SCOTTS BLUFF NATIONAL MONUMENT, Neb. - Expectations are key in travel, and when I came here I had no expectations.
This place had no trouble capturing my imagination.
Try to imagine yourself in the 1850s, you're heading west on the Oregon Trail and you've been traveling through Iowa and Nebraska for a couple months, what was then called the Great American Desert. These bluffs are not all that spectacular when matched up against other natural landmarks, but when you've seen nothing sticking above the horizon except grasslands, for weeks, it's spectacular.
It's estimated that around 350,000 people passed by here between 1841 and 1867. The hard part of the journey remained, but perhaps the most mentally challenging part had passed. Imagine walking alongside your covered wagon, your possessions inside, as in this photo.
It's worth a stop at "Nebraska's Gibraltar."