This week’s beautiful photo comes from Steven Maul who lives in Nebraska. Here is what he had to say about it, and we couldn’t agree more! Thanks Steven!
I tend to focus more on the weather, miles hiked, water supplies, and food for the day more so than on what may be at my feet. Be sure to look down! I spotted this clump of Prairie Smoke flowers on the Bison Trail, and more not far from the CCC Trailhead of the Maah Daah Hey. The endless vistas on the Great Plains are amazing but the small things in front of you like these wildflowers in May are spectacular!
Photo: Steven Maul
Photo: John Bicknell
This week’s photo comes from John Bicknell. He submitted his shot taken from high atop Scotts Bluff in the summer of 2017. Thanks John!
It’s not too late to add your photos to the mix. Just email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Got a photo that’s Great Plains related? It could be scenery or wildlife or historical or anything creative you can come up with.
Email us at email@example.com
We’ll post the best ones here to the blog. Any information/narrative that you want to add to the photo would also be awesome.
If we use your photo (you’ll get full credit of course), and you leave your address, we’ll send along a GPTA sticker or two as well!
Sitting Bull Falls, New Mexico.
Ok. I know. It’s been a really long time since the last photo of the week. Let’s just say it’s been a little more than a week, more than a month?, two months? I could make a ton of excuses, but I won’t. It’s time to get back into the swing of things. In that spirit, here is a shot from somewhere near Fort Robinson State Park in Nebraska. Enjoy!
What: Presentation on the Great Plains Trail by GPTA founder Steve Myers
Where: Longmont Public Library – 409 4th Ave, Longmont, CO 80501
When: Thursday, March 14th at 7:00 pm
Here’s a newsletter article from board member Drew Smith:
Camping on the GPT
The GPT differs from other long trails in that most of the land it traverses is
private, not public. For purposes of finding a continuous walkable route from
Texas to Canada, this is not as big a barrier as you might guess. There are
two reasons: there are lots of roads, and hardly anyone lives there.
In Nebraska, and most other states, any road that has been historically been used by the public is considered a public road, even if it was never officially bought, designated, condemned or even maintained by the state or county. So long as there is not a gate across a road, it probably is a public road, and thus OK to hike, bike, ride or drive on.
Of course, as any experienced long distance hiker will tell you, walking on
roads is no fun. They tend to be hot, dusty, and hard on your feet. Jumping out
of the way for cars, or walking in a weedy ditch to avoid them does not make for a
great hiking experience. But in low-population areas like western Nebraska, walking the back roads is actually not too bad. I spent a day last May scouting for GPTA on roads near Scottsbluff that were almost completely deserted. Over the course of a day I saw
exactly 3 cars. For all intents and purposes, this road was essentially a 2-
track trail through the short grass prairie. So walking it would be no problem.
Water wouldn’t be too much of a problem either—there are windmill-fed cattle
tanks every 10-15 miles on the eastern route.
It’s camping that is the issue. There is a wonderful municipal campground in
Scottsbluff, a good one at Lake Minitare SRA, and then nothing until Fort Robinson SP. Agate Fossil Beds NM doesn’t allow camping. So hikers in this section are faced
with a 70-mile stretch of classic and mostly wild short grass prairie in which
there are no legal camping options. Car support or stealth camping (the latter of which the
GPTA does not condone) are the only possibilities. Ideally, we would get landowner
permission to camp along the way. Figuring out the right way to do this will
be one of our goals and challenges for 2019 (and many years thereafter). Of
course, we don’t have to start from scratch. Other long-trail organizations,
such as the Continental Divide Trail Coalition should be a good source for
advice and best practices. But a lot of this process is just common sense: reaching
out to local communities, enlisting other trail users (such as mountain bikers and
trail riders) as allies, being respectful and responsive to landowner concerns.
Learning how to engage landowners effectively will be one of our goals as the
GPTA grows in 2019 and future years. We welcome input from our donors and
members, and look forward to your advice and support as we open up more
sections of the trail this year.