Sunflower Living Summer 2010

Page 28


Trailing Kanopolis This summer adventure has you leaving the beach—with no regrets



Summer 2010

story by Melinda Briscoe


ummer is beach season, right? Around Salina, that often means a short day trip to the Venango beach area at Kanopolis Lake. It’s one of my favorite areas to take the children to swim, enjoy a picnic lunch or set up the grill. The facilities are clean and easily reached after a scenic half-hour drive southwest from Salina past rolling hills and prairies. But this summer, when you cruise down Kansas Highway 140 and head on the Venango exit, you don’t necessarily have to take that first left turn that leads to the beach. There is another option. If you skip the sand for one day by continuing straight along the road, you will soon come upon what I think of as the lake’s hidden treasure, the Kanopolis Lake trail system. The trails don’t have the same summertime splashy fun factor as the beach, but they are perhaps the most beautiful and interesting part of the lake. So choose a change of scenery, leave the beach for a day, take a hike and enjoy one of the area’s most beautiful natural sites. The 27-plus miles of nature trails around Kanopolis are open to folks on foot, horseback or bicycle (dogs are welcome, as in other parts of the park, but do need to be leashed). Numbered posts along the trails provide a guided tour when used with a brochure available at many of the “You are here” mapped sites throughout the park. On the Buffalo Track Canyon Nature Trail, you will learn how Horsethief Canyon was formed as water flowed over the Dakota sandstone on its way to the nearby Smoky Hill River, or how woodpeckers excavate cavities in dead trees photography by lisa eastman