A Prairie River
The great American prairie rivers gave water, food, and life itself to hardscrabble Plains settlers in the 1800s, Indian tribes before that, and flora and fauna long prior. Still today, these vital drainage arteries nourish agriculture and, in some cases, an abundance of wildlife, as in central Nebraska's Platte River. Cascading from the Rockies of Wyoming and Colorado, then fanning onto its braided-channel course for the gentle slope eastward across the Great Plains, this major waterway also provides opportunities for recreation and tourism, not to mention photography. Along its broad alluvial plain, a smooth overland transportation route has developed for a great deal of westward bound road and rail travel from one side of the nation to another. In this scene, early spring snowmelt runoff washed across the braided channel near sunset. Here and nearby, millions of sandhill cranes soon would gather for an all-night roost, repeated for several weaks every year as part of their northward migration.
2 NW Lowell NE (22 Mar 7) looking W