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Old 07-20-2012, 06:39 PM   #1816
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:26 PM   #1817
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Somewhere east of Coulee City WA last week

Originally Posted by Javarilla

Evolution, or, natural selection, has nothing to do with better.

It merely weeds out what is no longer suitable for the given context.

Originally Posted by Dragoon

I would rather be on my motorcycle thinking about God than in church thinking about my motorcycle.
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:23 AM   #1818
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:37 PM   #1819
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Originally Posted by Sod Buster View Post
You almost expect to see the Duke riding up the path :)
love the "sepia" look
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:53 PM   #1820
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Old 07-26-2012, 05:42 AM   #1821
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Nome, Alaska area

These photos were taken on the Kougarok Road outside of Nome, Alaska. The vegetation is different, but these rolling hills of Alaskan tundra reminded me of the rolling prairies in my home state of Wyoming.

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks," John Muir.
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:19 PM   #1822
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13,000 acres of Kansas History for sale...

I would call Monument Rocks the very Heart of the Great Plains. But I am biased. It is the dead center of the Great Plains, its also a part of the land that played a great part in the efforts of the tribes of the Southern Great Plains as they fought a hopeless battle to stop the Smoky Hill Road first and then the Rail Road, but to no avail. I-70 is proof of that.

Dear Ted Turner, please buy this property, place Buffalo on it once again, and leave it open the way you did the Z-Bar in Barber and Comanche County, Kansas!

Monument Rocks on The Auction Block.

Special to The Hays Daily News
GOVE COUNTY -- One of the Eight Wonders of Kansas is on the auction block.
Gove County's Monument Rocks, part of the nearly 13,000-acre Pyramid Ranch, is being sold in a private phone auction by Ulysses real estate firm Faulkner Real Estate.
However, these chalk formations are just part of what is on the sale bill.
The acreage is the site of prehistoric fossil finds, a stagecoach route and a post-Civil War fort.
And, in a time when the state is capitalizing on oil and gas exploration, the sale also includes more than 12,000 acres of mineral rights.
"It's one of the most unique, amazing properties we have ever marketed," said Mark Faulkner, owner of the real estate agency.
"We're pretty excited about it."
Historic site
Monument Rocks, also know as the Chalk Pyramids by locals, are 50-foot-tall spires. The formations -- a National Natural Landmark -- were formed when the central interior of the United States was covered by a seaway.
Monument Rocks was an important landmark on the Butterfield Overland Dispatch Trail.
The acreage for sale also includes the site of Fort Monument, a post-Civil War fort established in 1865 to protect the stagecoach and mail route.
The fort closed in June 1868. Some depressions are still visible.

It's also the site of fossil finds, including a mosasaur considered the "T-Rex of the Sea," said Chris Faulkner, a broker with the real estate agency and Mark Faulkner's son.
Pyramid Ranch also is the location of a Native American territorial marker and spiritual site. It also has two graves of U.S. Cavalry soldiers, Chris Faulkner said.

Selling shares
The property is a working cattle ranch purchased by the late Hody Thies, a Great Bend banker who served as mayor of Barton County's seat from 1945 to 1949, along with another relative, after World War II.
Thies Pyramid Corp., with J.M. Thies as president, is selling the ranch. A phone call to J.M. Thies was not returned Monday.
Chris Faulkner said the real estate agency is marketing the land, but the buyer actually is purchasing all outstanding shares of Thies Pyramid Corp.
"The only thing (the corporation) owns is the ranch," Chris Faulkner said. Selling the shares is a way to help minimize taxes.
Grass pasture in western Kansas alone could bring upwards of $600 an acre, Chris Faulkner said. This parcel, however, includes history, as well as the mineral rights.
"There are a lot of interesting qualities," Chris Faulkner said. "I can't say what it is truly worth."
Chris Faulkner said he didn't think the agency ever had sold anything of this magnitude.
"We have been selling agricultural property for almost 30 years," he said. "We do a lot of land auctions. But we have never sold anything quite like this."

The auction is taking place through the firm's phone auction concept. Those interested in the property can place bids through 5:30 p.m. Aug. 14 During the auction process, bidders' names are confidential. However, the current bid is public information.
"We'll keep calling them back until everyone says they are done but one," Chris Faulkner said.
There have been no bidders so far after a week of marketing the property, he said.

