Alliance was the first stop on the byway where we stayed two days. In the morning we went to Carhenge, and then drove about 65 miles northwest to the Toadstool Geologic Park, which is 18 miles northwest of Crawford, NE.
It was well worth the drive.
Things you need to know if you should ever go there:
- It's in the middle of nowhere (Nebraska Badlands).
- You have to drive on a gravel road for about 20 miles. Don't worry, you really WILL get there.
- Bring your own water. There is no water available.
- There are toilets (port-a-potty); they may be out of toilet paper. Bring tissue paper.
- There is a nice picnic area if you want to bring a lunch.
- Don't forget your camera!
- Wear appropriate shoes!
- There IS a campground there - if you have a generator and can dry camp, or even tent, I think.
- Not recommended if there has been a lot of rain.
As I stated above, we had to drive on a gravel road for about 20 miles. Everything was really dry so we stirred up a lot of dust as seen through our side mirror!
This is the road into the Toadstool Geologic Park.
We were the only ones there. It was like the end of civilization. No kidding. We started walking on the 1-mile loop around the park. This is the dry creek bed next to the walkway.
Jim walking the path in front of me; I have more pictures of his behind than I know what to do with!!
Call me crazy, but I originally thought that this park was called "Toadstool" because these looked like "toads" sitting on "stools". Go ahead and laugh. I'll wait.
Jim informed me that the park was named "Toadstool" because of the rocks resemblance to toadstools:
Oh. Never mind.
This is me, not acting my age.
See the different layers of the rocks on the top?
An official "toadstool"!
This little rock intrigued me. I picked it up and it felt "fuzzy". It had tiny little plant growth all over it. Jim is holding the rock.
Nearby was this other plant growing on a rock.
I didn't see much other plant life up high on the rocks where we were standing. Jim followed the path even higher. I've got to climb up there?
I spy with my little eye a heart in the dirt.
We came across this one section with tons of toadstools forming along the walls. It was kind of eerie because they looked like skulls to me!
Well, we've come to the end of the trail. This is looking back at what we had just traversed.
This is looking down at the empty campground and our sole truck in the parking lot.
Right before leaving the park, there was a sod house built by the Nebraska National Forest in 1984. It is a replica of one built at this site by Kenneth Pelren and Segard Anderson in 1930. A grasshopper plow was used to break the sod into strips 12 inches wide and 4 inches thick. The farmer used a spade to cut the strips into three-foot lengths (bricks) before they were loaded onto a wagon and taken to the site of the sod house construction. This type of construction was typical of housing used by homesteaders on the treeless plains. The sod construction offered warmth in the winter, cooler temperatures in the summer, and would not burn. (Information taken from a sign posted outside of the home; it was damaged so I couldn't just post a photo of the sign.)
I hope you enjoyed the tour of Toadstool Geologic Park. We sure did!