“Anybody can love the mountains, but it takes a soul to love the prairie.” – Willa Cather
Oh, Nebraska…Nebraska, Nebraska, Nebraska. No one ever gives you a chance. And let’s be honest, through the internet, it appears you don’t have a lot to offer besides flat land and farms. Oh, Nebraska. There is a part of you I will always love. That part is Toadstool Geologic Park.
First of all, Northwestern Nebraska is pretty gorgeous. There were plenty of times while driving down the super long, awfully sketchy, this-is-where-we die gravel road when Gina and I would stop to take pictures of the landscape. I’m not kidding about the sketchy road, either. Like, we were driving for 12 miles on a gravel road going 10 miles per hour without another soul in sight toward a destination we knew very little about. That’s exactly how many horror movies start. When we FINALLY arrived at Toadstool Geologic Park, there were about 7 campsites set up. It was windy and dusty and very remote. Toadstool Geologic Park is, however, one of my new favorite places. Yes, I’m serious. There’s a place in NEBRASKA that both Gina and I are completely in love with. I would even go as far as telling you that it’s okay to make it an actual weekend destination, not just a short detour in your road trip (but not much more than a short weekend-I’ll be honest).
Toadstool Geologic Park is home to 34 million year old fossils from when Nebraska resembled the savannahs of Africa. Toadstool sustained an abundance of wild life, once flowing with rivers and streams. Overtime, the water dried up, and the wild life either became extinct or evolved and migrated. Toadstool got its name from the appearance of the rocks which were carved out by the rivers. Gina and I really enjoyed hiking the surprisingly interesting and beautiful rock formations. The area was so unique, like nothing we had ever seen. We also enjoyed scouting for geodes which are cavities in rocks lined with crystals or crystal-like minerals. We didn’t find anything completely spectacular like the colorful crystal rocks you can find at the stores, but they CAN be found there.
Overall, we were very impressed by that slice of Nebraska, and we will make a return trip at some point in the future. The pictures speak for themselves.