- Depart Grand Island mid-morning on a Monday in a modern, comfortable van.
- Follow the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway NW and learn of the land and its people.
- Do lunch and enjoy fishing or hiking at Victoria Springs State Recreation Area north of Merna and learn of the history of the area.
- Arrive at a cattle ranch in the Brewster area mid-afternoon and visit with the owner/manager of this purebred cattle operation.
- Check into Uncle Buck’s Lodge at Brewster later in the afternoon and check into the lodge. Relax with appetizers on the deck overlooking the beautiful Middle Loup River, learning of the history of this ranch. Dinner follows as you think ahead to the canoe trip – if that’s your gig – on the Middle Loup River that morning will bring.
- Halsey National Forest is up next – this is a great lunch stop for Tuesday. Lots to see and do.
- A cattle ranch in the Thedford area is the target for mid-afternoon where we’ll converse with another-long time successful rancher who makes his living turning grass into beef. You’ll get some really good perspective on the native grasses that cover this sand dunes region.
- Our travels will then continue to the Whisperin’ Angel Inn in Hyannis where we’ll spend the night in ranch country that doesn’t get any better.
- Wednesday we’ll arrive at the old Spade Ranch Store in the little town of Ellsworth by mid-morning. You will be enamored by the merchandise of this old store and mesmerized by the history of the Spade Ranch.
- Next stop is Marie Sandoz’s monument and grave north of Ellsworth. If you aren’t familiar with Marie Sandoz, you might want to google her history and books – including Old Jules, The Buffalo Hunters, Cheyenne Autumn, and Crazy Horse
- Do lunch in Gordon.
- Check in at a draft horse operation near Valentine in the early part of the afternoon and let the owners tell you about how much a large draft horse can eat. WOW! Let them demonstrate how they show these guys at halter. As veterinarians, the owners will provide insight into the health and nutritional requirements of these big, gentle horses.
- We’ll hand our hats at the Trade Winds Motel in Valentine before either just relaxing or hiking on the Cowboy Trail or visiting the National Niobrara Scenic River Visitor Center. We’ll eat at the famous Peppermill Restaurant and crash for the night.
- Thursday morning we’ll drop canoes in the Niobrara River for a ride down to Smith Falls – what a great experience! We’ll do the brown bag lunch thing at the falls before heading to a Valentine area ranch for a mid-afternoon rendezvous.
- This cattle ranch will really exemplify the profound value of the great Ogallala aquafer that underlies the Sandhills. Talk about hay meadows! Visit with the owner/manager about this successful multigenerational, old established ranch and its staying power through drought, blizzards, and down cattle markets. See some of the ranch’s horse remuda.
- Depart for Grand Island mid-afternoon stopping in Broken Bow for dinner/supper at the Tumbleweed Café.
- Arrive back in Grand Island about mid-evening.
Thank you for checking out this itinerary! We believe you will enjoy this trip, and we know that we’ll enjoy having you along as we once again travel this great stretch of Nebraska that somehow seems to stay suspended in time.
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