Dinner and book signing at Dillon Nature Center 7/10

In connection with HutchRec and Dillon Nature Center, we’re presenting our book talk along with a signing on July 10 in Taylor Cabin. Before the presentation, there will be a dinner at 6:30 — taco salad, rice & black beans, Mexican chocolate cake.

To register for the event (a head count is needed for the food) – follow this link for online registration or download the registration form here to return to HutchRec.

We look forward to seeing you!

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Vote now for 2018’s Kansas Trail Destination of the Year

It’s that time again, time to vote for your favorite Kansas trail destination.  The inaugural winner of the award was Iola. Whichever location gets the most votes will be honored as our Top Trail Destination of the Year 2018, and we’ll be sending a free copy of our book to the winning town’s public library

We selected our finalists based on their plans to expand trails as well as their commitment to building and maintaining trails in the Sunflower State. Here’s a bit about them.

Bluffs at Lake Scott State Park

Scott City / Little Jerusalem.  In addition to serving as the gateway to the outstanding trail system at Lake Scott State Park, Scott City will be the destination for travelers heading to explore the newly opened Little Jerusalum area.

Later this year, there will be trails open and available at the well-known, but not previously (legally) accessible chalk formations. Having a maintained trail system there is designed to help protect the area and the formations themselves.

Marysville. The Oregon Trail crossed near Marysville and more recently the Blue River Rail Trail (with the beautiful covered bridges) has expanded north to the Nebraska state line through the diligent work of Marshall County Connection.

The next step is working to extend the rail-trail south further into Marysville to increase accessibility.

Wyandotte County. The county has started its 20/20/20 movement — Expanding bike routes, trails, and safe sidewalks, 20 miles of each (if not more) by 2020. They also have a both hiking and equestrian trails already in place at Wyandotte County Lake.

Flint Hills Nature Trail. The Flint Hills Nature Trail has been a work in progress for many years, but the grand vision of the Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy is finally coming close to fruition.  The FHNT has been supported by many towns along the way, but this year we are highlighting Council Grove.  From the old Santa Fe Trail to the current Flint Hills Natural Trail, Council Grove has been the original Kansas trail town since 1825.

Vote for your favorite destination! If it’s not in the list, let us know in the comments below.

Flint Hills Festival 2018 at the Flint Hills Discovery Center

This Saturday May 19 is the annual Flint Hills Festival. From 10am to 5pm at the Flint Hills Discovery Center there will be food and music and fun.

Plus, from the website, “During the festival, ticketholders also receive admission to the Flint Hills Discovery Center’s newest exhibit, Be the Dinosaur. Visitors will use virtual technology to eat, sleep, and live as a dinosaur! ”

Regular admission rates apply:

  • Adult (18-64) | $9.00
  • Youth (2-17) | $4.00
  • *Military, College Students, Educators & Seniors (65+) | $7.00
  • Members & Under 2 | FREE

Big Kansas Road Trip – going on now! Barber, Comanche and Kiowa counties

The Kansas Sampler Festival had its last run in 2017, but to replace it is the Big Kansas Road Trip.

From May 3 to May 6 2018, in three counties: Barber, (Hardtner, Hazelton, Isabel, Kiowa, Medicine Lodge, Sharon and Sun City); Comanche (Coldwater, Protection and Wilmore) and Kiowa (Greensburg, Haviland and Mullinville), the red carpet is rolled out for visitors with events and deals at local restaurants and stores.

From the website with details on the event: WHAT IF…

…people who have never been to your towns and countryside before fall in love with what rural communities offer?

…the charm of the unexpected inspires people to get hooked on exploring all over the state?

…they are a thoughtful audience, spend money, and tell everyone about their experience?

It could all be a really good thing.
All communities have to do is be the best
they can be at being themselves.

Show your Kansas love with Heartlandia stickers

While shopping at Smith’s Market in downtown Hutchinson, I spotted stickers celebrating Kansas by Heartlandia.  I bought a couple for gifts, but before I could mail them off to friends, I decided to keep them for myself! (I’ll make another trip to get the gift ones.)

I reached out and found out a bit more about this Wichita based company. Here’s what they had to say about the how, what, and why of the sticker (and t-shirt) business that celebrates the Midwest.

KTG: When did the business get started and what inspired it?

Heartlandia did not start as a business, but it turned out to be!  It started as a way for the talented, mostly young, graphic designers at Gardner Design in Wichita to be part of the Wichita/Kansas/Midwest pride scene that is surging right now. (And may I say – it’s about time!!!)  They designed 41 stickers, and while they did not do it as a money-making venture, between Thanksgiving (when the stickers were released) and Christmas of 2017 around 10,000 stickers had been sold, mostly at boutique-style stores in Wichita, Hutchinson and Salina.

Stickers, it appears, are a “thing”, especially among young people – they love to put them on their bikes, cars, computers, notebooks. It’s how they brand themselves.  But everyone seems to like the sticker idea.  For $3 you can tell the world, I love my city, my state, my part of the country!

