A few weeks ago we drove west on I-70 toward the Rocky Mountains. Expecting a bleak landscape in Kansas , I was surprised by the Flint Hills. Rolling green landscapes dappled with gray rock, occasionally interrupted by billboards advertising Wamego’s Oz Museum, carried us west. Dorothy Gale was right. The Emerald City really was in her own back yard.
This region of dense prairie extends south into Oklahoma (called the Osage Hills there) and is recognized as a distinct ecological region in North America. It’s easy to imagine a pioneer family rolling through the tall grass, the rocky ground under their wheels too tough to till. Or picture cattlemen from the south bringing their herds through to feast on the emerald plains. Even now, with the knowledge of drought, grasshoppers and eventual winter winds, the Flint Hills are a lush oasis, understated and not to be missed.