Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Peru-Chadron-Peru Road Trip

 At Fire Tower at Halsey Forest
Mari Sandoz Site

Dr. Dan Holtz and I put in a proposal for one of the Student Enhancement Grants to take students on a three-day and two- night trip centered in and around Chadron:  Nebraska Natural and Literary History

On the first day of our outing--check out the images--we six drove to Chadron, stopping along the way at the Fire Tower at Halsey Forest and, later in the day, at the Mari Sandoz site--the latter proved a challenge because a recent snow covered the dirt roads, making our outing to the Sandoz homestead and Mari Sandoz's burial site more than a little interesting.

And at the end of the day, we stopped by the road to check out one of the many herds of buffalo Ted Turner raises in Nebraska.

As the photographs from our activities underscores, day two kept us busy from early morning until past sundown.  We went from the Mari Sandoz Center to Toadstool Park, including stops in  between at both Fort Robinson and Hudson-Meng.  

We all thank Sarah Polak at the Mari Sandoz Center for her thoughtful  presentation about Mari Sandoz.  

She also took all of us behind the scenes to look at many of the Sandoz collection not on display, from guns to prints. Sarah likewise talked with the students about potential internships at the center.

After our visit with Sarah at the Mari Sandoz Center, we hopped in the van and drove to Fort Robinson.  There Jerry Taylor guided us through the museum and then to the set of buildings associated with the famous Chief Crazy Horse.

We all appreciated the special attention and that Dr. Holtz had arranged for the tour at Ft.  Robinson, for we enjoyed a very personal tour, and Jerry Taylor opened the museum and other buildings for us, making the visit more than a little out of the ordinary.

This special attention did not conclude with our visit to Fr. Robinson.  I had contacted Dennis Dennis Kuhnel, Director of the Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center, who agreed to open up the center for our group.

After a fun lunch in Crawford, we drove at times challenging roads of mud and snow and eventually met up with Dennis at the entrance to the center.  

Dennis went out of his way to ensure that we all enjoyed an entertaining and edifying visit to the center, and I will return one of these days to walk the trail from the center to Toadstool Park.

After a challenging exit from Hudson-Meng, one that included  my getting the van stuck in snow on a hill, we left Dennis and the amazing digs. 

We headed to one of my favorite places in Nebraska, Toadstool Park.  Although familiar with this beautiful area, I had never visited after a snow fall.  So we aimed the van down the mile-long snow-covered road and arrived with a sigh of relief at the entrance to the park.

We could not remain long at Toadstool, for the sun began quickly to set.  So, we got back on the snow covered roads and returned to our hotel in Chadron to rest and ready ourselves for the return trip to Peru.

Well, on the ride from Chadron we felt compelled to take in a favorite site not all that connected with the state's natural or literary history, Carhenge.  May kitch reign!

And as the photographs from our return trip suggest, we all enjoyed a full day, from Carhenge to Ash Hollow, from Ole's Big Game Steak House, to Rowe Sanctuary.

On the evening of our return to Peru, the group stopped in at Rowe Sanctuary for our scheduled experience in a blind along the Platte River.  And for the first time in the early season, the Sandhill Cranes landed on a sandbar in the river.

The video is not excellent, for the beautiful birds did not land until near dark.  But they sure made a lot of nice and made the experience special for all of us.

 Home at Last

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