Tuesday, November 20, 2018


Poe Ballantine said, "Most people would live in an outhouse in Bangladesh before they would voluntarily move to Nebraska."

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We've always known we were not 'most people'.

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To clarify, we did not move to Nebraska - we simply entered it.

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However, from the first minute of our first haphazard visit to the state around eleven years ago, we've always enjoyed and appreciated Nebraska. 

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  So, naturally we had been looking forward to getting back to the state and exploring more of it. 

First up... just after crossing over from Wyoming

we stopped to look around at Scottsbluff National Monument.

There are many visions that the mention of Nebraska brings to most people's minds

but the scenes that we have been sharing are not typically what they picture.

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We were big fans of Nebraska even before this latest visit

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but the scenery this time around added some new favorites to our Nebraska repertoire.

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The road that runs through Mitchell Pass at Scottsbluff National Monument is a landmark for the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails as well as the Pony Express.

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The monument contains many bluffs with the tallest one standing 800 feet above the surrounding plains.  One might think this is pretty high for Nebraska given that the town of Scottsbluff starts you out at around 3800 feet you hit around 4600 foot elevation on top of the tallest point of the park. 

However, this is not the tallest point in Nebraska.  That honor goes to Panorama Point a bit south of here which tops out at 5,424 foot above sea level.  We visited Panorama Point long before we started our Annie travels so we skipped it this time around.

There is a 1.6 mile drive up to the top of the bluffs or you could take a trail and walk up.

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If you walk though you will miss going through the only road tunnels in the state.  All three are on this 1.6 mile drive.

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There are other tunnels in Nebraska.  One railroad tunnel - The Belmont Tunnel.  It is over 700 feet long but is no longer in use.  And then there are the supposed prohibition tunnels in Omaha.  But that is it.  If you count Disney World, Sea World and the fabled Ybor City Tunnels, believe it or not, Florida just may have Nebraska beat or at least tied!  Suppose it all depends on your definition of a 'tunnel'.

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The Monument is 3003 acres of prairie and bluff habitat.

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It hosts a rich geological, paleontological and human history.

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On November 18th, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree came through Mitchell Pass as it traveled along the historic Oregon Trail on its way to Washington D.C.

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Scotts Bluff got its name from Hiram Scott, an 1800's fur trader, who came down sick on his travels and was left at the base of the bluff to die.

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When the National Park Service first came to survey the land for a proposed monument it was listed simply as "a big bump in the land".  But the location soon proved itself as once the summit road was completed there were so many visitors that a larger parking lot had to be built and rangers were on top trying to tell people to not stay so long.  The wide sweeping and beautiful views are too enticing though and the visitor numbers can top 300,000 a year these days.  We had a wonderful visit and it was a great first day for us being back in Nebraska.

"Anyone who spends time on the road knows there's something special about being in the middle of [Nebraska] - you sit with it, and there's a peace about it. You can go left or right, and it opens up all kinds of doors. You take your own path."  - Jason Momoa