Saturday, March 14, 2015

Western Nebraska - A Winter Walk

Silent Shadows at Dugout Creek

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks." ~ John Muir

This past winter, western Nebraska was a wonderland. Wandering around in bad weather, I wasn't expecting to find much during my nature walk. Surprisingly, the normally stark Sandhills sparkled with a glow not usually seen.

The wide, blue sky was a dramatic backdrop enhancing the deep, white snow. The abandoned Northport school was eerily concealed by a congregation of old cottonwoods. Down the way, strange, dark shadows stretched quietly across Dugout Creek.

Where the river ran high, a persistent heron hunted along the mighty North Platte. Flitting swiftly through a yellow thicket, resident sparrows searched for corn while perched on a high snag, a striking kestrel kept an eye out for unsuspecting prey.

South of the settlement where whiteout conditions existed, Courthouse and Jail were mere apparitions barely visible above the creekside campground. There, jackrabbits burst out of hiding and accelerated across the open prairie, leaving canine pursuers in their dust.

After time spent visiting hills, rivers, the Rocks, creeks and cornfields, it was back to Bridgeport. The town where trails converge. During the holiday season, I always feel thankful but on that day, I was especially grateful for nature's unexpected generosity.

The Sandhills sparked

Dramatic, blue skies

Abandoned Northport School

The river ran high

The mighty North Platte

Great Blue Heron

Sparrows in a yellow thicket

A striking kestrel

Courthouse and Jail were ghosts

Gray cornfield

Bridgeport, Nebraska

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