Castle Rock

(Frank) And we’re back. So, and now that we’re getting into Spring too, it’s going to be a great time to maybe travel around and see some of the places we told you about over the winter months anyway. (Deb) We should make a rock bucket list. You know the Travel and Tourism has their bucket list, but we should make a bucket list of rocks you’ve gotta see in Kansas. (Frank) There are a lot of rocks. There are a lot of trees too, but rocks. (Deb) It seems like every time we come on we are talking about a different rock. But man we’ve got some great rocks. And I got to go to Castle Rock. I had never been to Castle Rock. I’ve been to Monument Rocks in Gove County. (Frank) Alright. (Deb) But I had not been to Castle Rock until just a couple of weeks ago. Oh my gosh. I cannot wait to go back and explore. Cannot wait. And it is south of Quinter, so Quinter is up near the interstate. But if you keep going south of Castle Rock and go on down to Utica, and Utica is a very, very small town, but there is a phenomenal restaurant. It is called The Wertz Street Social Emporium. (Frank) It’s called what? (Deb) The Wertz, W-E-R-T-Z Street Social Emporium. And it is owned by Mark Bauer and it’s been several things over the years, but he put a restaurant in there in 1992 and has expanded it ever since. It’s got all kinds of dining rooms and party rooms and a couple of bars and just all kinds of stuff. It’s awesome. The food was wonderful, phenomenal steak. So yes, stop in when you make your trip to Castle Rock or Monument Rocks or Pawnee Rock or Point of Rocks or any of the rocks you plan to see, stop in Utica and tell Mark I sent you over. (Frank) You’re just shameless to get a free lunch aren’t you? (Deb) Honey, that steak was so good. So good. Yes. Yes, I will talk for food. I will talk for food. (Frank) OK, so are we ready for Castle Rock? (Deb) I think we are. (Frank) OK. (Deb) Let’s take a look. The bluff at Castle Rock rises over the Hackberry Creek Valley of Gove County plains, visible for miles and miles. Castle Rock stands about a 1/4 mile away to the north. Made of Niobrara chalk, it was an odd landmark for folks passing along on the Butterfield Overland Dispatch. The formation literally looked like a castle rising in the distance. Though nature carved the unique installation through erosion, folks were terribly disappointed when the taller spire of Castle Rock partially collapsed on July 22, 2001 after a thunderstorm. The great puzzle of Castle Rock is why it persisted when all the rock between it and the bluff was eroded away. The bluff itself is a series of eroded formations called hoodoos, and are just as interesting as the Castle, and quite extensive. The flat grassy area is chalk flat prairie, dominated by little bluestem, sideoats grama and saltgrass. Many wildflowers bloom from late spring to early fall. Lesser earless lizards, ornate box turtles, plains garter snakes, and western hognose snakes are found in the area. Western rattlesnakes may be present, so look where you step! Watch for great horned owls that nest in the hoodoo area. Look for sharks’ teeth and other fossils among the chalk rocks and gravel since his area was once the bottom of a large ocean. This is private land, so be respectful. There are no restroom facilities, so plan accordingly. Also, the roads are not paved so use common sense in case of wet weather. When the planets are aligned for your visit, plan to go and spend some time exploring.