Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cool Places: Nebraska Sandhills

Garmin's Ted Gartner, giving his dog LuLu a quick water break while hunting the Nebraska National Forest (national forest?) outside the alleged town of Thedford, Nebraska, earlier this season. What a lonely, quiet, forgotten, gorgeous place the sandhills are. I fell instantly in love with them.

There are chunks of land out there that have always intrigued me. That portion of Nebraska that lies roughly west of US 183 and north of I-80 is one of them. If you take your finger and trace that area on an atlas, you will see that there's just not a helluva lot out there. At all. Few roads. Few towns. And lots of blank, empty space between what is there. Which is why, of course, it is one of those beguiling places. Culture and civilization, I'm sorry to say, make any wild, lonely place less interesting. Thankfully, there's not much of either in western Nebraska.

We only hunted for one evening and one morning before heading on to Montana, but I was so smitten with the region that I'm trying to figure out a way to go back next fall, but with a kayak strapped to the truck so I can hunt the cool mornings, spend the hot afternoons fishing some of those innumerable, jewel-like sandhills lakes and then spend the evenings kicked back next to a campfire, sipping beverages, watching the stars and talking to the dogs, with nary a streetlight, car horn or other soul for miles around. It's that kind of place.


  1. Your last paragraph makes me want to literally get in my truck, go grab the dog and the kayak and take off... RIGHT NOW. Alas, if only I were able...

  2. Being from Nebraska, I adore the sandhills...and why now living in Colorado, I find the same sort of beauty above treeline. Great stuff.

  3. Well said. And Highway 2 from Thedford to Alliance is one of the greatest drives on the High Plains, if you don't have time to stop and hunt or fish or poke around in the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge looking at birds and whatnot.

  4. This sparked a few thoughts, and I linked at Q.

  5. Thanks, guys. I really, really liked the sandhills. They reminded me very much of where I live now, but on a grander, more isolated scale.

    Steve, I really need to read that book. You've mentioned it before...