Mount Mitchell Heritage Prairie

Would you like to go for a walk in a native Kansas prairie? This nature walk is not a long one. We’ll start at the bottom of a large hill, and the trail will wind around the hill through prairie that’s never been under the plow so it’s covered in native grasses and wildflowers. And soon we’ll reach the top of the hill where we’ll be treated to a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside.  Interested? Well, come along then.

There are lots of wildflowers along the trail. This is Rose Verbena.

And this yellow one is called Broomweed.

This white one is called False Boneset.

This purple one is called Dotted Gayfeather.

This yellow one has a funny name. It’s called Curly Cup Gumweed.

It lives up to its name too as it is very sticky.

Whoops, we’ve dawdled so much Harland got ahead of us.

Let’s hurry.

Pant, pant…ok, now we’re caught up.

Oh, stop! Check out this white flower that comes up to our waist with flowers at the very ends of its stems bobbing in the breeze.

So delicate. It’s called Stenosiphon. It has no leaves at all. During a drought, this plant drops its leaves as a water saving measure, and conducts photosynthesis through its stems. Pretty good idea with the dry year we’ve had here.

Whoops, Harland got ahead of us again. Darn he moves fast!

Let’s go… we’re almost to the top of the hill.

And here we are, whew!

Worth the view huh? That’s the Kaw River valley.

Look, a monument of some sort right here on top of the hill.

Let’s take a closer look:

In 1953, Captain Mitchell’s son gave 50 acres of prairie to the Kansas Historical Society in honor of his father, and with the stipulation that the land be turned into a nature park. This never happened, and sometime in the early 2000s, the Historical Society tried to sell the land. Outraged local residents got together to stop this from happening. They formed a volunteer group called the Mount Mitchell Prairie Guards to fulfill the wishes of the original donor, Captain Mitchell’s son. Finally, the Kansas Attorney General ruled that the land could not be sold, but could only be transferred to a non-profit organization. The Prairie Guards partnered with Audubon of Kansas. Since then, a road has been built to gain access into the prairie, the land has been regularly burned to encourage growth of the native plants, and walking trails have been established.

Look, there’s another monument down the hill:

Harland’s going to check it out. Let’s catch up.

Whew. Well here we are. Let’s take a close look at this monument:

Hmmm….. Must have been a friend or member of the Mitchell family.

 Look, milkweed seeds and their fluff.

Here are some rosehips,

and sumac. The leaves are already turning red.

Well, looks like the sun is going down, and we have a couple hours drive ahead of us to get home, so we’d better get going.

But maybe a little rest first?

Let’s breathe in the remaining warmth of this early fall day. Winter is coming and we won’t see many more days like this one.

 If you would like to learn more about Mount Mitchell Heritage Prairie, click HERE to go to their website. 



10 comments to Mount Mitchell Heritage Prairie

  • Carol

    Yeah, love the hike Suzanne! The flower photos are spectacular, my favorite is the milkweed, looks like a spider web. Thanks again for an interesting trip in Kansas. There is an abundence of beauty on the prairie!

  • I’ve never even heard of most of these flowers. So beautiful! I love going on “expeditions” with you and Harland. Thanks for taking us along on this one.

  • Louise S

    My favorite picture is the milkweed fluff. Gorgeous.

    When you mentioned Kaw River Valley, it certainly got my attention. I spent 20 years in Ponca City, OK, just outside of Kaw Lake. Beautiful area! I’m a Kansas native but Okie in my heart. 🙂

  • Doe in Mi

    Wonderful walk up the hill Suzanne. Surely did enjoy it. The view up top is great and the wild flowers beautiful. Thanks.

  • Very interesting, loved the hike and I’m not even out of breath! I always wonder what the wildflowers are in our fields. I need to do a Google search! I like what it said on that headstone, “Doer of Good Deeds.” That would be a great thing for people to remember about a person…

  • Lana

    Your pictures are amazing – you are a very talented photographer! I so enjoy wandering along with you through your pictures. Can you make jellies or jams from the rosehips?

  • Tina

    The words on the memorial for “Dodge” that say “Doer of Good Deeds” reminds me of the Wizard of Oz who was also from Kansas. Probably an unintensioal reference but I enjoyed it. I love the white flower with no leaves and the old picnic bench in the sun as the last days of Summer leave us for the beginning of Fall.

  • Nancy

    Beautiful photos. Thanks for identifying the flowers.

  • Thanks for the tour of this prairie! Gorgeous photos!

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