Flint Hills of Kansas: The Konza Prairie

Last weekend Sarah and I took a trip west and found our way to the Little Apple – Manhattan, Kansas.  Destination: The Konza Prairie of the Flint Hills, some of the only existing virgin tall-grass prairie left on earth.   Less than 1% of the estimated 250 million acres of this ecosystem remain intact today, most of it lost to the plow before the year 1900.  In this pano it is somewhat obvious why this area escaped agro-man.  The fertile soils of the Flint Hills are shallow and contain a matrix of limestone and flint gravel.  Homesteaders learned quickly that their sod-busting efforts were best spent elsewhere.  In the valley you can see some gallery forest, supported by an early branch of King’s Creek, a tributary that feeds the Kansas River.  Click on this image to view it full-size in Flickr.  Starting my six mile hike about an hour before sunrise, this series was shot just as the first light of dawn was striking the hills.

“Flint Hills of Kansas″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF50mm f/2.5 compact macro lens, ISO 160,  f/14, 1/13 sec, 13 images stitched
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