Open to tourists
A nearby public county road goes through the monument site. While they own the actual formation, the Thies family left the site open to tourists.
Barbara Shelton, a partner in the Keystone Gallery on the Scott/Logan county line located not far from Monument Rocks, said she sees visitors regardless of the weather who either are coming or going to the site and stop by the gallery.
"People were down here last weekend when it was 105," she said.
"I guess we'll see who buys it and what they do," she said about keeping it open to tourists. "It'll be their property to do with what they wish."
Chris Faulkner said, as far as he knows, "there are no provisions for keeping access public."

"This would strictly be the new owners' call, but I would hope they would continue the legacy of this fine property," he said.
Marci Penner, director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, the organization that honored Monument Rocks, along with nearby Castle Rock, as among the "Eight Wonders," said the natural historic site is disappearing. Some of the formations have crumbled away, both at the Monument Rocks and Castle Rock sites.
She hoped the new owner would keep the site open to the public.
"When you first see it, your jaw drops," Penner said. "It is this tall, chalk sentinel out there on the flat prairie. It is so unusual to see it."

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Old 07-28-2012, 04:42 PM   #1823
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Losing that horizon would be such a lose.

It would be a shame to see an oil well or mining operation on the horizon. Hope Ted or someone steps up. If nothing else it looks like the state or fed gov would zone at least part of the area so it would not be destroyed.

Ted, where are you when we need you.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:45 PM   #1824
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1865 stage ride up the B.O.D.

In 1865 Theodore H. Davis, artist for Harpers Weekly took a ride up the Smoky Hill Trail to Denver, below is the Monument Rocks area segment of that article, it was not published untill 1867. There were about 30 stage stations from Fort Harker, near Ellsworth Kansas, to the Colorado border. The number changed as stations were burned by the Plains Tribes or relocated by Butterfield, and as the Rail Road reached further and further west fewer stations were needed untill the train reached Denver, thus ending stage travel east to Denver. The Smoky Hill was first used en mass by the Pikes Peakers 1858 59, but thats a whole other story.

(When George A Custer, abandoned Fort Wallace to ride back east to Fort Harker the furthest west the Kansas Pacific had built at that time, he took a train from Fort Harker to Fort Riley, this was during the Cholora epidimic of 1867, to check on Libby's wellfare, for which he would later be court martialed, he rode right down the Smoky Hill past these old Monument Rock's. The view hasn't changed.)

Harpers Weekly 1867.

(Downers is east of the Monuments.)

In the afternoon we reach Downers. The devastation here has been complete. The coach and everything that would burn about the station was destroyed. The ground was everywhere tracked over by the unshod hooves of the Indian ponies. We broke camp at daylight and a few miles from Downer we found a body, or rather the remains of a man, evidently killed the night before. The scalp was gone and the few arrows that still remained in the ribs marked the tribe to which the victim belonged, Cheyennes and Arapahoes. The stations thus far had been deserted but at noon the next day we reached a station where we found a government train corralled. The Indians had attacked the train and driven off a number of the mules. One soldier had been killed, and another shot through the neck with an arrow and scalped, having feigned dead while the Indian was engaged in lifting his hair.

(South of the Monuments lookin north, The Smoky Hill Trail crosses left to right in the pic in between the formation and the tree line. Fort Monument and the stage station stood at far left towards the tree line.)

The Monuments were reached this evening. Near them is a camp of more than 200 soldiers. A fort is to be built, also a station. These monument rocks are considered the most remarkable on the plains. At a distance it is difficult to realize that they are not the handiwork of man, so perfectly do they resemble piles of masonry. We left Monument early on the morning of the 25th to continue our journey. An ambulance, containing a surgeon and four men, accompanied us, as well as the escort of five cavalrymen, Col Tamblyn having left us to return to Fort Hays, considering it safe for us to go on.

The next station was 22 miles distant and by 11 o'clock the driver pointed it out to us. "Thar's Smoky Hill Springs -- purty place, a'int it?" When within half a mile the ambulance left us, taking a short cut to the road on the other side of the station, which was located for convenience to water at some distance from the direct route. The cavalrymen galloped on to the station, which they reached while we were some distant from it.

