Over three days we went to three Kansas state parks plus one bonus site! Driving through Kansas was more interesting than I expected. After a while of driving, everything started to look like an abstract painting. There would be a patch of yellow-orange up against a patch of rust red, or a bright yellow stripe, or a cluster of dark green adjacent to a yellow ochre. And there's all that going on below the sky that is a wash of blue and gray and white, or a big purple shape, or sometimes brown, which is scary when driving through Kansas.
The first stop on this leg was Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park, a precious little place you really have to want to get to to go there, as there are various gravel roads involved in the directions. It's made up of Niobrara chalk formations that were just so interesting and unexpected. It is also a working ranch, so cows were just milling around and we had to walk through them to get back to the car.
The next day we drove to Monument Rocks, which is pretty close to Little Jerusalem, but while Little Jerusalem felt sort of sunken, like the landscape suddenly dropped off into these chalk formations, the Monument Rocks rocks rose up from the ground. It is another type of chalk formation, I think - I didn't take any notes there. I do know that it's private land that the land owners leave open for the general public to visit.
About a half an hour away was Lake Scott State Park, also "sunken" landscape like Little Jerusalem. But otherwise the landscape was so different than that one and Monument Rocks - it was lush and full of trees.
We found a great spot on the lake with a picnic table and I sketched while Toby smoked a cigar. I got to focus on my new favorite tree, the cottonwood. We watched a storm roll in so we left, but the storm followed us the whole drive without ever becoming a storm - that's the big purple shape I mentioned earlier.
The next day we went to Fall River State Park.
I'm not sure what was going on there, but it seemed much more like a lake? Anyway, we found a good picnic table spot where the land jutted into the lake/river, and it was VERY WINDY. I made this sketch to try to warm up my hands and make sure I could use them! My cold, shaky hands made some good marks, though.
While I was doing these sketches, Toby was bird watching and telling me the names of all of the birds he was seeing.
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