Thursday, March 1, 2018

Above Kansas Rivers

Flying back to Denver this morning, the landscape of Missouri was shrouded by clouds but clear skies over Kansas and Colorado provided a spectacular view of the Great Plains geography.  The first recognizable feature was Perry Lake, northeast of Topeka, fed by the Delaware River; to the south, Clinton Lake, fed by the Wakarusa River, shimmered in the early morning sun.  Both of these rivers are tributaries of the Kansas River which empties into the Missouri at Kansas City.

Approaching Manhattan, the Kansas River came into view and we soon crossed the lower segment of Tuttle Creek Lake on the Big Blue River.  Just northwest of Junction City, we passed over Milford Lake, on the Republican River and the Smoky Hill River sliced through the city, joining the Republican to form the Kansas River.

From that junction into eastern Colorado, we paralleled the Smoky Hill River, passing over Salina, the massive Smoky Hill Wind Farm (north of Ellsworth), Russell and Hays before our path crossed Interstate 70 and followed the river as it flowed through its reservoir south of Ogallah and, farther upstream, snaked through the chalk lands south of WaKeeney and Quinter.  On the High Plains of western Kansas and easternmost Colorado, the faint upper tributaries of the Smoky Hill gathered what little moisture falls on that dry landscape, carrying it toward the Kansas, Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.