Monday, April 30, 2012
Where the Road Leads Us
I occasionally meet a person who thinks Kansas is a wasteland of flat and uninteresting fields. I have always thought that to be a mistaken view, as I can think of many breathtaking areas that are neither. This weekend I expanded my own perspective by visiting one of the most interesting natural areas of the state at both Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira Wetlands and Wildlife areas – both on the “Wetlands Wildlife National Scenic Byway.”
Judging by the road signs, one might think this drive less than advertised, but if you are a hunter, hiker, birdwatcher or nature-onlooker, it is a trip that belongs on the top of your list. Although located in close proximity, the two areas differ in that Cheyenne Bottoms is fresh water marsh and Quivira has two salt marshes, offering extensive diversity in the habitat. A brochure and audio guide of the Scenic Byway can be obtained prior to the trip from Kansas Wetlands & Wildlife Scenic Byway website and will add to the enjoyment.
The majority of birds this weekend were shorebirds, and there were enough species to challenge me. I was most grateful to have an experienced birder in the van to help with key identification clues. Of course, I would have loved to see a whopping crane, but that will happen on a return trip.
I wonder how many treasured experiences I have missed in my misguided opinions of an area? It seems we are often conditioned to seek the “big moments,” the “don’t miss,” and the “Oh, my Gods,” and pass up what could be the most memorable experiences available right in front of us. I am making a commitment today that I am going to pass-up less and try to be a more educated traveler along these roads of Kansas.