Monument Rocks, Kansas: Molly and Bobo Take a Vacation
Kansas is the flattest place I have ever seen. Pancake flat. I-70 is one long stretch of flat, mile after mile of farmland speckled with occasional bouts of religious billboards. If you want to find your fate in the afterlife based on a billboard, I-70 in Kansas is the place to be.
It was just me and hubby. The kids and grand-kids weren’t going so we brought the next best thing, a stuffed family. In the video you will see part of the zoo-crew (as hubby calls them). The monkey is BoBo and the pig is Molly be Golly. You might be surprised how many grandparent type couples we saw with stuffed kids or perhaps grand-kids along on their trip. So, I didn’t feel too awkward dragging stuffed animals around to have their pictures taken. Back to talking about Kansas.
Nestled deep in all this flatitute is a natural site that took my breath away. I called it the Monument Valley of the Mid-west. They call it Monument Rocks and Castle Rocks. We found it only because of a small sign on the side of the road and a reference in the Welcome to Kansas booklet.
It is located down a very long, meandering, dirt road through private ranches. There are no fences and cattle do have the right-of-way. The monoliths are considered a National Monument by the Department of the Interior and one of Kansas’ wonders.
I was positive, despite the sign saying public monument; we were going to get shot for driving across someone’s ranch. There was no hiding. There were no trees or buildings for most of the twenty-some miles of dirt road to the monuments.
They seemed to erupt out of the flatland before our eyes. Buttresses of chilling, lonely, death-white stone at least two stories high. We slowed the van down to a crawl and said nothing. There were no words to describe the awe in this eighty-million-year-old byproduct of the Niobrara Sea that once traversed from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada though this site.
I got out of the van and just stood. The only sound I heard was wind singing around and through the stone arches. The milky buttresses hungrily sucked in the rays of the bright sun leaving nothing behind. They were not quartz as I expected, but made of white chalk with streaks of grey lines.
I walked around the monoliths and arches trying to wrap my brain around my feelings. It was more than mere awe. It was spiritual. I was walking in the footsteps of countless others before me and walking over countless fossils of marine animals long ago extinct. I pulled out my camera, a video recorder and a digital voice recorder. I walked around for about an hour taking over a hundred pictures, a video, and recorded my thoughts and the environment. I left knowing I had not succeeded in capturing the experience. Some places refuse to be captured.
As we pulled away, I felt remorse and watched the site disappear in the dusty trail of our van’s wheels. I often tease that I am a restless wanderer but in this place, I felt grounded. If you get a chance, go see it. I understand the land where it sits was sold late last year but I am under the impression, visitors are still welcomed. ** Beware of rattle snakes! There are no bathroom facilities! *****
Directions: (derived from Kathy Weiser’s site, Legends of America)
Monument Rocks is located about 28 miles southeast of Oakley Kansas. Take U.S. 83 south, then 4 miles east on Jayhawk Road, 3 miles south, and 1 mile east (dry weather road only). From Scott City, travel 18 miles north on U.S. 83, east 2 miles on Dakota Road, 1 mile north, 3½ miles east, and 2½ miles north.
Castle Rock can be reached by taking the Quinter Exit #107 off I-70, traveling 15 miles south on Castle Rock Road to the intersection of GO-80 and GO-K, then 4 miles east to Castle Rock sign, and north across a cattle guard (dry weather road only).
Posted on April 9, 2013, in Are We There Yet? Travel Meanderings and tagged badlands, billboards, family, grand-kids, humor, Kansas, monkey, monoliths, Monument Rocks, national monument, pig, Travel, zoo. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.