[Continued from Part 1]
Tuesday afternoon, June 8, 2021: After resting in the 5th wheel, Bob said he wanted to do the Kanopolis Lake Legacy Trail, an 80-mile, self-guided auto tour of the area. I love spontaneity! Let's go!
So, we set out to see what there was to see in south-central Kansas. We were prepared with a US Army Corps of Engineers brochure (with a driving map and 27 points of interest) that Bob had picked up at the COE Campground Info Center. [Note: If you click the link above you can see the whole brochure!]
Our first stop (POI #1) was just behind the Kanopolis Lake Information Center at the outlet of the dam just upstream from our campsite. The Smoky Hill River was gushing down the hill. Our brochure gave us this information about flood control provided by the dam:
The Kansas River Basin is subject to infrequent but surprisingly destructive floods. In 1826, a solid wall of water from the Kansas River reached the Missouri [River] and submerged the bottoms at 10-12 feet. In 1844 William Bent, in traveling across the plains, had to follow the divides between rivers as "every river was full from bluff to bluff." The newly established town of Ellsworth was flooded in 1867, causing the town to relocate to its present site. Following the destruction of the 1938 flood on the Smoky Hill River, public sentiment turned in favor of flood control. The first project selected for the Kansas City District of the U.S. Army COE was Kanopolis Lake. Construction began in 1940, but was halted in 1942 due to World War II. Construction activities resumed in 1946 and the project was completed in 1948.
|The dam's millrace.|
|Smoky Hill River--looking|
toward our campground.
|The banks of the river are eroding.|
|We're behind the dam. Just to the right |
of this parking lot is a beach.
|A trail heading through the campground.|
|Another view of Kanopolis Lake from |
Horsethief State Park.
POI #5 - Riverside Division was one of the largest ranches in Kansas. It became known as the Sherman Ranch from 1889-1902. The ranch grew to 40,000 acres and Riverside became one of eight divisions of the ranch. Extensive farm and hog operations used to operate out of this ranch.
|The aliens have landed!|
|Mushroom Rock State Park.|
|See how big this one is? Wow!|
|Great visual of the rocks|
and trees in juxtaposition.
|There was only one small hill in |
this little state park.
I am going to skip Points of Interest #12-#17. If you want to learn about those, you can read the brochure at the link above.
|Milepost at Fort Harker.|
|The Guardhouse Museum |
at Fort Harker in Kanopolis, Kansas.
|Abandoned Kanopolis rail depot.|
|Kanopolis water tower.|
The evening was so nice. We had perfect weather for our exploration. It was really fun to follow the map all around the Smoky Hill River area of Kansas. If you're interested in information about hunting, farmland, and ranches, you can read #s 19-26 in the brochure link.
|POI #22 - Thompson Creek |
|Midland Division of Sherman Ranch|
We have reached the last POI on our auto tour. POI #27 - Control Tower/Kanopolis Dam. Prior to the construction of the dam, the Smoky Hill River occupied a wide, flat-bottomed valley with gently sloping sides. The flood plain of the valley was one to three miles in width. The river flowed through the valley in a shallow channel, meandering from one side of the valley to the other.
|Control tower, Kanopolis Dam, and|
The 80-mile auto tour took us about four hours. We got back to the campground at dusk.