|Sunrise on the Niobrara|
"Set wondered what it would be like to be inside, to sense the sanctity there, to stand in the glow of that translucent cone, inside the light, to breath the holy, medicinal air."
N. Scott Momaday - The Ancient Child
About the Photograph:
This photo was shot on a cool, foggy July morning at the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge outside of Valentine, Nebraska just above the Niobrara National Scenic River with an i-phone camera. Cool and foggy being the operative words this day as my home state of Oklahoma was in its seventh week of extreme drought and searing daily temperatures topping well above 100 degrees by noon each day. This divine moment and its fantastically cool temperatures and its complete absence of any human presence was a heady load of paradise and I was pleased with the way the i-phone captured the feeling of the morning as I sensed it. It was indeed like standing in the glow of a translucent cone, as Momaday so eloquently writes, breathing in holy, medicinal air.
I was on the third day of my "50 by 50" road trip (my quest to get all 50 states by my 50th year) having just passed through Kansas, a tiny, tiny slice of Iowa and across most of Nebraska on my way to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Iowa and Nebraska became states #46 and #47 on the life list, #48 South Dakota would be within reach that same morning.
The Niobrara River is a breathtaking, gently-moving river and the equally stunning valleys and canyons it carves out of the Sandhills and the Great Plains are celebrated for their ecological and geographical diversity. A visit here is a must for any traveler wanting to experience the sublime beauty of western Nebraska and America's heartland. For more information visit Niobrara National Scenic River, the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge and the impossibly charming city of Valentine, NE. And go here to "Like" the Niobrara National Scenic River on Facebook. It's always good to show your appreciation for these last great places that are ever-more becoming rare.