Our First Outing, Kansas Weather, and a Place Called Kanopolis

Never let your memories be greater than your dreams.”

-Douglas Ivester

Emmalie in a cave at Kanopolis Lake State Park

Well, due to that state of things in the world (what a time to be alive, huh?) we haven’t taken a trip anywhere since the “trip” of diving nearly 30 hours straight from British Columbia to Kansas. As you can imagine, having a wannabe travel blog is hard to do when it’s difficult to travel! With that, we simply needed to get out and see something after being cooped up these past few months. However, we wanted to be safe and smart about it, so we chose a camping trip with hiking trails away from most people. Therefore, Kanopolis, Kansas came a-callin’!

We checked the radar before heading to the lake and a 40% chance of light rain around 10 P.M. wasn’t anything to deter us. We passed through the gorgeous Smoky Hills and found our campsite near the lake. This was our first time using a new lightweight backpacking tent and we were pleased with how easy it was to set-up, not to mention its spaciousness. After supper and meeting our tent neighbors (socially-distanced, of course) we settled into the still and muggy night. We began hoping a little breeze would bring in a light sprinkle to cool things off. Remember that 40% chance of light rain I mentioned? Well, when we looked at the radar, we now saw this:


Yep, we’re that lake to the southeast of Ellsworth. With warnings of 60 M.P.H. winds and our ran cover flapping wildly already, we figured a backpacking tent wasn’t made for this. We packed everything up and tucked away into the car as the 1 hour of light rain turned into a whole night of lightning and downpour. You have to love Kansas weather, right?

Bunty and I on the trails

After making it through the night, we took to the trails around the lake. The hills’ allure coupled with the blue streaks of rain-filled clouds made for a picturesque view as we walked along the damp paths. Cows bellowed to us every now and again before we arrived to a small cave. We then walked along a brown creek, climbed up the steep, rocky bank and found another cave just in time to get out of more rain that had also not realized it was only supposed to come at 10 o’clock the previous night. After getting back to the car and wiping off this red dust from the caves, we headed to Mushroom Rock State Park, one of the 8 Geographical Wonders of Kansas.

One of the mushroom-shaped rocks

I must admit, we had often heard of Mushroom Rock and we both expected there to be a field or pasture full of the unique formations caused by erosion. Instead, there were three real “mushroom” rocks with several boulders around. At 5 acres, the park was much smaller than we anticipated; although the rocks were unique, nonetheless. A sign said these rocks had served as a meeting place for the Native American tribes in the area and a waymarker for the pioneers heading west.

After seeing the peculiar rock formations, we headed to Kanopolis itself where four buildings of Fort Harker still stand. The fort was built by the U.S. military and aided pioneers heading west from 1866 to 1872. The buildings were in good shape and made me think of that bygone era full of open plains and adventure.

Fort Harker, Kansas

The drive to the town itself wrapped up our little trip. We had a great time, despite sleeping in the car. It is a neat area around Kanopolis and worth your while if you ever find yourself in Kansas.

Finally, the trip gave us a little time to see something new and get away from the craziness of what’s going on in the world. It was even therapeutic in that sense. That’s one of the many reasons I love traveling and I hope these stories help kindle the sense of adventure in you to have your own travels!

Thank you for reading!


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