"His-touring" is a way to say that we toured historical places today! 

There is no better guide in the Smoky Hills than Cowboy Jim Gray and we got him for the full day!  We met at Orozco's restaurant in Kanopolis for breakfast and then headed out on the Legacy Trail.

ERV dropped us off at the new path to our first destination, Faris Caves.

It's pretty amazing to walk up to this sandstone bluff face and find man-made caves.  Because Annette White painstakingly cleaned out the filled in caves in the 1990s, we can now better imagine how they were used in the 1880s.

Along with the graffiti on the rocks, there are carvings that indicate that Native Americans lived or roamed in this area.

The caves were constructed by Charles Griffee in the 1880s.  In 1893, William and Winfield Faris purchased the land. 

The caves were used by the Faris family as a spring house, generator room and, for a short time, as a schoolhouse.  The effort to carve out the caves is visible.  You can even see the brick they added to the top of the arch.

Mushroom Rock State Park is one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Geography.  From K-140, go 2 miles south on K-141 to Avenue K, then 2 miles west.

As it states so well in the Legacy Trail brochure, "the park is a geological phomenon of sandstone spheres balanced on softer pedestals of sandstone."  Travelers on the Smoky Hill Trail even came to view and play on them!

As you drive to Mushroom Rock State Park you may drive past Carneiro.  Practically a ghost town now, the town was established in 1882 by local sheep ranches as a shipping point on the Union Pacific Railroad.  Carneiro means "sheep fold" in Portugese.  Signs at each point on the Legacy Trail tell the story.

Before Scates Cemetery was here, the Thompson Creek settlement was home to those who made dugouts on Thompson Creek.  It's a colorful and involved story but in 1866 a newborn from one of the claims on the creek died and was buried on the hilltop, now known as Scates Cemetery.  Some of the Faris clan is buried here, too.

The stone on the left is in remembrance of all the pioneers that lived and died here.  Their names are listed.  On the right is a gravestone of the "Children of J.J. & S.S. Porter".  It reads like this "If at the dawn of the early morning, He shall call us one by one, When to the Lord we restore our talents, Will He answer thee well done."

This site isn't listed on the Legacy Trail so we were privileged to see something that sits beside K-14 but is known to few.

Imagine, over time, hundreds of thousands of buffalo spilling down this crevice to the creek below. You can even see the dew claws (behind the hoof) in the sandstone. Awesome to stand here.  You can almost feel the thunder of their presence.

The Legacy Trail has 27 historical sites on it and is designed to help you experience the history of the area.  A good place to pick up  the self-guided tour brochure and start the 80 mile tour is at the Kanopolis Lake Information Center.  Many of the roads are unpaved.  Jim Gray created this trail brochure in 1991 when he worked for the Corps of Engineers. 

We had a great day in Ellsworth County with The Cowboy.  Hey, you can learn more about the area and All of Old West Kansas by subscribing to his Kansas Cowboy publication!  

See you down the road, Marci