Great Plains Loop
Day 4: Trinidad to Norton, Nebraska
From Trinidad Lake we headed northeast on highway 350, which follows the route of the Old Santa Fe Trail.
It's just a two-lane road that winds through endless prairie with almost no towns, but we were fascinated by remnants of the past, including many wooden railroad trestles and blue and white glass insulators on the power poles, apparently still being used by the railroad.
Dennis poses beside a giant wind turbine blade in Lamar, Colorado. We were astounded by the depopulation of eastern Colorado and western Kansas. Everywhere there were endless fields of corn in all directions, and brand-new steel silos, but the towns are empty. You can see from grain elevator to another, each one marking the location of a town, but when you turn off the road, the stores are boarded up and the houses are abandoned.
Killdeer at John Martin Reservoir State Park.
We camped that night at Prairie Dog State Park, one of the nicest campgrounds I've ever seen. Squeaky clean restrooms and acres of mowed grass — a local told us maintenance is provided by a prison in nearby Norton, Kansas. Best of all, this park has more than 130 primitive camping sites, many of them right on the shores of Keith Sebelius Lake.
We settled into a gorgesous spot right on the water and were lulled to sleep by the crickets and the sound of the waves lapping the shore.
The "beach" was the usual weed-choked mud hole, but Dennis got a great photo of the lake at sunrise.