Homage to the Flint Hills

Hills in Kansas? Yes, Kansas has the rolling Flint Hills where you’ll see tall grass prairie, limestone outcroppings, and a sky that goes on forever. It’s in the south-central part of the state.

I grew up nearby, and my mother spent her childhood in the Flint Hills. We love the sweeping vistas and subtle folds of the Flint Hills area. It was always a treat to take a scenic drive through the Flint Hills and to watch for windmills, prairie fires and big thunderheads.

Photo by Virginia Allain of the Kansas Flint Hills.

Photo by Virginia Allain of the Kansas Flint Hills.

Anyone who thinks Kansas is flat and featureless has never seen the Flint Hills. In Mom’s book, she talks about the thrill of seeing a prairie wildfire at night sweep across the hills.

In her collection of books, there was one of paintings of the Flint Hills. Each featured artist wrote about how the region inspired them. Artist Judy Love of Manhattan, Kansas wrote this, “The changes of light and color through the day and through the seasons transform these ancient hills into an incredible beauty that leaves me speechless.” She said that painting was her way of showing a “bit of what my heart feels.”

Here’s that book:

She loved the prairie wildflowers and taught us the names for some of them.

This one is aptly named the butterfly weed. (photo by Virginia Allain) Its official name is Asclepias tuberosa.

This one is aptly named the butterfly weed. (photo by Virginia Allain) Its official name is Asclepias tuberosa.

The hardy wildflowers of the windswept prairie can withstand drought and harsh conditions. Give them a try in your yard.

It’s hard to capture the prairie with a camera. Somehow the hills just flatten out under that big sky. As you cruise along in your car with the windows down, pull over now and then at the crest of a hill. Get out and admire the wildflowers. Listen to the sound of the meadowlark and notice the scissortail flycatcher or the hawk on the telephone wire.

The Flint Hills Poster
The Flint Hills Poster by Kcstore

Let your eyes follow the road as it forms a ribbon through the curves and folds of the land. Note the sparse trees revealing the line of a creek wending through the hills.

Savor it. The Flint Hills are a special place much loved by Kansans.

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