Louise Speaks: Day 38 Continued: We continued going west in Nebraska. As we were driving to Valentine we came across the AshFall Fossil Beds. This was not on our list but we thought we’d stop anyway. To go look at the fossils they wanted us to go by way of a tour and it was pretty costly, so we decided to just keep on driving.
It was a very easy walk. First we had to go through a campground, then through a meadow, then over a bridge that crossed the river and then the real hike started. It was a very easy path though. The entire path was wooden planks, with hand rails. It was a climb, but it was gradual. We had been walking for quite a while, when we finally heard rushing water…that would indicate the falls were close by. We were almost to the top and we could see the falls peaking through the trees. When we reached the top, it was breath-taking and worth every step we took. These falls are 63 feet tall and just amazing. The trees were surrounding the falls, the moss on the mountains were an emerald-green, and the rushing falls were falling into a pond below. It was very serene and temperature wise, very cool.
Although this was a bit of a hike, it was an easy hike, and worth every step. I would love to come back here and camp someday…maybe in a motor home.
As we headed out to our motel, we drove through yet another Wildlife Refuge. This one was in Valentine. The Valentine National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 to protect a portion of the Sandhills and their wildlife. The unique nature of the refuge was recognized in 1976 when the Sandhills prairie was designated as National Natural Landmark. Valentine National Wildlife Refuge lies in the heart of a vast area of undulating sand dunes which stretch across north-central Nebraska. The region, called the Sandhills, is the largest remaining tract of mid and tall grass prairie in North America. After seeing farm land for the past several weeks, it was quite a change in terrain to see the prairie grass blowing in the wind.
This day was full of very scenic things as well as a few quirky things, but all were great places to visit. We are spending the last night in Nebraska and are more than half way home.