When within 200 yards of the station we glanced back to see the country over which we had passed and discovered, within 60 yards of the coach, a band of nearly a hundred mounted Indians, charging directly toward us. The sight, frightful as it was, seemed grand. "Here they come!" and the crack of a rifle was responded to by a yell, followed by the singing whiz of arrows and the whistle of revolver bullets. The first shot dropped an Indian, next a pony stopped, trembled and fell.

(The Smoky Hill Trail runs left to right across the stone marker in the pic, 138 of these markers were placed across western Kansas, by Howard Raynesford on north south roads where they cross the Smoky Hill Trail. When you look at one of Howards Markers, its not near the trail or by the trail, it is standing on the trail, turn and look east or west and you are looking directly down the Smoky Hill.)

The driver crouched as the arrows passed over him, and drove his mules steadily toward the station. The deadly fire poured from the coach windows kept a majority of the Indians behind the coach, some however, braver than the rest, rushed past on their ponies, sending a perfect stream of arrows toward the coach as they sped along. We were by this time in front of the station. The cavalrymen opened with with their revolvers and the Indians changed their tactics from close fighting to a circle. One, more daring than the rest was intent on securing the scalp of a stockherder whom he had wounded but lost his own in so doing.

The first brush was over. Then we discovered a sight that was not to be looked at quietly. The four mules attached to the doctor's ambulance were flying across the plain at a dead run, the Indians enveloping it like a swarm of angry hornets. The men in the ambulance were fighting bravely, but the Indians outnumbered them ten to one. If rescue was to be attempted there was not an instant to lose. The five cavalrymen went off at a gallop and seeing them, the men in the ambulance jumped out and ran through the Indians toward them, rightly conjecturing that the indians would secure the ambulance before turning to attack them.

(The Camel)

It was a plucky thing for them to do but the doctor determined that it was their only chance. The Indians caught the mules then turned to look for scalps, which they supposed were to be had for the taking. The doctor and his men were giving them a lively fight when we came up. The value of a well-sighted and balanced rifle was soon evident. With every crack a pony or Indian came to earth. The fire was evidently unendurable and the circle increased in diameter, when, with the rescued men mounted on behind, we slowly moved toward the station, before reaching which, two more dashes were repulsed.

The doctor was one of the gamiest of little men. "Ah!" quoth he, as he gazed through his glass at the crowd of Indians about his ambulance, "I put the contents of the tartar emetic can into the flour before I left the Ambulance, and if that does not disorder their stomachs I won't say a thing -- I only wish it had been strychnine." A redskin had mounted each of the mules, and as many Indians as the vehicle would contain had located themselves in the ambulance for a ride.

(The Key Hole on the left side of the pic below has a legend behind it. The story goes that a group of Buffalo Hunters were camped at the Monuments, placing a target against the side of the Monument to sight in their rifles, in doing so they blasted a small hole threw the formation and over time with erosion it grew to the size it is today.)

The cover had been torn off as it probably impeded their view. Becoming tired of this they detached the mules, unloaded the ambulance and drew it to a point which afforded us the best view of their performance, when, greatly to the indignation of the doctor, they crowned their disrespect for him and his carriage by setting fire to what he declared to be the best ambulance on the plains. The Indians now engaged in a successful dance about the burning ambulance, during the continuance of which, a survey was made of our situation.

(looking through the Key Hole)

The station had been furnished with a garrison of ten soldiers. Five of these, with the best arms and most of the ammunition, had started early in the morning on a buffalo hunt. We had altogether 21 men, armed with 7 rifles and 13 revolvers. For four of the rifles and five of the revolvers we had abundance of ammunition, which it was not possible to use in the other arms, for which there was a scant supply. The station was well located for defence and surrounded by a well-constructed rifle pit. To attack the Indians was not prudent although all were anxious to do so. We could count in the circle about us 105, many more being visible on the bluffs near.

A new style of fighting was now inaugurated by the Indians. The bluff in which the station was located was covered with tall grass, dry, and this was in flames before we were aware of a fire other than that about the ambulance. Each man seized his blanket and started out to meet the fire, which was nearly subdued when a sudden attack was made by the Indians on all sides. For a few moments it was doubtful contest but the Indians were at last driven off and the fire extinguished. Several of our men were suffering with arrow wounds, none of them severe, fortunately, but all needed attention.

