Colorado on the Way to Nebraska

Yesterday we drove to Nebraska to see some fields. That was not a difficult task to achieve and is in keeping with what I expected.

But what has surprised me on this trip is just how dry it is here.

Take this picture, shot in Colorado on the way back from Nebraska. This is High Plains and Front Range land that sits in a rain shadow, and not the lush farmland I wrongly imagined.

I love it! I didn’t prepare myself much for this trip. I decided not to look at tons of pictures online or try to imagine what I would see. I came here with little knowledge, leaving open the possibility to be happily surprised.

Mission accomplished.

What’s that hiding in the grass? Opuntia! Hardy opuntia grows everywhere here. I’ve learned so much about the plant by seeing how it grows in the wild and how it protects itself at these high elevations. This has been the happiest surprise so far. A dream come true.

I’ve shot lots of images of all kinds of hardy opuntia and will do a larger post when I get back home on what I’ve observed here.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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7 thoughts on “Colorado on the Way to Nebraska

  1. We live in the very base of the CO foothills. My dream is to have enough opuntia in our backyard to make some prickly pear jelly.

    We moved here from IL 12 years ago. It was the weirdest thing ever to see cacti just growing out in a field.

  2. Welcome to Nebraska. You’ll find the western part of the state vastly different from the eastern part of the state (ie, Omaha, where I am), which is currently experiencing one of the wettest summers on record. All areas are lovely. :)

  3. What made you choose Nebraska for a road trip?

    It is off the beaten path, for sure. In a pretty different way than Thailand though. The plains from the train ride in Madrid seem kind of similar.

  4. Tamara: we went for lots of reasons. A friend of ours drove and he has a personal connection to Nebraska. I am very interested in grasslands so that was also a big factor. It did not disappoint. We saw a lot of beautiful vistas.

    I like all sorts of landscapes and I also love to see what’s growing on the side of highways and in ditches.

  5. We drove across Wyoming last week, and I kept marveling how green it was- we have had an unusually wet spring and summer, and the route you must have taken to Western Nebraska was probably greener than it is most of the time. It’s all perspective- what seems muggy and rainy here must seem like a desert for someone who is from a place where it really rains.

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