This week I attended the National Association for Interpretation’s annual national workshop, which was in Wichita, Kansas this year. I went to help man the NPS Fire Management Program exhibit but I got to some of the sessions, meetings, and other presentations, including the keynote speech by author James Loewen.
This was my first time inside Kansas ever. Nobody ever spoke highly of the place, but I was impressed what little of Wichita I saw outside the hotel and the convention center. The hotel itself was quite nice and attached to an equally nice (and large) convention center. It made for a vast complex and a lot of walking.
The downtown riverfront (the Arkansas River is pronounced Ar-Kansas in Kansas) is spectacular and the city has a nice old town district. The central attraction there is the Keeper of the Prairie, a monument to the Plains Indians on a island at the confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas Rivers. From a distance it looks like Oz the Great and Terrible because it has these flames surrounding it.
On the way to and from Wichita I passed through the Flint Hills, a place I’d like to go back and explore more closely later. It’s a vast and hilly pasture and rangeland and prairie. There’s a cattle pen along I-35 that trucks can access so I stopped there to take a picture. The cattle can be driven into the pen across a pass over the interstate. The pen was empty, but I was trying to imagine driving through while the cattle are being moved over the overpass.