Mount Sunflower 09-13-03

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      [Ed: Imported from Americas Roof ‘Summit Trip Reports’ forum]
      [By: Jerry Bresnahan on March 13 2004 at 6:27 PM]

      I reached the summit of Mt. Sunflower, the Highpoint of Kansas at 4,039 feet, on Saturday evening September 13th, 2003. It was my 9th state highpoint.
      I left Vail, Colorado at 9:15AM. I had spent a week there acclimating to the altitude and hiking the surrounding mountains in preparation for the challenges of Mt. Sunflower. It was another cold, drizzly day with snow flurries at higher altitudes. Most of the week I was in Colorado it rained and snowed. People that lived in Colorado all their lives said it was the earliest in the season they had ever skied.
      I stopped and spent several hours at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument west of Colorado Springs. It was interesting to see the stumps of giant sequoia trees that were once plentiful throughout much of North America. The stumps are petrified like wood found in the Petrified Forest National Park. There are many other interesting fossils and things to see here. Since buying my first National Park Pass several years ago I have found that some of the smaller National Parks and Monuments, some that I never heard of before, have some the most beautiful and interesting things to see, and they are definitely less crowded than the bigger more well known parks. I try to combine my interest in National Parks, Monuments, Historic Sites, etc. with my interest in Highpointing by visiting as many of the National Park facilities as possible while visiting the state highpoints and using my timeshare weeks.
      I exited I-70 and followed the excellent directions provided by Charlie and Diane Winger in their book Highpoint Adventures and arrived at Mt. Sunflower at approximately 6:15PM just in time to view a beautiful sunset. It turned out to be a clear but cool evening. I signed the register and enjoyed the view. I was the only one to sign in all day and had the “peak” to myself. Blake Murphy, who I met on Guadalupe Peak, signed the register two days prior.
      I drove to Goodland, Kansas registered at a motel that had obviously been a Motel 6 in a previous life and had a healthy dinner of a Chocolate Extreme Blizzard at the Diary Queen, which was conveniently located next door. The following day I stopped at Nicodemus National Historic Site on the drive home to Algonquin, Illinois. Nicodemus is a small, all black, Kansas town settled by former slaves after the Civil War. There were once hundreds of people living here. Now there are only 24 full time residents but many of the former residents and family members come for a big reunion each July.
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