Readers looking for a fun, free Thanksgiving activity may want to consider a family jog or walk — a Turkey Trot! Running, biking and walking are a good way to work up an appetite, or to help that wonderful meal digest. Some families make special T-shirts and follow designated routes, while others are more free-form.
In Great Bend, Veterans Memorial Park is easily accessed for walkers. The Great Bend-Brit Spaugh Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but it will be closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
A walk downtown could include the courthouse square, which features the Quilt Walk. Six quilt block patterns can be found: Farmers Daughter, Kansas Star, Kansas Troubles, Kansas Dugout, Rocky Road to Kansas and Windmill. A seventh pattern block, titled “Kansas,” was removed to make way for the Jack Kilby memorial in front of the courthouse. “Kansas” is in storage until the time when it can be returned to the Quilt Walk.
Along the levee
For a longer trek, the Great Bend Levee Trail runs atop the flood control levee on the north bank of the Arkansas River on the edge of Great Bend. End points are on West Barton County Road, 1 mile west of 10th and Patton Road in Great Bend, and at the southern end of Locust St. on the southeast side of Great Bend.
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) website notes, “Users will encounter rural, suburban and industrial environments over the length of the trail. The trail offers views of both the Arkansas River, which is often little more than a trickle, and nearby farming operations.”
Parking for the Great Bend Levee Trail is available in a small lot off West Barton County Road, across the road from the Seventh-day Adventist Church and School, and at the east end of Stone Lake Park, off South Main St. The trail is paved from the west side to Stone Lake, and gravel from Stone Lake to Locust St.
TrailLink.com, RTC’s free trail-finder website, lists approximately 30,000 miles of biking, walking, jogging and equestrian trails across the country. Each listing also includes photos and reviews by recent trail users.