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Wall cloud, before a cold front, lit up in yellows and gold from the setting sun. Air temps dropped to near freezing within minutes of its arrival.

Wall cloud, before a cold front, lit up in yellows and gold from the setting sun. Air temps dropped to near freezing within minutes of its arrival.

This March truly did roar into Western Nebraska like a lion. The winds at our house blew in at over 70 MPH during that first week! It wasn’t suppose to be that high, but our area gets hit really hard with the winds now that we no longer have foliage on our pine trees. Burnt pine trunks sticking out of the ground do not hold back the wind at all! There is no shelter belt anymore.

Wind snapped and broken tree limbs lay like matchsticks across the ground and dry ravines in the National Forest.

Wind snapped and broken tree limbs lay like matchsticks across the ground and dry ravines in the National Forest.

Nebraska wind has changed our landscape just as great as the fires had in 2012. The following couple of years we had a good amount of rain; and heavy rains add to the erosion where the burn was the most severe. And today, the winds have snapped the trees at the top, middle or bottom of the blackened snags. You need sure footing when out hiking now.

Sure footing and a watchful eye will keep our hikers safe among the littered forest floor. Tree trunks splintered as high winds ripped through the county.

Sure footing and a watchful eye will keep our hikers safe among the littered forest floor. Tree trunks splintered as high winds ripped through the county.

Our landscape has evolved dramatically since the Dawes Complex Fire of 2012. Every year I get out and hike the hills and canyons to see the changes. It can be a little treacherous on the old game trails, so finding new paths to walk can make it a challenge when trekking up and down the ravines and canyons. Thank heaven for sturdy shoes.

Although fire swept through this area in 2012, there were many trees that survived and the groundfloor is thriving with nutrients from the fire's ash. This game trail was well traveled this Spring and will be in the coming months as game and foul look for mates.

Although fire swept through this area in 2012, there were many trees that survived and the groundfloor is thriving with nutrients from the fire’s ash. This game trail was well traveled this Spring and will be in the coming months as game and foul look for mates.

This is the view of the old postal road that wound through the forest up to residents who once lived in the East Ash Creek area and table. Tall skinny Ponderosa Pine are remaining sentry of the area.

This is the view of the old postal road that wound through the forest up to residents who once lived in the East Ash Creek area and table. Tall skinny Ponderosa Pine are remaining sentry of the area.

There is a silver lining to this change. Every year I am amazed at nature’s recovery. It is a cycle I am privileged to witness. The lush forage for the wildlife is full of nutrients and life.
So as we come to end of March, the temperatures rise and fall. This is also the time I get out to hunt for deer antler sheds, and check for new game trails.

Young Merriam turkey along Indian creek at RLazyJ

Young Wild Merriam’s turkey grazing for bugs near Indian Creek.

It’s that time of year when I keep a sharp eye out for sign of our wild turkey. Where they have wintered and where they are heading to show off their feather finery.
It is that time of year when I can explore. I love it out here.

Sunset gold highlights our late winter grasses and buttes.

Long evening shadows and sunset gold highlights our late winter grasses and buttes.