We made a trip to Topeka yesterday to do research at the Kansas Museum of History. The building is located west of the city on the edge of the prairie.
We didn't find any helpful new information in our genealogy search, but we did enjoy the day. The research center has lots of historical records, both in books and on microfilm. I now remember what it was like to search census reports on microfilm. The computer and internet resources have made the task of finding our ancestors so much easier. However, not everything is online so it is good to have places like this.
The most interesting part of the day was a walk on the nature trail that loops around the museum. It passes through tall grass prairie and woods. During our second summer of volunteering at state and national parks, we learned about the prairie at Fort Parker State Park in Texas. We staffed the nature center each weekend. The American prairie has (or had before modern farming) three forms or types: tall grass, mixed grass and short grass. Look at how tall the tall grass really is. I am 5'6" tall.
We walked through about two miles of prairie and woods.
There were several different bridges built by the early settlers in Kansas.
They have preserved a one-room school, the Stach School which was built in 1877.
We saw evidence of heavy rain or other run-off eroding a creek bank.
And a wood rat nest. I hope I never encounter the rat that built this!
Once before, in a campground on the Texas-Oklahoma boarder, we saw the fruit of the Osage orange. It is very interesting and might make a good Christmas decoration if it didn't rot by then.
Since leaving Colorado, most of our time has been spent driving down the highway, staying in urban RV parks and visiting libraries and towns. It was so good to get out in nature again.