Nebraska National Forest

2:13 p.m. on January 28, 2012 (EST)
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I recently found what looks like a great area for a three to four day trip for a late May early June trip.  Anyone have been to the Nebraska panhandle area?  Thinking of the Nebraska National Forest.  Is water available etc?

Thank you in advance:

1/2 mile

2:30 p.m. on January 28, 2012 (EST)
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Try these links for the Nebraska National Forest

 

fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/​c5/04

www.stateparks.com/nebraska.html

 www.gorp.com/parks-guide/nebraska-​national-forest

 

4:55 p.m. on January 28, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks Gary:

I have contacted the USFS ranger station and they have sent me a lot of info.  I am hoping to fine someone who has actually backpacker this area for some actual incite etc.

1/2 mile

5:22 p.m. on January 28, 2012 (EST)
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I was surprised when I searched for info on the forest to find it was an artifical man planted forest? The largest man-planted forest in the world, smack in the middle of the Sandhills.

 It was established in 1902 by Charles E. Bessey as an experiment to see if forests could be created in treeless areas of the Great Plains for use as a national timber reserve. This effort resulted in a 20,000-acre (80.9 km2) forest, the largest human-planted forest in the United States. Today, the forest's nursery supplies 2.5 to 3 million seedlings per year

5:56 p.m. on January 28, 2012 (EST)
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And the best part..it is a National Forest so hike and camp where ever ya please....i.e. 200 ft from any trail, water etc.....and few folks know of it....looks like a great place for a early summer destination.....one word of caution from the NF ranger I chatted with....rather large population of some big cats.....so solo hikes and mtn bikers be aware.....

But water is still my question

1/2 mile

9:38 a.m. on January 29, 2012 (EST)
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Welcome to Trailspace 1/2 Mile.

I do not have any direct knowledge of this area, but I often use a web based resource to research water data for my trips. I thought it may be helpful to you.

The USGS NWIS Mapper gives collected data for specific areas.

Sometimes this data is current, sometimes it is not. The water flow of streams in drainage basins / watersheds is usually determined by recent precipitation levels & ground water levels.

Even old data gives a pretty good indicator of what to expect if you factor in time of year & recent precipitation for the drainage area, given there have been no major changes (manmade, etc. ) for that area.

Here is the webpage for the USGS NWIS:

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis

On this page you will see links for 6 tools on the left, the mapper tool is the bottom link.

...And the webpage for results of a search I did for the Big Bordeaux Creek in the Nebraska National Forest:

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/inventory?agency_code=USGS&site_no=06445590

I hope this helps, these tools do require you to do a little research, but I have found the information very helpful for my trips into river gorges.

Also, if you can talk directly (phone or Email) to  Forest Service personnel or Rangers who know the area and current conditions and get water availability data, that is the easiest way I have found to get quick reliable information.

Backpackers who have recently been in the area can often give you the same info, but that info must relate to current conditions, not the water levels from 5 months ago since the water levels for many areas change with the seasons as well as with rainfall.

Mike G.


11:19 a.m. on January 29, 2012 (EST)
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Now that is a great suggestion Mike and I do plan on getting the current info from local ranger station.  I also want to chat/talk/email any hiker/backpacker who has been in the area for which trail to take etc.....It is a long day's drive for me and I want to understand as much as possible about any new area I go to.

I appreciate your help and will keep the info for reference....thanks very much for the links

1/2 mile

7:27 p.m. on January 29, 2012 (EST)
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1/2 mile said:

And the best part..it is a National Forest so hike and camp where ever ya please....i.e. 200 ft from any trail, water etc.....and few folks know of it....looks like a great place for a early summer destination.....one word of caution from the NF ranger I chatted with....rather large population of some big cats.....so solo hikes and mtn bikers be aware..

 Yo, Dude !

I was just there two weeks ago.

I NOW KNOW about those BIG CATS !!

I was out for a solo day-hike.   Parked my trust VW Vanagon at the closed  (off-season) Ranger Station ( I was the ONLY ONE around ).

There had been some snow overnight, and early in the AM; a few inches.

The choice of footwear was somewhat perplexing.  A few inches of snow, with frozen sand underneath.  The Sandhills are just that.   Grassy sand dunes.  With previous snow-melt that had permeated the top layer of sand, and had frozen (temps in the low 20s).   That ... combined with the fresh snow ... I opted for a pair of ankle-high L.L. Bean "Maine Boots" (rubbber lowers, leather uppers) I had wisely brought along.   Perfect choice.  The surface was "crusty", but was slow-going in places, where the mid-day sun was melting the snow.   It was easier in the hard-pack areas, still frozen.

In-any-event, I did not have a GPS, and had decided to simply retrace my earlier steps, and walk back to the parking area.   Just a couple miles.   I might add, that a GPS would be a good piece of gear ... as, much of The Sandhills looks deceivingly similar.   Easy to get lost, or disoriented.

As I began to retrace my tracks, I saw BIG PAW PRINTS in the snow alongside my earlier prints.   They WERE NOT there a couple hours previously.

 A BIG CAT  was shadowing me.  Stalking me?   Dunno.   BUT, the hair on the back of my neck suddenly bristled.   All I had with me was a camera and a long-ish cudgel, which was a useful trekking-pole in the dunes, and along the "breaks"  (tree-lines).   I did not SEE any cats.   But, I am certain at least one had seen me (!).

Later, I saw a Park Service employee (Ranger).   He informed that there were at LEAST 300  known BIG CATS where I was hiking (!).   [ Gulp ! ].  Yikes !

Thankfully,  I am not a statistic.

                            ~ r2 ~

1:25 a.m. on January 30, 2012 (EST)
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The cat was puttin' the stalk on you Robert.  You didn't become a stat because you didn't present yourself as being an easy target.  Or, the cat just wasn't interested.  Did you see any deer tracks while you were hiking?  That is the cat's preferred table fare.

5:50 p.m. on January 30, 2012 (EST)
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rob5073 said:

The cat was puttin' the stalk on you Robert.  You didn't become a stat because you didn't present yourself as being an easy target.  Or, the cat just wasn't interested.  Did you see any deer tracks while you were hiking?  That is the cat's preferred table fare.

 

No.

Just mine and the cat's.

Troubling ... very troubling.

I am admitting my ignorance; the thought of encountering a BIG CAT never crossed my mind.  NEVER.

To say I was "SHOCKED" when I saw those tracks, would be an understatement.   I think my jaw hit my chest.   Then, I started glancing around, every direction, like a ferret or a prairie dog,  or something.

                           ~ r2 ~

7:27 p.m. on January 30, 2012 (EST)
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This is the reason website forums are so important:

Getting the word out on the dangers/trail conditions for a given area:

one word of caution from the NF ranger I chatted with....rather large population of some big cats.....so solo hikes and mtn bikers be aware....

Thanks Trailspace for this forum!!!

1/2 mile

August 29, 2014
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