20 Southwind members and friends met at the Kirkbride Ranch southwest of Medicine Lodge on the last weekend of October for the Fourth Annual Southwind Gyp Hills Hike. Ten Southwind members arrived on Friday evening for an orientation session at Buster’s Cowboy Saloon in Sun City. The rest of the hikers arrived late morning on Saturday for lunch at the ranch house prior to the hike.
Saturday afternoon, the group scaled TimberMountain: a high mesa which provides a panoramic view of most of BarberCounty. The mesa was named by early settlers who traveled to the area to cut cedar trees for use as timbers for their sod houses.
Saturday evening, the hikers made camp at the edge of the largest pond on the ranch and prepared supper over a campfire. Conversation and songs dominated the evening. Southwind Membership Chair Kathryn Buck brought her guitar and led the group in a wide variety of songs as a harvest moon rose over the water. The campfire and warm sleeping bags were appreciated in the 37 degree air.
The faint glow of dawn found many of the hikers preparing breakfast at the campfire prior to hiking to the summit of Deadman Hill. As the sun rose over the pond, the hikers watched the steam rise from the water on a cool late-October morning.
The weekend concluded with a group lunch back at the ranch house. The great autumn weather, fall colors, the full moon, the camaraderie, and the rugged beauty of the hills caused several in the group to conclude this was the best ever Gyp Hills Hike.
071: Southwind members gathered at the Vagabond Cafe in the Delano District of Wichita for drinks and conversation on November 12. This was the first of a series of informal gatherings designed to build membership and strengthen the Group.
087: Bob Eye his wife at the Celebration.
065: Ken Lockwood founder of the EagleValleyRaptorCenter west of Wichita presented on the impact of global warming on wildlife at the November Southwind General Meeting. In this photo, his assistand, Rachel, holds an owl as it enjoys a mouse.
060: Ken Lockwood, founder of the EagleValleyRaptorCenter, discusses the hunting habits of an owl.
017: Hikers enjoy lunch at the Kirkbride ranch house prior to hiking into the Hills for the Fourth Annual Southwind Gyp Hills Hike on the last weekend in October. From the left are Donna Luetters, Karen Cowdrey, Bill Gress, Frank Okerman, Bruce Fueling, Mary Kirkbride, Bobbie Keltner, Jay Moreland, Bill Cather, Mary June Hefling, Yvonne Cather, Ellie Skokan, Mark Peters, and Don Skokan.
027: Karen Cowdrey (fore ground), followed by a group of Southwind members and friends hike across the high mesa know locally as TimberMountain. Deadman Hill, which the group hiked the following day, can be seen in the background.
028: Southwind hikers and friends pose on top of TimberMountain. Deadman Hill can be seen in the background. The Gyp Hills, also known as the Red Hills and the Cedar Hills, extend about 50 miles into Kansas and about 150 miles into Oklahoma. The Hills were formed by wind and water erosion to deposits at the bottom of an ancient inland sea.
031: Kathryn Buck (right) plays guitar and leads the hikers in song around the campfire after a day of hiking in the Gyp Hills. Yvonne Cather holds the music for Kathryn while Bill Cather looks on.
By Dave Kirkbride, Southwind Chair