My wife and I have a tradition of spending part of our holiday break up at the Niobrara Valley Preserve. It’s only a two year old tradition, but nevertheless…
This year, the weather was great for hiking, so we spent quite a bit of time exploring. Here are a few photos from our trip. Think of them as a Happy New Year gift from me. (Sorry, it’s all you get.)
Happy New Year!
Kim and I spent a long afternoon on the north side of the river, exploring the former pine woodland (now grassland).
Evan Suhr (land manager) took us out to look at some of last year’s management results, and on the way back we came upon a couple big bison bulls.
Rose hips provided some rare color in the winter landscape.
While almost all the ponderosa pines on the north side of the river (on Preserve property, at least) were killed by the 2012 wildfire, there are still numerous pines alive elsewhere on the Preserve, including this one.
A very light snow fell while we were at the Preserve, and it made for a very pretty Christmas Eve morning.
This hoary vervain (Verbena stricta) leaf turned into a cup of snow.
On Christmas Day, we found several small springs and followed the stream they created all the way to the Niobrara River. There were several great waterfalls along the way.
On Christmas Eve, a big full moon rose over the river not long after sunset.