Wayne Rhodus, moderator of Central States Nature Photographers (regional chapter of Nature Photographers Network), organized a day-long shooting trip into my favorite area – the Flint Hills. We met south of Manhattan at oh dark thirty and WOW! was it a cold one! A cold front had moved through the night before and the wind was howling about 30 mph with temps in the upper teens, making for brutal wind chills. Members braving the chill were Wayne Rhodus, Scott Bean, Dena Sanders, Merle Cook, Ken Bachman, Rob Graham, Jim Walker and Jim Taylor.

Our trek started on Deep Creek Road and on to Old K-18 Road. We saw lots of beautiful auburn colored, grass covered hills. And LOTS of dust!


Then we headed to Pillsbury Crossing southeast of Manhattan. It had been years since I had been here and didn’t remember how beautiful the spot is. I will definitely be coming back here! The water falling over the rocky ledge creates some very picturesque possibilities.

After Pillsbury, we headed back toward Alma, drove a portion of the Skyline-Mill Creek scenic byway and hit Highway 177 headed south to Cottonwood Falls. An added bonus happened when we saw a bald eagle sitting in a tree at Council Grove Lake. We ate lunch at Emma Chase’s Cafe in downtown Cottonwood Falls and visited and got to know each other a little better.

When our bellies were full and our hands thawed out, we took off for the falls at Chase Co. Fishing Lake just west of town. This is another place I had never visited. A series of small waterfalls cascade the outlet flow down the hillside, creating some wonderful spots for photos. Due to our recent dry conditions, the water was not flowing very fast on this day. Am I coming back here when the water is flowing better? You betcha!!!

My last stop of the day was the Clements Stone Arch Bridge, west on Highway 50. It was completed in 1886 and is a beautiful structure, worthy of preservation. They sure don’t make bridges like this anymore!


By this time, my energy level had drained to nothing (thanks to battling a cold) so I called it a day. Several members headed back to previously scouted locations in the Flint Hills to catch sunset shots, but it didn’t look like the Cloud Gods provided anything fun in the skies.

The entire day was a great adventure and a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to our next NPN adventure (hopefully it will be a little bit warmer)!

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