View Of The Prairie From A Helicopter

In yesterday’s post, I told you about how Harland and I rode in a helicopter Saturday, and how I freaked out, but got over it, and took a ton of pictures.  (See post here.) So today, you get to see the prairie, the Blue River, and the Flint Hills from the best vantage point.

Not too far from where we took off was the Blue River. This is one of the rivers that had to be crossed for the pioneers on the Oregon Trail. The Donner party crossed this river within a few miles of here in late May 1846.

Directly below us in this pic is a cornfield that has been recently harvested. You can still make out the straight rows.

Here are a few pics of the Flint Hills. This land has never been farmed, only grazed by livestock. It’s not hard to imagine the vast herds of bison, elk, and deer that once roamed here.

Here’s an old farm with the remains of outbuildings and a silo. You can just make out the house across the road inside the trees to the right.

Here are a couple farm fields with the Flint Hills in the background.

This C-shaped strip of trees running through this field is the remains of an old ox-bow lake. This type of lake forms when  a river changes course leaving part of its old channel behind which then turns into a separate body of water. Since the farmer is farming around it and trees have grown up, it must still be wet there.

Here you can see the little town of Blue Rapids in the distance and farmland and houses in the foreground. The large stack looking object on the horizon on the left is the grain elevator where farmers sell their grain and it is stored. And you can see the Flint Hills with their flat tops in the distance in the center.

The green field in this picture is winter wheat. It was planted several weeks ago, and is now becoming a nice bright green. It will go dormant over the winter, and then begin to grow again in the spring. It will make wheat stalks in June and be harvested then.

A farmer works the ground in his tractor. He appears as a small dot in such a large field, which is why it can take days to work a single field.

In this picture, a harvested soybean field lies below us. See the little curly-cues at the edge of the field? This indicates where the combine turned around at the edge of the field then headed back into the field for another pass.

A forested area along the bank of the river provides cover for wildlife.

Toward the end of the flight, the pilot took us down into the Blue River channel and we followed along in and out of its curves. This time of year it runs low and would be easy to cross, but the pioneers on the Oregon Trail crossed this river in the spring when it ran high. Sometimes they would have to wait for the water level to come down, or would build a raft to float their wagons and stock across it.

Finally we flew up out of the river channel,

and back to the local high school to land the helicopter.

I had such a blast flying in a helicopter, and will never forget it. If you ever get the chance, go for it. If little ole’ me with my fear of heights and flying can do this, anyone can.


——->Up Next Tomorrow: Harland goes for a flight in a 1946 Piper Cub. Just another day in our wacky lives.


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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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24 Responses

  1. Debbie says:

    Love all those photos! What a great pic opportunity for you! I love pics of Kansas farmland! The rich autumn colors are great too! And I enjoy reading your commentary about them also! Thanks!

  2. Elaine Snively says:

    Great Photos. It would be neat if you went up again in the spring and took similar photos for comparison shots. Another helicopter ride?

  3. Sarah Lynn says:

    What a fun trip and lovely photos!

  4. Peggy says:

    Wow!!! You are so lucky! I think I hate you. Ha ha just joking. Your photos are super! I wish I was there to see the sights! I can’t imagine how long it took on a wagon going to Oregon! The weather, mud, hills, sleeping with wild animals! Way stronger people than we are now. Love love your post.

    • Suzanne says:

      Don’t hate me cause I’m beautiful. Tee hee. 🙂 Thank you much! As far as how long it took on the Oregon Trail, they started in April, and arrived in Oregon territory in September I believe, so it took about 6 months. Most of what they carried in the wagon was food, and basic tools. They usually didn’t carry much furniture as there was no room. They had to leave a lot of stuff behind when they left their homes for the journey.

  5. Julie says:

    WOW, how fun was THAT! Congrats on facing your fears….and bonus item, getting great pix!

  6. Kerry Hand says:

    The only time I was in Kansas, following the Oregon Trail, I thought the prairie was just beautiful. Your photos show it. Kerry.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Kerry,
      Oh thank you. I hope so. The prairie is a beautiful place most any time of year, and well worth a visit.

  7. Doe of Mi. says:

    What a great way to concur that fear. How exciting. And your photos are so pretty. Neat to be able to see a birds eye view.

  8. Shailaja says:

    I hadn’t known about ox-bow lakes. The pictures are vivid, and you would make a good teacher! Enjoyed reading the post.

  9. aletha says:

    Wow Wow Wow what a wonderful adventaure that you had so lucky, love the pictures .

  10. What great photos! so wonderful. I LOVE the lines in the worked fields…I like the curly Q’s a lot !! It is so great to to see the land from a bird’s eye view. I’m so happy for you that you got to do that. As my sister would say “I’m jelly”…meaning I’m jealous!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Bonnie,
      Thank you! I’ve always seem farmland from the ground and so it was really neat to see the aerial view. At first I was puzzled about the curly-ques until I thought about it and figured out what it was.

  11. Teresa says:

    These are just amazing! It certainly does show how beautiful the area is.

  12. Chester's Mom says:

    You live in the most beautiful part of the country! I feel like I’ve been somewhere after looking at those wonderful pictures.

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