Nebraska Panhandle and Beyond

May First Snow in Colorado Springs

May First Snow in Colorado Springs © 2013 Bo Mackison

Day Six – Trekking to Nebraska’s Panhandle

A perfect excuse for a day sabbatical from the car was a freak May 1st storm
that followed me across Colorado and caught up with me in Colorado Springs.
Set with a quiet room, a lap pool, and a breakfast bar,
I planned an all day writing/photography retreat – revival for a weary traveler.

May 2nd and I head northwest, city rolls into country,
cars angled awkwardly in ditches remain from yesterday’s icy sleet.
Yellow road sign: No plowing. 7 pm to 5 am.

Atop Scottsbluff National Monument

Nebraska Panhandle © 2013 Bo Mackison

I delight in beds of deep purple wildflowers on the roadsides.
Sheep, cows, horses share small pastures.
A trickling creek winds around thick-rooted bare branched tree relics.

Snyder, Colorado.
1st Street, 2nd Street, 3rd Street, 4th Street.
Asphalt roads in the villages, county roads are dirt ruts.
Circuitous, the South Platte runs wild with snow melt,
and snow clumps around fence poles, in the tree thickets.

Scottsbluff National Monument

Scotts Bluff National Monument ©2013 Bo Mackison

Clouds are famously scattered, every second grader draws this sky.
Looking for coffee, I pause at the Prairie Cafe in Stoneham.
Abandoned, a sign — “closed, be back soon” — dangles from a cracked window.

I cross into Pawnee National Grassland, though grasses are rare in these parts.
The Grasslands are home to tanks, army helicopters,
I pull over for a camo caravan led by a siren-warning police unit.
Army games and cattle farms dominate my road view of National Grasslands.
With relief I leave Pawnee and cross the Colorado/Nebraska border.

Scotts Bluff National Monument

Path into the Storm © 2013 Bo Mackison

My day’s destination – Scotts Bluff National Monument.
Scotts Bluff, sandstone rising 800 feet above the North Platte,
an eagerly sought landmark by travelers on the Oregon, Mormon and California trails.

And an eagerly sought landmark by this traveler, too.
I walk a rare mixed-grass prairie, listen to a ranger’s  historical stories,
experience her passion for the land and I have time enough to explore.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. A cross-country traveler by day, and an occasional poet. This is a poem in nine parts, because the trip lasts nine days. This is Day Five and Day Six.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. I am loving tagging along on this road-trip with you!

  2. Interesting travelogue!

  3. I’m just now reading thru your visual and verbal description of this cross-country road trip. WOW…what an incredible experience!!!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      It was an incredible experience, Marcie. One I never expected I’d undertake, but so thrilled that I did.

  4. “Path to the Storm” is an absolutely perfect memory-making moment, Bo. Your photograph is so beautiful. I would love to hear more about that moment – how you found that path – where you were and what you smelled in the air – the light, the emotions, everything. Your photographs are more than mere images – they capture everything you are sensing at that particular second in time. Things that can never be duplicated. Never been to Nebraska – wonderful “sense of place” description and imagery. XO!

  5. Bo Mackison says:

    Reading your words, it came to me that I do like photographing the “sense of place” rather than just the landscapes. Thank you for that insight, Debi!

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