near Canton, Kansas. Here’s what we saw today.
Abandoned bridge outside of Assaria, KS
I didn’t find any information on Hallville, KS. There is one home currently occupied, I could find no other remains of any buildings. It was along an abandoned train track.
Olive Springs School was built in 1885 and was used as a school until 1947. It is now an art gallery displaying the painting and prints of a local artist, Maleta Forsberg.
Bridge near the entrance to Maxwell Wildlife Refuge
Maxwell Wildlife Refuge is home to 200 head of bison and 50 elk. They roam free on the 2800 acre natural prairie.
Just west of the Refuge is McPherson State fishing lake, where we saw this lone eagle.