Do you take requests for new sticker ideas?

The designs were a result of a brain-storming session the designers had, but we take suggestions all the time (ideas don’t happen in a vacuum), and we come out with new stickers occasionally.

Is there a best selling sticker?

The most popular stickers have been:  Tornado Warning, Joyland, Unibuff, Sunflower, No Coast, Ad Astra Per Aspera, and the Keeper of the Plains.

Have you ever come across one of your stickers “in the wild” / on a random person’s water bottle or car bumper or bike, etc.

We find the stickers in the wild all the time!  Many of the orders on our website are from people who now live in other parts of the country, but clearly want to stay connected to their roots by proudly displaying the stickers in their new surroundings.  It’s fantastic. There’s a few pictures of stickers caught in the wild on our Instagram account, heartlandiastix.

We recently came out with t-shirts with some of the stickers designs, and those have also been well-received.

The t-shirts are only available at some of our retail stores:  Lucinda’s, The Workroom, Vortex Souvenirs, Botanica, Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, Watermark Books, Best of Times.

Kansas First Day Hikes 2018

It may be frigid outside (stay safe and warm), but there are a number of first day hikes around the state. Here are the Kansas parks with first-day hikes:

  • Cedar Bluff State Park
  • Cheney State Park
  • Clinton State Park
  • Crawford State Park
  • Cross Timbers State Park
  • El Dorado State Park
  • Elk City State Park
  • Fall River State Park
  • Flint Hills Nature Trail
  • Glen Elder State Park
  • Green Property – Pratt, KS
  • Hillsdale State Park
  • Kanopolis State Park
  • Meade State Park
  • Pawnee Prairie Park
  • Perry State Park
  • Pomona State Park
  • Sand Hills State Park
  • Tuttle Creek State Park
  • Wilson State Park

You can find more information on times and where to meet here at the KDWPT website. Many are pet friendly and have refreshments before or after.

Share your hike photos with #FirstDayHikes and #MyKSStatePark

2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Here’s our annual gift guide for the trail lovers in your life. Of course, there’s always our favorite gift of the Kansas Trail Guidebook, but here are 10 more awesome gift ideas.

1.  The Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers

The perfect companion to the Kansas Trail Guide, this completely updated volume includes the best insider information about local favorite places to eat, visit, and stay throughout Kansas. Buy it from the Kansas Sampler foundation.  $29.95

 

2. Rab Kinetic Plus Jacket

Kansas weather can throw everything at you (in one trip!). Be prepared to weather the storm and enjoy the trail in this outstanding softshell from Rab. $225

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3. Capitol Copper

Own your own piece of Kansas history with copper from the Capitol dome from the Kansas State Historical Society. Replaced in 2013, the copper was made available to the Kansas Historical Society and Kansas Historical Foundation for use in products to be sold in the Capitol Store. Items you can get range from jewelry to oil bottles to a single sheet of the copper to put on display. You can buy it in person at the gift store of the Capitol, or online. 

 

4. Ad Astera Per Aspera Hat

Every hiker in the Sunflower State should be sporting a stylish hat while on the trail.  Get yours from a Kansas company served up with some retro style and a side of state pride. Currently on sale for $27.99

5. Ultra-Sil Day Pack

Tired of flimsy drawstring packs? Still hiking with a backpack that you used in middle school? Lugging around a full-size pack for a day-hike?  Too cheap to buy a pack for the kids to hike with?  Problem solved. $32.95

Sea to Summit Pack

 

6. Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) in Kansas class enrollment

Mark your calendar for May 4-6, 2018 at Rock Springs 4-H center for a woman’s weekend of wilderness skills and outdoor fun.  Excellent course and a gentle introduction to high adventure and outdoor skills.

For the already intrepid outdoors-woman, get inspired with a subscription to Misadventures magazine.

7. Prairie Earth Tours

Experience the best of the Flint Hills like you never have before!  If you are looking for a guided adventure that takes the guess-work out of planning an awesome trip, here’s the place to sign up!  Choose from a guided photography, craft-brewery, moonlight tours of the Flint Hills, or customize a private tour.

8. Pat’s Beef Jerky – Liebenthal, Kansas

In my book, nothing is better on the trail than beef jerky!  And no beef jerky is better than Pat’s (#boldstatement).  If the wonderful town of Liebenthal is not on your daily commute, just have it shipped to your door in time for Christmas or a First Day Hike.

9. National Parks Trivial Pursuit Game

After a day of hiking and around the campfire, bring out this fun and challenging game. Easy to pack and carry with a small carabiner attached, it’s got over 600 questions about the national parks with categories including Natural Wonders, Battlefields & Historic Sites, Cultural Heritage, Science & Nature, Wildlife, and Wild Card. $19.18 on Amazon

10. NSR Riding Bicycle Tour Camping Tent

This tent fits both you and your bike, with room for the bike to securely stand upright, cutting down on concerns about theft and weather. It packs down to fit into a pannier, and weighs only 4.1 pounds. You could be the envy of everyone on the Bike Across Kansas! $299.99