Having driven across the Great Plains on many occasions, I have come to know the cities and towns, their respective exit numbers and, most importantly, the amenities that they offer for the traveler. In addition, as a naturalist, I have come to recognize these human oases by their surrounding terrain (yes, the Great Plains harbor a mix of topography).
One of these natural landmarks is a small but prominent mesa just east of Salina, Kansas. While it has an elevation of only 1500 feet or so, it rises almost 300 feet above the city and its immediate surroundings. Nameless on the few maps that I have checked, I have christened it Mt. Salina and have noted that this erosional remnant rises south of the Smoky Hill River, near its junction with the Saline River.
While not nearly as majestic as Pikes Peak and other famous landmarks across the American West, this mesa must have played a significant role in guiding early settlers and native Americans to regional settlements and their vital water resource (though I profess no historical knowledge in this regard). As for myself, I am always glad to catch site of Mt. Salina when I head west on I-70, a sign that I have put a significant dent in my journey across the Plains.