Photo Essay: An adventure in an adventure

One of my favorite places to hike is the Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management Area. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. If you sit quietly anywhere, you can hear the birds and the crickets. If you’re there on the right day, you might hear elk or see bighorn sheep.

Today, I went for a hike with my friend, Jen, who is relatively new to the Scottsbluff area. We hiked a little over five miles in total.

This is our adventure, or mis-adventure if you’ve ever hiked with me.

As Jen and I traveled toward the road to Cedar Canyon, I stopped to check out the road. I got out of the car, walked around and said, “Yeah, we can make it.” I should never listen to myself because we spent the next 45 minutes getting my Toyota Yaris out of this mess.

We decided to walk the roughly one mile into Cedar Canyon WMA. I parked my car in a safe place on the side of the road and we headed in for our hike. This is what the side of the road looks like. I’d say this is more rain damage than from the fire last year.

There is no way I could have driven my car safely into Cedar Canyon WMA. We have had above average rainfall this year, so my unscientific view says this is a combination of the fires last year and rainfall.

One of the awesome things about my hike was all the life I saw, big and small.

We came across this guy near the side of the trail. Jen walked by and said, “Rattlesnake,” and kept on walking. Yeah, like I wasn’t going to go back and take a picture.

I walked around to the front of the snake and took a picture. As soon as I bent down to get onto its level, the snake lifted its head. I stood up and took a step back. It was then I could see its rattle. Jen and I waited to see what it was going to do. There was no shaking of the rattle. It headed back into the tall prairie grass. We did not attempt to follow.

This looked cool, so I took a picture of it.

Cedar Canyon WMA is bouncing back quite nicely. I have hiked in that area that is full of water. I don’t recall a time when water has been in that depression.

The right side of the trail here are all exposed roots. The ground was soft, but not too bad for human foot traffic.

The view from the other side.

I’m not a plant person, but this was blowing in the wind and looked cool.

The vegetation has grown back so much, it is difficult to see the trail from here. I am standing on the left side of the trail as I took this picture. We decided it was best to turn back because you can’t safely check for rattlesnakes in this terrain.

Again, this looked cool, so I took a picture of it. It is in the middle of the trail.

This is my favorite photograph of the day.

This ant was trying its hardest to get that little stick into the entrance to the ant hill. He eventually chewed off a piece and then in the hole he went. It is my second favorite picture of the day.

A furry butterfly.

It was hot when we got back to the car. We let some fresh air in, as well as flies. My car didn’t fair too badly in its duel with the mud. I did hurt myself when I slipped in the mud and whacked my upper right ribs on the hood of my car.

Two interesting things about the grave of Fleming Dunn. The little girl statue was on the back side the last time I was here. Also, the last time I was here, I helped a turtle across the road.

I did it again. Jen, who is Lakota, told me that turtles are a sign of protection. So I went to do a little research when I came home.

According to Native Hope, โ€œThe turtle (keya) is another sacred creature among Native American tribes. Each tribe’s cultural view of the turtle/tortoise is slightly different. For the Lakota and other tribes, the turtle represents grandmother earth (unci maka), who teaches all to walk in peace.โ€

In most places I read, the turtle represents good health and a long life. It’s shell symbolizes protection.

I thought this was a bee, but I really don’t know what this thing is.

Jen sniffs some sage at the site of the Robidoux Blacksmith shop and trading post.

On our way home, we found this abandoned house. It’s located at the corner of Robidoux Road and County Road 17.

Jen peeked through the crack in the door. “Nope. There’s no floor there. It’s not safe.” And we drove to Runza for lunch and then went home.


One year later


Happy Birthday to me


  1. Jennifer

    I really enjoyed our hike. I am ready to go again. My nephew really enjoyed this story and says you are a funny writer.

  2. Steve

    Call me if you get stuck.

    • Irene

      You were at the top of my list, but we managed to get the car moving. Then, I just trying rocking back and forth and, eventually, got momentum to move. Then, I got stuck again. I think we ended up rocking the car two more times and got it all the way out. If that hadn’t happened, I was dialing your number.

  3. Barb B

    Next time I’m out that way we’ll have to do a walk, we’ll take my Jeep with 4WD. Of course by then it will be dry and dusty.

    • Irene

      I will take you up on that offer no matter the weather.

  4. Rick Myers

    Love the photos. Even the rattler๐Ÿ˜ณ

  5. Red

    Great pictures of the rattlesnake. Really need to learn the names of wildflowers. “Furry butterfly?” ๐Ÿคจ.

    • Irene

      The furry butterfly was probably looking for one of those furry cows I see around here all the time, so they could hang out together.

      • Red

        At least no pics of grasshoppers! ๐Ÿ˜„

        • Irene

          If I had seen them, I would have pictures. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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