Tuesday, March 08, 2005
As I posted earlier, I went to Dodge City last weekend to attend a wedding. Bree and I had a great time rediscovering the western half of the state. When we arrived in Dodge City on Saturday, we decided to visit historic Boot Hill.
Boot Hill is a detailed reconstruction of Dodge City during its bustling time as a Longhorn cattle shipping point. The museum is a very neat place full of information about Wyatt Earp, "Doc" Holliday, Bat Masterson and other famous lawmen and outlaws of the wild west.
I also read about the herd of approximately 4 million buffalo that used to call the land around Dodge City home. 4 million buffalo in a single heard! I can't even properly imagine such a scene. There are written accounts of cowboys and others who sometimes found themselves amongst this herd with nothing visible but buffalo for as far as the eye could see. Perhaps the more amazing fact is that this herd, along with the 65 million other buffalo in the midwest, was reduced to less than 1000 total in a 20 year period by buffalo hunters. Kinda sad. There are a few small buffalo herds still maintained by ranchers around Kansas, but the vast herds are definitely a thing of the past.
On our way back on Sunday, we spontaneously decided to take a small detour to Fort Larned after seeing a road sign. This fort is perhaps the best maintained, most original army fort remaining from the mid to late 1800's era. It was built to help protect the Santa Fe trail. Touring the actual buildings once inhabited by General George Custer and others from the Civil War period gave me some butterflies. We even got to see some actual ruts from the Santa Fe trail that have been preserved for all these years. Pretty cool!
Then, in the bookstore at Fort Larned, I found a national parks passport. Now I can get this little doohicky stamped, or "canceled", at every national park I visit. Here are my inaugural cancellations from Fort Larned and the Santa Fe trail.
Now I'm anxious to get more, and mad that I didn't have the book earlier in life when I was in New York City, Buffalo, the Grand Canyon, D.C. and other places. I missed out on so many cancellation stations! Now I just have to make return trips I guess. I think my next stop will be the Brown v. The Board of Education museum in Topeka. That's just a hop, skip and a jump from my door.
So, Kansas really does have some interesting sites to see. If your interest is piqued by any of these places, please come and visit. I'll give you a personal tour if you wish. What fun that would be!