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Kansas Highpoint - Mount Sunflower - 4039 ft
22 May 2003, morning. Highpoint
Back to 2003 Colorado Highpoint Expedition
On 21 May, Tom Buckley and I left Garland, TX for Goodland, KS, to bag Mount Sunflower the next morning. Since we had a good bit of driving to do, when we stopped for gas just over the Kansas border, I took a few minutes to walk around and stretch my legs. In Kansas, this apparently constitutes very suspicious behavior! It seems that somebody from the convenience store/gas station called the police, to report a suspicious pair of characters. (i.e. us.) Oblivious to this, we stopped at the Kansas state welcome center on the highway, about 30-40 miles north of the border, and prepared some sandwiches. As we finished up our lunch, a police officer walked up to us. At first, it seemed like he was just making the rounds, chatting with everybody, but it soon became clear that he was particularly interested in us. He asked questions about where we were going ('To Goodland'. 'I'm sorry', was the reply). He asked us if we had stopped at the travel center at the border. (Yes, that is where we filled up the tank.) He asked to see our identification, and called in the results on his walkie-talkie. I could hear, from the other end, a description of the people in question. It was obvious that the description referred to us, although it wasn't exactly right. By this point, I was getting a little nervous! We got some questions about whether we had done anything suspicious-looking at the travel center (uh, buying gasoline?), but the officer soon realized that we were not any danger, and went on his way, after warning us not to act suspiciously, with everybody all nervous about terrorists and stuff. I still have no idea what we did that seemed suspicious. The whole episode was kind of spooky, really.
The next morning, we made the drive to Mount Sunflower. We had permission from the owner, Ed Harold, who did warn us that we were responsible for having appropriate equipment for the climb. (It is not really necessary to ask in advance for permission.) We stopped the car at the last intersection, and walked the final 0.25 miles or so towards the summit. The danger was not past yet: a suspicious herd of cattle were in our path. We gingerly walked past them, and reached the sunflower sculpture at the top.
I liked this highpoint. The combination of the owner's good humor about the difficulty, (and don't miss the expedition report Into Thick Air!), and the neat sculpture was just kind of cool.
Despite being dressed as a cottoneer, I made the summit!
(Photos by Tom Buckley)
Into Thick Air
Mount Sunflower - Ryan Cragun
Kansas is Flatter Than a Pancake - Annals of Improbable Research