In the last Nebraska landscape post, I suggested that Nebraska isn’t “flat as Kansas”, then posted only one photo that barely established the truth of that statement! Here’s a scene south of Alliance 17 miles, “Rattlesnake Park” as the BNSF track crews call it, but just a rest stop provided for the road weary travelers by the Nebraska Department of Roads:
That was on the north side of the access road, going in. Walking through that tall grass, which I don’t advise, you can encounter the prairie rattlesnake. I had that happen once on the south end of the rest stop on a little road passing through a grove of Russian olive trees. The rattlesnake struck the heel of the cowboy boots I was wearing at the time. I surprised it and it surprised me! The fang marks in the boot suggested a rattlesnake 28 feet (8,5m) long! (See link for actual potential length. I exaggerate by slightly more than a factor of 5! It scared the bejeebers out of me, I guarantee!)
A short time later, driving out of the rest stop, this is what I saw headed south:
The sun had come out from behind the clouds, showing how dramatically the landscape takes on the light – or lack of light – in this setting. You can see some of the Russian olive trees on the left (light greenish-grey leaves). This is in a tongue of the Nebraska Sandhills in Morrill County, the county south of Box Butte County, of which Alliance is the county seat.
Across the road, you barely can see a blowout that’s been stabilized using discarded tires. The Sandhills are held in place by grasses, but damaged areas quickly become blowouts. Without efforts to stabilize the blowout, they get huge. I remember playing in them as a child. Sliding down the steep side of a big blowout, one got covered in delicious damp, cool sand, a perfect way to spend a hot summer day!
The Sandhills historically were range for the northern bison herd, and paleontologists actually have found preserved bison hoof prints buried in the sand! Stepping in the sand, a bison left a depression, wind filled the depression with material of slightly different composition, and the paleontologists – clever fellows! – made the discovery of the hoof prints and….! My mind reels thinking about it!
Now, for the cat, specifically Dougy today, starting with this GIF of him grooming. It’s my first ever, so be kind….!