Access Special Backpacker.com Features, Register Now!
August 2004

High Points: Mt. Sunflower, Kansas

Something's happening in this spot where nothing happened.

The Peak: 4,039 feet

A plaque at the high point monument on the Harold family farm in western Kansas reads: “On This Site in 1897 Nothing Happened.” Even so, it’s a happening spot: There’s a 6-foot sunflower fashioned from railroad spikes, a mailbox riddled with bullet holes, and a cow’s skull perched so high on a sun-bleached tree trunk it seems suspended in the clouds.

The Predator

If you’ve long wondered about the taste of rattlesnake but have never gotten close enough to bite one before it bit you, head to the annual Rattlesnake Roundup in tiny Sharon Springs, 20 miles from Mt. Sunflower. Held on Mother’s Day weekend, the 2-day festival features chicken-fried snake, snake on a stick, and snake tidbits (yup, they taste like McNuggets). There’s also a snake hunt with a $100 grand prize for the biggest serpent. The record-setting catch was a 53-inch prairie rattler named Scruffy. “They’re smaller, meaner, and feistier than diamondbacks,” says chairwoman Judy Withers. No one has been bitten during the contest, but snakes cause three-quarters of all dog deaths in the county. For information, call (785) 852-4473.

Leave a Reply