|Picture from KansasCyclist.com|
One of my first thoughts was, "Well, we are certainly still in Kansas," and I mean that as a compliment. If you have spent much time in rural Southeast Kansas, I'm sure you find Kansans to be very friendly and welcoming people. On this trail, I felt like I was literally jogging through local farmers' back yards...and indeed I guess I was. One direction I could see lots of humble, country homes that looked very inviting (If I was out of water, I wouldn't feel uncomfortable at all asking these people to drink from their garden hose...and they would probably bring me out a whole pitcher of iced tea instead), and on the other side, nothing but prairie and farm land. The pathways from the farmers' back yards to their fields actually cross the trail.
There is one thing I saw a lot of on this trail that I don't see as much of on the Prairie Spirit trail--people. In the 45 minutes I was on the trail, I saw two groups of hikers, one solo jogger like myself, and about 5 or six cyclists. This probably doesn't sound like that much, but it is a lot more than I see on the PST. It is not a bad thing by any means, but it is one of the reasons I am partial to the PST, and honestly will probably still frequent that trail despite the small $12 yearly pass required. The reason is that I love the solitude. I have run many 10 mile plus runs on the Prairie Spirit trail without hardly seeing a soul...and I like that. I am more likely to see coyotes or deer than people. I suppose there is a bit of security knowing people are on the trail, but for me, I just prefer the solitude when I'm running.
That being said, I hope the Southwind trail continues to get lots of use. No, not just so I can have the PST to myself, but because I think it is a wonderful attraction for our area. I definitely think it is a Southeast Kansas "must see" for any outdoor enthusiast. It is top notch, and deserves to be seen by many. Kudos to all the volunteers and the hard work that went into this beautiful trail.