Traveling through Nebraska’s Panhandle region always feels like coming home to me, and not just because I lived there as a kid. Some people love the mountains or the ocean, but it’s the Nebraska prairie that always strikes a chord somewhere deep within my soul. And a major reason for that is the sky that adorns the Nebraska prairie, with its vibrant sunrises and sunsets and dramatic clouds.
We’ve gone to the Crawford, Nebraska area several times over the last few years. Among other things, it’s home to the High Plains Homestead (a little Old West town replica, bunkhouse, and restaurant quite literally in the middle of nowhere) as well as Toadstool Geologic Park (which looks like another planet).
Maybe it was just the time of year we were traveling — mid-October, which is definitely not tourist season — but we drove for miles at a time without seeing any other cars on the highway. It felt like we had the whole countryside, and its sky, all to ourselves.
We were frequently chased by a massive storm coming down from South Dakota that finally caught up to us around the Fort Robinson/Harrison area, buffeting us with crazy-high winds and near-blizzard conditions. (But it was worth braving them to visit the Agate Fossil Beds national monument.)
I’m a sucker for dirt roads that seem to stretch on to nowhere, and the sense of the unknown that their apparent mundanity hints at, so I had to stop along the side of the highway to get that last photo. It didn’t turn out the best but given that I was nearly blown off my feet by wind and flurries, I did what I could.
Then again, it’s nigh-impossible to fully capture or convey in a photo (much less a photo taken with a phone) what it really looked and felt like to be there, under that endless sky.