After the Garden of Eden, Pepper and I continued west to a tiny town called St. Francis, KS. We were in search of the Arikaree Breaks, a natural wonder that was described to us as "a mini Grand Canyon." Pepper had printed directions from a website that I am not mentioning because those directions were frustratingly terrible and totally inaccurate. The link above is not the site Pepper used and I'm only including it here for the sake of pictures because Pepper and I did not actually see this sight. Thems the breaks, right? HA! HA!
We didn't find the Arikaree Breaks, but not for lack of trying. After 2 hours, we had driven a reverse "n" shaped semi-rectangle: heading north in Kansas into Nebraska, where we headed west, and then back into Kansas, heading south. For much of this, we were not on a paved road. In Google Maps, the blue, upside-down teardrop-shaped pin representing our car indicated that we driving through a field - which was fairly accurate, actually.
It was during this portion of the trip that we ran into rain. It was beautiful. The sky was periwinkle and the earth was at turns golden with wheat or bright green with grass, soybeans or corn. The sun peeked through occasionally, a creamy glow as it began to set. It made for a striking landscape.
The light colored rectangle of sky at the horizon is the rain coming down in the distance.
As we were about to head into Nebraska we saw a cow in the road. Pepper and I are both city gals, so this was both exciting and alarming in a "WTF do we do now?" sorta way. Fortunately, the cow decided to cross back to safety. I realized a moment too late that she had a calf with her. You can't see the baby in this picture because momma hid him safely behind the shrub. I'm sure ranchers and cowboys call it something different, but to this city girl, it's a shrub.
Obviously, cows are herd animals, so I shouldn't have been surprised when we found, well, the herd.
This little white cow, with his black ears and nose, became the Official Mascot of Day 1. He was so cute and curious! I think he would have hopped right in the truck and gone to Yellowstone with us. Pepper could have dropped him off on her way back!
Right after this, we crossed into Nebraska for a hot minute before hooking another left back into Kansas. It was at this point that we realized we had probably seen the Arikaree Breaks about an hour earlier, or at least the beginning of it. Through rain splattered windows we saw a spot where the earth was ... wrinkled. I can't explain it better than that. We stopped the car for a moment to take a look (it was raining too hard to get out and take pictures) and it was .... interesting? It *was* beautiful, that I remember. As I said, it seemed to be the beginning of something larger, but we would have had to hop a fence and walk God knows how far to see more. I mean, my God, it's in the middle of nowhere to begin with... why not put up a signpost with 8" letters "ARIKAREE BREAKS" and maybe produce accurate directions?
This particular endeavor was frustrating. But at least we saw the cows.