Copyright 2009-2011 Lisa Waterman Gray

Monday, November 14, 2011

Frank Thompson Visits Big Basin

Please join me in welcoming and thanking fellow Kansas blogger, Frank Thompson, who I met by chance in a local coffeeshop last summer. I asked if he would like to write a guest blog post for Crossing Kansas and he happily obliged. You'll find information about Frank's blogs and photography at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

"When I'm in the prairie ... when the wind blows a soft kind of sound almost like music, I think I hear big orchestras with lots and lots of people playin'... it goes on and one for a long time - comin' and goin' with the wind ..."

                                                            - Gordon Parks
I, too, love that wide-open prairie and need regular doses of “big sky” to maintain my equilibrium and personal identity, even if I never hear Parks' big orchestras “comin' and goin' with the wind.”

Few places remain in this hemisphere to experience these grasslands, but we have a couple of them here in Kansas, including the Big Basin Prairie Preserve, a designated National Natural Landmark, located near Ashland in the Red Hills region of south central Kansas.
Big Basin is a circular sinkhole (about a mile across and 100 feet deep) created by the dissolution of underground deposits of salt and gypsum.  The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism manages the 1818 acres of native mixed grass prairie where white-tailed deer, turkeys and a small herd of bison  roam freely.
When visiting Big Basin, allow for time to get out of the car and just sit. Experience the absolute, exquisite quiet, broken only by the sound of the wind rippling through the prairie grasses or the occasional lone cottonwood tree. Don't fail to take the short trail down to Jacob's Well, a deep pool of water that has never been known to go dry, and has been an important landmark for plains Indians, settlers, and cowboys driving Texas cattle to Dodge City. The day of our visit to Jacob's Well, two youngsters were passing the day by catching bullfrogs – giants on any scale.

Other regional attractions that you might include in your itinerary are: Medicine Lodge and the Red (Gypsum) Hills, Dodge City, Greensburg, and Mullinville (home to a historic round barn and M.T. Liggett's infamous whirligig sculptures).

Frank Thompson
Flickr PhotoStream:
My Portfolio (in progress):

Kansas Journeys:
Life Journey:


  1. Looks interesting. I have never been out there, did not even know it existed. Thanks.

  2. Our pleasure, Glen. Stay tuned for much more!