Writer and her family enjoy an adventure out

They’ll never want to see a rake or plow And who the deuce can parleyvous a cow? How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm, After they’ve seen Paree?” wrote Misters Donaldson, Young, and Lewis in 1919.

After this whole lockdown shindig, complete with stay-at-home orders, I know I’m not the only one who was going stir crazy. My whole family needed something beyond the same old four walls in different places (the walls at home, the walls at Wal-Mart, and the walls at Carlson’s).

So, when the stay at home order was lifted, my (sometimes dubious) attachment to social media paid off. I happened to see one of those “only in your state road trip” articles about, of all things, waterfalls in Kansas. Intrigued, I started looking at the maps. With the pools still closed at the time, what better way to get out, stretch our legs, see new scenery, and cool off? Darling hubby and kids required little persuasion. We quickly located the closest ones and had a blast discovering them. We could even usually keep a pretty decent social distance as well.

This week’s voyage will definitely go down in family history. As we had been doing, I picked the waterfall (this one was Eureka Falls), sent Hubs a screenshot, and waited for him to tell us which extra stops to make along the way. The next morning, with a full tank of gas, a cooler full of sodas and snacks, and a healthy sense of adventure, we hit the road. Google Maps, don’t fail us now.

We motored down 77 and turned off towards Cassoday. Even though we didn’t really need to drive through the *ahem* teeming metropolis, Google made sure we saw the local sights. We resumed our trip towards, I was told, Teter Rock and Teterville, a ghost town. My excitement mounted. It was a beautiful day, we were in high spirits, and the road was. . .SUDDENLY SAND. After a slight skid, my trusty SUV regained traction, and we continued down the surprisingly well-maintained road after heaving a collective sigh of relief.

We made a few stops along the way, simply because we could. We took pictures of pretty weeds, shouted MOO at a herd of poor unsuspecting bovines, and just generally gave thanks for the fact that we live in Kansas. We were playing roller coaster down a hill when I had to stand on the brakes. We had found a pothole, of the type my husband refers to as “a basement looking for a house.” We emerged from the other side, axles intact, but the road was definitely not the thing of beauty it had been a few miles back. Washouts became more numerous, and if each basement we traversed had found a house, a settlement to rival Wichita would surely have sprung up in that road. Our speed was reduced by at least half, with frequent testing of the brakes.

Soon, we came upon a small sign which said “Teterville and Teter Rock” right next to a cattle guard surrounded by what looked like bear pits. Once again, my SUV rose to the occasion (thank goodness Hubs never insisted that we get a minivan) and we started bumping and winding our way up the path.

Compared to this path, the road was truly a miracle of maintenance, smoother than the finest samite. Granted, we were bumping through an unkept cattle pasture, but I kept waiting for Indiana Jones to show up to bum a ride. We passed several overgrown foundations from the abandoned Teterville before we finally got to the lone monolith standing sentinel over the prairie.

The view was spectacular. Despite the graffiti etched into it, the stone was nothing less than amazing, if for no other reason than it must have been a Herculean feat to get it up there. Aside from a single jet flying over, there was no sound louder than the rushing of the wind. I was reminded that truly, this is flyover country, and thank goodness for it.

On the way back down, I took special care to drive through all of the ruts that we had missed on the way up. After all, we needed to experience the fullness of the adventure. Or something like that. I always wanted to be a milkshake anyway.

Eureka Falls was beautiful as well, even though it wasn’t flowing at full capacity. Cool water spilling down the moss-covered rocks, dragonflies swooping and diving over the pool, and the chuckle of the stream we waded down soothed the soles and the soul.

On the way home, I was again overcome by sheer gratitude that we live in such a beautiful state. From our fairly central location, we can visit waterfalls, canyons, badlands, lakes, grasslands, and geological features within hours. And that’s just natural features. Museums, parks, even tanks are just waiting for discovery in Kansas. If you too want to explore, I recommend the many sites about Kansas History and Interesting Places in Kansas that can be found on Facebook, as well as KansasTravel.org and KansasSampler.org. Even being down on the farm can be as exciting as seeing Paree! Be safe out there, folks!


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