This summer I traveled all across the Great Plains of America. I have been through some of the greatest tourist sites, like Mt. Rushmore and Mesa Verde, but out of them all, I found what a true travel destination means, and I found it in Nebraska. Here in Nebraska was Scotts Bluff National Park, which stood out to me like no other, literally.
Scotts Bluff stands out of the vast landscape, about 800 feet to be exact, and no matter what side of the bluff you stood at, you were blessed by the true beauty of nature. Nature alone however, was not the only factor that had me head over heels, but the history that rippled off the bluff and onto the prairies abroad. Scotts Bluff has been known as a major land mark of the prairies for at least 10,000 years, and has served as a waypoint to wandering bison and traveling Mormons alike. While I stood atop Scotts Bluff, I thought about its history. I imagined the horizon still filled with bison , and Native Americans following them, hoping to be led to water. It all simply amazed me.
Along with the feeling of amazement, I felt a tinge of sadness, not only because I knew that this moment would end, but at the thought of how much America has changed. No longer do the bison roam freely across the American interior, and no longer do the Native Americans follow them, either. However, these lands didn’t belong to bison and Native Americans alone, but to travelers as well-such as fur traders, caravans heading towards the Rocky Mountains, and even travelers that came with the peak of the California Gold Rush in the 1850’s. I believe people do not truly realize the struggles people experienced while traveling the West. Here in the middle of Nebraska lies a portal to our past, a place where our history shouts, and if only we took a minute, we would hear it ring clearly across our prairies. Perhaps our main problem though, is that these days, we wont take a moment out of our lives to listen, unless of course it is to a cell phone, or the newest fad in clothing. This made me stop, and ponder upon whether or not we stop and listen to the right things in life. Along with that, I thought about all the people who had traveled through here on the famous Old Oregon Trail, or perhaps even rode by as a Pony Express rider.
All the feelings that over came me while standing there at Scotts Bluff were intoxicating , and showed me how truly lucky, but yet spoiled we all are. Mail these days can be sent within a day, rather than a few days, and we do not even have to travel across the Great Plains on foot. It made me truly grateful for all I have, and allowed me to feel the respect that out traveling ancestors deserve. Having the right travel experience can really allow someone to gain a life changing experience, and I was lucky enough to have mine in a place that was the past for some, but the future for others.
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