Yesterday was a long trek from Valentine to Omaha across the northern edge of the state on Nebraska Highway 12. Almost this entire area feels forgotten, as if time moved on without it. The towns are impossibly small (see: Monowi, Pop. 1 and Gross, Pop 2.) and poetic in their own silent, sad ways. This part of Nebraska had its glory years almost a century ago and much of what once held great importance to those who lived here will disappear quietly over time.
In Sparks, I was taking photographs of the general store / post office and an old church when a woman came outside and invited me in. I learned that a grandchild had just been born - increasing the population of the town to 7. The general store had a broad, eclectic collection of necessities, and more than half of the town was sitting at a table in a cafe area, all family. They were all exceptionally friendly people, joking about how they've realized that the number of pets in the town now greatly exceeds the number of people.
All in all, this was a successful trip, and a much needed break from the day-to-day responsibilities of my job. Despite how much I enjoy wandering, there's nothing better than coming home to a comfortable house, a wonderful wife, and an excited dog.
To the future!
Visited: Sparks, Norden, Springview, Burton, Mills, Brocksburg, Jamison, Naper, Butte, Annoka, Spencer, Gross, Bristow, Lynch, Monowi, Verdel, Niobrara State Park, Niobrara, Verdigre, Winnetoon, Brunswick, and Foster, Nebraska.
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