At nightfall the Indians withdrew, but this was not a subject for congratulation, for we expected them back during the night. The anticipation was not erroneous. Three hours of darkness had passed, when a rustling whiz cut the air over our heads and the sharp twang of a bowstring informed us that the Indians were very near. Arrows came in flights. The Indians were within close revolver range but a shot from a pistol or rifle would have exposed the person firing as the flash would have revealed his precise location. So many arrows could not be fired among our small party without inflicting serious damage, and that something must be done to drive off the Indians was plain.

One of the party, an old hunter, volunteered to stampede the Indians if he might be permitted to take four revolvers. If he failed, the revolvers would be lost, which would severely cripple our party. Still, it was the last resort, so, divesting himself of garments with the exception of underclothing, he crawled out into the darkness toward the spot from which the twang of bowstrings came the most frequently. In five minutes the repeated crack of his revolvers and the yells of the Indians told of the successful issue of the bold effort.

The bows were still and in another moment our Indian fighter returned to the station to receive the heartfelt thanks of the garrison. The remainder of the night was passed in quiet though sleep was impossible, and dawn found the party on the alert for another attack. It was well for us that we were ready for the Indians had crawled up as closely as possible, evidently intending to rush us if there seemed any chance for success. A single rifle shot seemed to satisfy them as they withdrew in haste, with the exception of one.

Toward noon a body of men were seen approaching from the east. If they were Indians we were gone. If white men, the danger might be said to be over. The Indians observed them as quickly as we, and a band of 20 or 30 started off to reconnoiter. We watched the result anxiously as they rode up toward the newcomers. The Indians wheeled about and returned to the vicinity and in a moment more the whole band were galloping off out of sight over the bluffs. Then we knew that the strangers were white men. They proved to be a company of infantry in wagons, who, together with a small cavalry command were coming to bury us.

The Monuments had been attacked the day previous, and a number of stock driven off. We afterward learned that a general attack had been made along the entire line of 250 miles. The stage company lost eight men and nearly 200 mules; the Government lost several men and a hundred animals, the Indians committing the outrage being at the time on the way to Ft. Zarah to receive the presents stipulated for in the late treaty.

Howard Raynesford's Bio. Howard is one of my Hero's just because he cared!

Howard Raynesford was born August 13, 1876 in Ellis, Kansas. He was a farmer, operated a dairy, had a wife and sons. It is for his "hobby" that he is now remembered. Howard was an historian, Director of the Kansas State Historical Society, and tireless expert on the Smoky Hill Trail and the Butterfield Overland Despatch stagecoach line that ran over the trail. Raynesford painstakingly mapped the route of this trail. In his spare time he walked over 200 miles following the trail and locating many of the stagecoach stations. In 1963 the Kansas Legislature granted permission (no funding) for him to place stone-post markers on the right-of-way where the trail crossed major highways. 138 markers were placed.
Following Raynesford's death on March 2, 1967 many of his papers were donated to the Hays Public Library. They now reside in the Kansas Room there.
Howard Raynesford explained his fascination with the Smoky Hill Trail in this way:

"Old trails have always had a great fascination for me. In Connecticut and Virginia I have been on the old Appalachian Trail which ran along the highest elevations from Mt. Kadahdin in Maine to Stone Mountain in Georgia. I have been on the old stage route from St. Louis through Arkansas, Indian Territory and Texas to El Paso and then along the southern borders of New Mexico and Arizona to Yuma and up to Los Angeles and San Francisco, which had to be abandoned when the Civil War broke out. I have been on the Santa Fe and Oregon trails at various places, but none held a greater fascination for me than this historic old Smoky Hill Trail.

