Tag Archives: Platte River State Park

Under a Full Moon

March 3, 2016 by

The hiking trails at Platte River State Park are a jumble of twists and turns, ups and downs, forks and choices. Each junction—each meandering tendril—offers a different destination.

I know the waterfall is down this path, I recall thinking on a recent night hike with my young grandsons, Easton (6), and Barrett (4). The haunted tepee (haunted because I made it so in a campfire tale over s’mores the evening before) is up that trail. And the choo-choo trains that rumble past the edge of the forest what seem a million times a day are best viewed if we instead take that other branch of the trail over there.

The boys relied on Grandpa to know which direction to go, and a full moon lit the way for us in making navigation easy that night.

But the rest of life’s decisions won’t be so easy.

Easton and Barrett will have many choices to make in selecting the paths that will be their life journeys. My hope is that they will always make wise decisions at every junction, but I know that this is wishful thinking.

Along the way I hope that they learn humility, fairness, love, and compassion. I hope they fight for what they believe in. I hope they contribute to their community. I hope they learn how to make a slingshot. I hope they develop an appreciation of the arts and that which unites all of mankind. I hope they hate their first taste of alcohol. I hope they come to learn that peanut butter and salsa sandwiches are delicious. I hope that one day they will tell me about their favorite author. I hope they visit me when I am a broken-down pile of musty old bones. I hope they remember me when I am gone.

I hope they are strong, safe, healthy, and happy—and have families of their own someday that are the same.

I hope they are curious. I hope they find passion. I hope they reach. Reach for something. Anything.

Most of all, I hope they become exactly who they want to be and are comfortable in their own skin.

Like the trails at Platter River State Park, life for them will be a jumble of twists and turns, ups and downs. The footing will sometimes be treacherous and slippery, but I hope they always have a full moon to guide their way.

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Hit the Trails

June 20, 2013 by
Photography by Nebraska Travel & Tourism

Allow the beauty of Nebraska to inspire your family to get out and play together. Experience miles of renowned bike trails and hiking paths that wind through scenic splendor and offer breathtaking views. Nebraska is crisscrossed with dirt, gravel, and hard-surface trails that will guide you through some of the most beautiful parts of the state. So load up the bikes, lace up your hiking boots, and get the family moving.

One of the state’s premier destinations for trail seekers is Chadron State Park, tucked into the northwest corner of Nebraska. Mountain bikers come from far and wide to ride what are considered to be the top single- and dual-track destinations in the nation.

If hiking is more your style, head to Toadstool Geologic Park north of Crawford, Neb. Here, you will discover an unexpected, lunar-like terrain that’s perfect for exploring. Or take in the natural beauty and winding trails of western Nebraska’s Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area near Gering, Neb. Here, trekkers will discover rocky buttes and picture-perfect wilderness virtually unaffected by the passing of time.

The eastern end of the state offers a bounty of outdoor adventure as well. Hikers and bikers alike will enjoy the Cowboy Trail between Norfolk and Chadron, the nation’s longest rail-to-trail project in progress. The trail’s signature sites are its long bridges that offer spectacular views.

For mountain bikers, the Steamboat Trace Hike/Bike Trail along the Missouri River or the more metropolitan MoPac Trail West in Lincoln are great choices for an invigorating excursion.

Despite being surrounded by nearly a million people, Bellevue’s Fontenelle Forest is a haven of deep solitude with 17 miles of walking trails. In North Omaha, Neale Woods Nature Center’s nine miles of trails weave through heavy forests, hilltop prairies, and riverside woodlands.

With a state park system that stretches from border to border, you don’t have to go far to find quality trails. Spend a weekend camping at Branched Oak Lake State Recreation Area or rent a cabin or teepee at Platte River State Park—parks near the metro that offer several hiking and biking trails. Indian Cave State Park is almost 30 minutes southeast of Nebraska City, Neb., and near the city of Shubert on the Missouri River. It’s a 3,052-acre region that’s ruggedly pristine and has 22 miles of hiking and biking trails.

Hundreds of trails are waiting for you to explore, so go to VisitNebraska.com to find one to tackle today. Or order the new Nebraska Bicycle Map at transportation.nebraska.gov.