Main Street Kansas: A horseback ride through the Flint Hills

CLEMENTS, Kan. (KSNW) – You’ve never seen a Kansas sunset until you have been to the Flint Hills.

“Flint Hills are just perfect for it ’cause you have such huge horizons and big skies so you can see. You know the moon’s really featured,” said Josh Hoy, owner of Flying W. Ranch.

Hoy and his family are fifth generation ranchers on this land, who want to share the experience with others, starting with a Chuckwagon dinner.

Josh Hoy talks about riding through the Flint Hills with KSN’s Stephanie Bergmann. (KSN Photo)

“Okay, we’re gonna have brisket, corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, and then homemade ice cream and peach cobbler for dessert.”

And a big helping of cowboy songs and stories. Perhaps it’s that history of cattle drives, gunfights and life on the prairie that lures people from all over to the ranch.

“Well, both me and my wife grew up on farms, and I’ve never ridden a horse in my life so she talked me into this!” said Tom Stolz, Wichita rider.

But with a little coaching, even the most reluctant riders are on their way, driven on by a sky that only grows more colorful with the setting sun. Instead of traffic, you listen to the wind and critters.

“Insects and birds and nighthawks booming, yea. Bulls bellowing in the background, yea,” said How. “We have a symphony out here every night.”

And just as the sun seems to melt into the horizon, an almost-full moon rises in its place.

The moon lights the fields for riders in the Flint Hills. (KSN Photo)

“There’s no light pollution. You can see a couple of cell towers way off in the distance. Other than that, there’s no man-made light within 10-15 miles of here,” said Hoy.

As night takes over, the horses have no problem finding their way. It gives many a new appreciation of the Flint Hills.

“That sense of rest and relaxation and that connection with nature, the unplugging from technology, just really being able to catch your breath and be a part of the hills,” said Hoy.

“When the moon came up, woo! That was neat,” said William Comley.

For Comley, this is a birthday present to himself, and he got more than he expected.

“A group of unknown people can just talk with each other and have a great time in the Flint Hills,” he added.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Flying W Ranch and the horseback rides they offer, click here.

Submit your Main Street Kansas story ideas to reportit@ksn.com


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