We stayed on North Platte river for a few days as a little vacay between assignments. If we are going to travel across the country, we might as well see what is along the way. We explored the surrounding area, attended the Pony Express Rodeo in Gothenburg, and found a terrific state lake/beach area to enjoy. Everything was beautiful with all of it’s green foliage (something that was not present in the high desert). Something else that was not present in the high desert was the HUMIDITY. How quickly I had forgotten what that felt like. The air is so heavy and thick here. My husband says that it smells like “life” and “things that are living”. I can agree with that. However, I describe it as the odor of organic matter combined with fertilizer. It is not necessarily an unpleasant odor, just very different than the crisp, clean air that I have lived in for the past 13 weeks. The climate on the North Platte river is very similar to what I was accustomed to in Texas, but now I know it can be very different and I long for the dry air that I originally struggled with in the desert.
The other thing that is prevalent here (which I had also forgotten about) is insects and bugs. The smallest thing in the desert was a lizard besides the occasional moth. There were ants, but at least they didn’t fly around. I remember leaving the camper door open while in Nevada without a care in the world. Not at the river. The mosquitoes, gnats, flies, and ticks almost carried us off. I had completely forgotten about the need for bug repellent and screens. I had also forgot about lightning bugs. The lightning bugs on the river were the largest, most beautiful, and largest in number that I had seen since childhood. I tried to capture them in a photograph, but they are just so quick. If you look closely in the photo above, the bright colored object in the left/middle region is truly one of them! They brought a smile to my face as I remembered some wonderful memories.
Let me just tell you that I was also not prepared for the elevation change. I knew that I would struggle with the ascent, but not the descent. I have struggled with GI issues and insomnia since returning to a lower elevation. I also learned a hard lesson about transporting items across elevations. I always knew that packaged items like chips and shampoo would inflate (and possibly explode) when increasing elevation. What I did not know is that they would deflate when the elevation decreases. We arrived at the campgrounds with a flood in the kitchen. Remember those jugs of water that I purchased during the winter in Nevada (to ensure that I had water if the pipes froze again)? They deflated to the point that they ruptured. Everywhere. Everything in the pantry was saturated. All of the boxes and food items. Now I know.
My little plants made the journey with me. They are not so little anymore. And, fun fact: the one that was supposed to be lemongrass is obviously a rogue pepper plant. I grew all of them from seeds, so it must have established itself in a different group of pods. I am not disappointed. Now I have to wait and see if it is a sweet pepper or hot pepper…..
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