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Finding Passion for the Plains

Endless vistas and teeming wildlife await travelers who visit a pair of scenic Kansas byways for a wide-open brand of fall driving.

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How to See Nature Better

When you head out on your own drive to see nature up close, keep these tips in mind.

Plan your day around sunrise and sunset. In addition to providing the day's most beautiful light for photos, these times find animals at their most active.

Be patient. For animals that appear on demand, you'll have to visit a zoo. In the wild, you need to settle in, then let the animals get used to your presence and return to their normal routines.

Watch transition zones, such as water's edges and areas where trees give way to meadows. Animals often stay close to such boundaries.

Learn to spot more than just footprints. Animals leave many signs, including deer antler rubs on trees and disturbed dirt where birds dust their wings.

Take binoculars. You'll always appreciate a closer view.

Bring field manuals. Outdoor travels are much more interesting when you can refer to birds, animals and plants by their real names.

Use All of your senses. Our brains tend to discard most of the information around us, but if you concentrate on just sounds or smells, you'll discover how much is really going on.

Call Rangers or tourism offices at your destination for current reports on weather conditions and wildlife activity.

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