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HomeNL-2012-08 Campfire Tales

Campfire Tales
April 2008
Paul Woodcock


I wanted to say that I had run white water in Nebraska so I went to the sand hills near Valentine, Nebraska.  The Niobrara ( has a stretch of river that has a number of outfitters that service a stretch of river that has some class one and two rapids and a waterfall. 

We did the tourist section and then went out west to run a section that very few people paddle as it is a 17-mile run. The other member of the group did not want to attempt the run so Ron and I did it alone.  As we were driving to the put-in we were stopped, as a rancher was driving a heard of cattle over the bridge to another pasture.  We asked him if we could put-in on this side of the river across his land as we didn’t to wait for an hour for the heard to get across the bridge.  We explained that we had run the popular part of the river and wanted to attempt this section.  It turns out he is a banker and allowed that the tourist business was good income for the town, but he, like most of the ranchers, resented all the changes it had made.  He gave us permission to put-in on his land but said; “About 20 years ago I had seen one of those canoes going down the river.  If I had knowed then what I know now I would have just shot them." 


I have posted other pictures of the trip on the web site.  Click here to see the photo album.


Tourist paddle   Niobrara River    Waiting to get to
the put-in
  Cattle drive


the earth is my mother
the sky is my father
the animals are my brothers
the canoe lets me get closer to them