COUNCIL GROVE, Kan. - It beckons. An ancient Kansas holy site west a couple of hours or so. Come pilgrim, join me for a visit. We'll do a day trip, we'll journey to Nepaholla.
At Manhattan we get on Highway 24, driving on over to Tuttle Creek Boulevard, moving up the Big Blue River Valley. Just past the dam of Tuttle Creek Reservoir, we ascend into uplands. On the right are the Blue Hills, a land of trapezoidal mounds deeply etched by tree-lined creeks and ravines draining east toward the lake. We turn west toward the town of Riley, passing through gentle folds of agricultural land interspersed with pastures. Just west of Clay Center we cross the Republican, known as the River of Geese by the Kanza Indians. At this point we enter the sandstone hill country forming the eastern edge of the Smoky Hills. Whereas the Blue Hills projected repetitive, geometric lines, this hill country, though mostly gradual inclines and gently arced mounds, surprises with pockets of buttes, saddles, high ridges, and cliffs stippled with outcroppings of rugged, ferruginous rocks.