Larned National Historic Site
on the summit of the hill that overlooks the plain of Larned as
we approach it from the eastward, our eyes were gladdened by the
sight of the fort, and close to it could be traced the tortuous
course of the Pawnee Fork. As we advanced nearer to the fort, we
obtained a better view of its surroundings. The banks of the Pawnee,
whose waters flow form the slopes of the rocky mountains, are adorned
with plant, umbrageous shrubbery, and patriarchal trees, whose freshness
pleasingly contrasts with the naked tops of the hills in the distance.
The spot on which the fort is situated is a green oasis in the Sahara
of bleached grass. Beautiful as the plain is at present, it was
lovelier by far before the volunteer soldiers came and destroyed
more than two-thirds of the trees that lined the Pawnee«s banks.
From the tops of one of the barracks can be seen a wide area, stretching
away in all directions, the hills swelling into every variety of
form, until the indistinct outline of their summits blends with
the sky where it touches the horizon. The course of the Pawnee may
be traced by the trees, whose dark foliage indicate the windings
of the stream. The whole, to be appreciated, must be seen as we
saw it just then, in the approaching twlight, through a bright,
clear atmosphere, and amidst the opening foliage and bursting blossoms
of early spring."