HIgh Alto Plains
zScapes Ramble On

High Points 2008

Kansas & Oklahoma High Points Mount Sunflower 4039' Black Mesa 4973'
What takes 15 hours and 13 minutes over 753 miles to become 21 hours over 850+ miles? A weekend trip with George and Mark (Ranger + Bwana). George planned this as a quick weekend trip to capture two more US hi-points, Kansas and Oklahoma, which were relatively easy places to get to. Hah!! We met at Denver on a perfect clear fall day and started the first leg of 197 miles to Mt. Sunflower, the Kansas hi-point at 4039'. The high altitude mountain plains east of Denver wrap around you as you drive on H70 to the Kansas border. Once you get close, a right turn down H385 for a short distance and a quick jaunt over some county roads and you are there. Well, at least close. As we discovered, these roads meander around property lines and do not grid out logically. After seeing more than enough Colorado farm country, we skirted down to H40 and button hooked into Mt. Sunflower (Kansas actually had signs, what a concept). Not much of a climb, just a walk from your car, but it is technically the high point!
Mt Sunflower
Black Mesa
Up early and off in the cool pre-dawn, we moved east along H325 looking for Kenton, OK and the turnoff to Black Mesa and the trailhead. We were looking good time wise even though we had made a turn that was for the wrong Black Mesa. After getting geared up, off we went on what was to be an easy 4 miles in and 4 miles back. The air was still cool as we hiked along the canyon floor and we came across a wolf spider in a warming crunch just waiting for the sun to rise to heat his cold blood. We made great time and shaved about 45 minutes off our delayed timeline. The Oklahoma high point is an arbitrary location as the Black Mesa geological high point is miles away in Colorado, but where it crosses the state boundary it becomes the state high point. An accident of artificial boundaries. A nice monument marks the spot with a marble obelisk built on the cardinal points. It was a fun hike and we had time to take plenty of pictures and capture images of the high altitude mesa plains flora and fauna.
Critters We Met
May our paths & errands meet

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