16 Feb Butcher Falls in Chautauqua County
Water is not something one typically associates with the Kansas landscape. We have no coastline and it’s arguable whether we really even have any natural lakes (I’ve heard Lake Inman is our only one, but I don’t know if that is true). Maybe that’s why I’ve always sought out water when photographing Kansas. Early on, I began to make a list of every waterfall I would hear of, or see photos of. Most would turn out to be somewhat manmade themselves; the outlet to a small lake where a stream has been diverted, or the remnants of a dam associated with an old mill. These were, and are, often quite beautiful themselves, but the natural falls have always been my favorites.
Among those favorites, and near the top of my list, is Butcher Falls in Chautauqua County. Now a part of Bill Curtis’ Red Buffalo Ranch, the land surrounding Butcher Falls has been cleaned up a bit and a small building built nearby. It’s still a charming site, however, especially due to the “bowl” of rock that it spills into — a very rare thing in Kansas. An old, narrow concrete arch bridge crosses Pool Creek just downstream from the falls, adding to the scene.