21/50: Panorama Point, Nebraska [5429’]

“…while I know the standard claim is that Yosemite, Niagara falls, the upper Yellowstone and the like, afford the greatest natural shows, I am not so sure but the Prairies and Plains, while less stunning at first sight, last longer, fill the esthetic sense fuller, precede all the rest, and make North America’s characteristic landscape.”  — Walt Whitman

Nebraska field

Nebraska is a faded duochromatic world, pale blue sky streaked with high clouds over rippling tan grasses, bisected by a grey highway.  The lack of features made it feel as though I wasn’t moving at all through space.  Rocketing down the highway, I could easily imagine that I was frozen in the atmosphere and the earth was spinning gently below my tires.

Nebraska field      Nebraska sky

The radio caught two stations, then one, then spun endlessly through the dial.  I drove on through the tan grasses and blue sky.

Panorama Point    Panorama Point    Panorama Point

Off an unmarked exit ramp I followed stairstep– two miles right, two miles left, two miles right again– dirt roads to the High Point Bison Ranch and dutifully deposited a small fee before completing the last two stairstep turns to the highest point itself.  It was marked by a tombstone surrounded by heavy pipes and a small old-timey desk with the log book and a can of tick repellent in its drawer.

I climbed up to balance on the pipes and gazed into the forever distance.  The whole landscape looked like a watercolor painting that had been smeared and left in the sun to dry.  A line of bison walked neatly in the distance.  The sun wheeled quietly overhead.

lone cow      Panorama Point

 

About the beer: 

I love a good spicy saison in the summertime, and Nebraska Brewing Company’s Apricot Au Poivre was like the Nebraska landscape– lovely in a way, sharp like the tan grasses, and a little faded like a watercolor.  It starts off smelling like a spicy apricot jam, and has a dry oaky chardonnay taste balanced with a gentle apricot sweetness that finishes with a mild dry tingle of black pepper.  It’s light and mellow and not quite what I expected, not unlike Nebraska itself.

Nebraska Brewing Company Apricot Au Poivre Saison - Panorama Point - Nebraska

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