Post by emilylevine on Oct 31, 2018 15:51:21 GMT -5
Here are some images I took last week at Blue Water Creek and the scene of the fighting, September 1855. The land is private property, but I know the landowner. Garden County, NE. Click to enlarge. I've got lots more, but here's a sampling.
Thanks Emily, good to see that the area seems to be relatively untouched still. I was there many years ago, but did not get to walk the area or even come very close to it really. Drove around the area for quite a while but wasn't sure at the time where to look without a good map, nor did I have any idea who the landowner was. I do remember reading somewhere that the site had an overlook that visitors could see where the old campsite was, but I couldn't find it either. Emily, do you know if such an overlook exists?
Post by emilylevine on Nov 1, 2018 22:47:45 GMT -5
I've seen the "overlook" rectangle marked on the topo map, but I don't understand what they mean by it. There is one large particular hill on the property they could be referring to---but it's not like it's an official thing. Just a high point on the land. You'd never find this place if you didn't know where to go. (And of course there's a closed gate off the little gravel road.)
I spent hours there and wrote this:
I spent three or four hours walking around the Blue Water land today. The utter silence.
But then ones hears: The singing of the cottonwood leaves The two circling hawks overhead calling The laughter of the creek as it plays over downed limbs and the sand mounds it creates as it runs fast and clear to the North Platte, three miles to the south. A mule deer met me on the path to greet me. It stopped and watched. Came on ahead. Stopped again. Came closer. Then pranced off into a ravine and boing-boinged up a slope. Turkeys fussed and flew off in their noisy awkward way. I climbed high over ridges and down gullies and back up. At the highest point I sat to look. To study the topo map, G.K. Warren's map. Trying to follow and trace the undulating creek doubling back and back on itself.
I thought I would write. But, HA!, no pencil. Something wanted me to just sit and look and feel. I lay back on the stony ground on my high perch, surrounded by Artemesia frigida, the fragrant Fringed Sage. No sound at this distance but soft breeze in one's ears. Minutes later, a familiar sound! Unmistakable. I open my eyes. There, low in the sky, almost directly overhead, a string of Sandhill Cranes. They bunch and kettle and call and finally leave.
Later, I sit up, I stand up. There's my pencil in my pocket. HA! I walk down and down and to the creek's edge. It's flowing so fast, shallow and clear. I kneel and put my hand in. So cold. It tastes like . . . nothing, but coolness and grace.
The land is basically untouched for all these years. A place of such enormous tranquility and peace, of breathtaking beauty and silence, 170 years ago tuned into a field of terror and bloodshed and galloping cavalry and endless gunfire.
It's just one of those great coincidences that I've known the landowner here where I work in Lincoln for years and years.
I get the distinct impression that this place was kind of a nesting ground. Many prominent Lakota were born here. I think they probably wintered here. It is dangerous ground though. Skidi and Scili territory is nearby and the source of the stream is where the lakes begin. The marshland, the birds nest there. Migratory flocks and a perfect hunting ground for the blunt tipped arrow.
Post by emilylevine on Nov 2, 2018 18:21:35 GMT -5
Yes, the lakes to the north are rich in bird and other wildlife. Hunting areas are something it would be good to know more about. Here's the National Wildlife Refuge page for Crescent Lake and the surrounding area: www.fws.gov/refuge/crescent_lake/ If people click on the map link to the right and zoom in on Garden County, western Nebraska, they can see how Blue Water Creek emerges and moves down to the North Platte. There's also lots of springs.
I'm not so sure the Lakota would winter at the Blue Water. It's very open ground, no trees, and LOTS of wind sweeping through.
this is suggested to me because of this entry for Red Cloud, "born at Blue Creek near the forks of Platte River on September 20, 1822" which indicates it was favored ground but you are probably right about wintering there as there are much better places in the black hills