Posts Tagged With: Northwest Nebraska

Toadstool Geologic Park: Unexpected Landforms in Nebraska

For many people, their Nebraska experience has been only traveling through along Interstate 80.  Still beautiful land, but these flat long stretches only tell part of the story of Nebraska’s landscape.  Only in going around to many regions does one truly understand what makes up Nebraska’s landscape.  One such place of rarely seen beauty is Toadstool Geologic Park.

Toadstool Park 1

Some of have compared this destination as to what it might be like to be on the moon.  With better air quality of course. 🙂

Toadstool Park 2

Hiking about is fairly easy on their well marked trails.  If you are in good physical shape or are a climber, you could even forge your own path.

Toadstool Park 7

A dry creek bed is another good place to wander and experience the park.  Evidently if it rains, you need to abandon that path fairly quickly.  The water could move you along faster than you intended on traveling.

Toadstool Park 3

One other fun place to explore is the sodhouse that was moved on to the property.

Toadstool Park 5

This gave me an idea as to what being an early Nebraska settler possibly would have been like.  During the summer, hot and blistering would have been the feel.  During the winter, you would have been stuck.  In fact, even today, this part of Nebraska basically shuts down as roads can quickly become impassable.  You were truly hardy to live in this country.

Toadstool Park 4

Diagrams help to visualize the effort needed to construct this house.

Toadstool Park 6

The interior was surprisingly sunny.  Obviously you also would have had great views of this interesting landscape.

Toadstool Park 8

Exploring this region is something I hope we can do again when our kids are a bit older.  This time two of them stayed in the car with other family members and did not really even get to explore.  Partially due to the heated temperatures that day, but the distance between two points is a bit longer than it seems like it should be as well.  You do want to bring with water and sunscreen!  To camp overnight, the cost is only $5, and the day usage fee is $3.  Well worth it for the adventures that can entail!


Categories: Family Outings, Panhandle, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Huskers at the Corners: Where to Watch Football in Northwest Nebraska: MJ’s Ranch House

If you have ever been to Fort Robinson, you would know that television is not a part of the package.  Normally that is a blessing – provides for lots of family time.  But, when one of the first Nebraska football games of the year is on, what is a person to do in …

Ranch House Crawford

Northwest Nebraska has lots of wide open spaces.  And not quite as many diehard Husker fans, being the fact that they are many hours away from Lincoln.  We called around and finally discovered the perfect place for our family to watch the game.

Ranch House signs

MJ’s Ranch House Steaks and Spirits located in downtown Crawford.  We already had supper planned for back at our cabin, but we enjoyed eating lots of game food.  Appetizers like onion rings and chicken strips and breaded cauliflower.

MJ’s family has owned a ranch in the Crawford area for many generations.

Ranch House Ranch Photograph

Their restaurant is a tribute to much of what makes this part of Nebraska beautiful!  Being located in a renovated building adds charm to the ambiance.  Originally the building was a general store.

Ranch House Original Building

Their decor reflects their family and area longtime history.  Every corner tells a story.  I forgot to watch much of the game because of being distracted by all of their treasures.  The owner was in that day and kindly took the time to tell me some stories of her family history and the area.  Loved listening to her!

Ranch House History Collage

As with any of life’s experiences, who is with you is what really matters.  Being with my family was the best part of the experience.

Ranch House family

(My brother and his lovely wife were with as well.  I am sure I took a picture of them, but who knows what happened to that?)

I just called and talked to Mary Jane, the sweet owner, and she confirmed that they will definitely be open to serve you.  So, if you are in the Northwest Nebraska area, I would highly encourage you checking out MJ’s Ranch House to watch the Huskers.   Great food, great atmosphere and (should be) a great game.

Categories: Cornhusker Cuisine, Eating Establishments, Panhandle, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Photography: Homestead High Plains in Living Color

I had fun experimenting with both my camera and my cell phone when I was taking photographs around the High Plains Homestead.  So, while I will end up with several entries about the place, each one shows a different angle or viewpoint.  And even though four blog posts (including the one I wrote previously) seems like a lot, since I do not plan to write very much, hopefully you can breeze through them (or save them for another day!)  And if you have an opinion as to which style of photographs suit the place the best, I would be interested in reading your comments.

High Plains Homestead View

The view across the road.

Color High Plains Post Office

The interior contained mail boxes and everything!

Color High Plains Kitchen

Kitchen Collection of another day …

Color High Plains Mercantile side

Side of the mercantile.

Color High Plains Jesus the Good Shepherd

I would enjoy having this “Jesus the Good Shepherd” photograph gracing our home even today!

Color High Plains sheriff and jail house

You’re in the jailhouse now …

Color High Plains Mercantile

More than your average souvenir shop …

Color High Plains Farm Implements

Farm implements of yesteryear …

Color High Plains View of the Street

A stroll down the short boardwalk …

Color High Plains Nature Collections

One could leave with a bit of nature (for sale in a shed …)

Color High Plains Windmill

The beauty of the Nebraska panhandle!

Categories: Friday Photography, Nebraska History, Nebraska Passport, Panhandle, Photography, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Friday Photography: Shots to See

My initial disappointment with writing a blog?  The necessity of quality photographs to illustrate my words.  After all, due to copyrights, I cannot just take a picture from another website and use it on my blog without permission.  As a few months have passed, I feel like I have made progress in the moments that I have captured on film.  But I know that I still have a long way to go.

I feel that three things seem to be necessary for taking brilliant photographs.

1) Equipment.  Occasionally my cell phone seems to take better pictures than my basic Nikon.  But the more I experiment, the better the camera seems to be cooperating with me, as opposed to frustrating me.   Maybe someday we will have enough money to invest in a great camera.  (Of course, since I tend to be a bit klutzy and drop things, sticking with what I have already might be the best idea 🙂 .)

toadstool landscape

2) Subject matter.  When you are in a beautiful location, capturing the moment seems to come much easier.  I have also decided that people are SO much harder to photograph.  So, while at some point, I may legitimately consider myself to be a landscape photographer, I am almost positive that you will never see the words “portrait photographer” by my name!

Ft. Rob trip Daddy and Mr. I

One of the rare people pictures that I took that I like.  Of course, I was able to crop the shot – that makes a difference too!

3) Timing.  If you blink, you often miss the moment.  While we were up in northwest Nebraska, we were treated to a couple of fabulous thunderstorms.  I decided to go out and try to take a great lightning shot.  (Maybe not my best idea).  I did end up with one or two shots that were “okay.”  But I deleted probably a hundred other shots.  I learned that I need to be okay with that – willing to take a gazillion photos even if only a few are keepers.

DSCN4271_1204NE Trip Nikon 13

My attempts to take a picture of a windmill from the car.  More to come on that in another blog entry …

lightning shot

While I did crop this shot a bit, I did not edit it at all.  I am not exactly sure where the side golden arch came from?

While I will continue to write Flashback Fridays, I will also be adding (or substituting) Friday Photography as well.  Since I took over 1,000 shots on our Northwest Nebraska trip alone, I think I need a time to share the photos that may not fit other places.

For much to my surprise, I have begun to see life as if through a lens.  In fact, I think I need to start carrying my camera with me everywhere (although my cell phone does work in a pinch).   I like having a record of the places that we have traveled.  Although I must confess that at times I need to remember to make sure to add people to some of my shots since that will be what I really want to remember.  Those that I made the memories with.

Garrison family in front of the house

Photo credit: my brother, Joel.





Categories: Friday Photography, Photography | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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