Back in the first decade of the century, two men advertising a correspondence school rented window display space in Nicholson's store where I was working as a clerk. I got pretty well acquainted with them, especially the older one, whom I learned had been the youngest trooper in Custer's famous 7th Cavalry, a mere boy in his late teens, and was familiarly known in that organization as "Chic". When asked if he was in the Little Big Horn fight, he said he had been kicked by a horse and was in the hospital with a broken leg when the regiment left on that fatal expedition. As soon as he could travel he had started for the front but the conveyance in which he was traveling tipped over in crossing a stream, hurting his leg again, with the result that he did not get on the battlefield until a week after the massacre. In talking of Custer's activities in this vacinity I mentioned the Smoky Hill Trail. He looked at me in a queer sort of way and asked if it would be possible to get down on this trail while he was here. It was arranged and as we walked out from our car to the trail which at this particular point near Ft. Downer is very wide and plain, he walked out ahead of us onto the trail, removed his hat and knelt down. This seemed rather strange conduct to us, and he gave this explanation. He said his father was the discoverer of gold at the mouth of Cherry Creek in present Denver, that the creek was given his name, that when Denver had become a going town his father had sent for his wife and young son and that he, being that son, had traveled by stagecoach over this trail with his mother to join his father.

And when I think of the many celebrities who have traversed this Trail such as Grant, Sheridan, Sherman, Custer, Forsyth, Beecher, Stanley and many others, and of the hopes and fears engendered by its prospects and dangers, as I have been engaged in searching it out by walking it, I must confess that I have had somewhat the same feeling for it that Mr. Cherry had."

Amen Howard,Amen!

Sod Buster...

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Old 07-28-2012, 07:05 PM   #1825
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That was a good read. Thanks.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:37 AM   #1826
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National Historic Landmark

Thanks Klay.

A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a building, site, structure, or object that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance. Out of more than 80,000 places on the National register of Historic Places only about 2,430 are NHLs.

Around half of the NHLs are on private property. Monument Rocks, is also a National Natural Landmark. It was the first landmark chosen by the US Department of the Interior as a National Natural Landmark.

A school group stands on the base of "Old Chief Smoky," (also known as the Kansas Sphinx) an outcropping that fell down in 1986. Photo courtesy Fick Fossil Museum. Monument Rocks and Castle Rock have had more people erosion than natural erosion, they are fading.

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Old 07-29-2012, 03:50 PM   #1827
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From Above.

1865: June 13: B.O.D. route surveyed

1865, October and November: Troops arrived at Monument Station--Company A of the 1st U. S. Volunteer Infantry and the 13th Missouri Volunteer Cavalry. Confederate Prisoners of War made up the 1st and were called the “Galvanized Yankees”. These soldiers, upon being released from prison, were sent out to the west, where they could not take up arms against the Union.

The fort was one mile west of the Monuments. The B.0.D. station was built very much like the others. The stable was a long dugout gouged into the north bank of the river, where it was well protected from the weather and within easy reach of the river itself”

1866, June: Bayard Taylor, a correspondent for the New York Tribune gave this report during a lull between fighting with the Indians. “Half asleep and half awake, now lulled into slumber by the slowness of our progress, now bumped into angry wakefulness in crossing some deep gully, we dragged through the night, and in the morning found ourselves at Downer’s, 44 miles farther.
Our breakfast here was another ‘square meal’ pork fat and half-baked biscuits. At all the stations the people complained of lack of supplies, some were destitute of all but beans.
From the first rise after leaving Downer’s, we saw, far away to the right, a long range of chalk bluffs, shining against a background of dark blue clouds.
Monument Station is so called from a collection of quadrangular chalk towers, which rise directly from the plain. At first sight, they resemble a deserted city, with huge bastioned walls; but on a nearer approach they separated into detached masses, some of which resemble colossal sitting statues. The station house is built of large blocks, cut out with a hatchet and cemented with raw clay.”

Even the army never designated it as a fort, always referring to it as Monument Station, it was also known as Antelope Station. Living quarters at the post, once it was established, consisted of only three buildings. They were constructed mostly of native stone with a bare minimum of sawed lumber, which had to be hauled from great distances. The main building, according to a drawing made by a soldier in the 5th Infantry, J. Stadler, and was a story and a half high and served both as post headquarters for the soldiers and a home and eating station for the B.O.D.”

Scetch by J.Stadler 5th Infantry J.

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Old 07-29-2012, 04:20 PM   #1828
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13,000 Acres = 20.3125 square miles.

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Old 07-29-2012, 09:48 PM   #1829
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:32 PM   #1830
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Originally Posted by pallum View Post

Nice one.
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