From our picnic table on a bluff in Niobrara State Park in the northeast corner of Nebraska, we could see the upper Missouri River, and on the opposite side, South Dakota.
It was a warm weekday in May with the lightest of breezes and a few wisps of clouds. Long native grasses covered the slopes, speckled with tiny wildflowers. In the stillness, all we heard was the buzz of insects.
We had our hilltop picnic area -- most of the park in fact -- to ourselves. We had passed a trio of anglers here, a young couple clearly enjoying the solitude over there.
We had stopped in a tiny town south of the park and bought sandwiches at a grocery store's deli counter and stowed them with fruit and soda in our little backseat cooler. Our hilltop lunch table with its spectacular views was a lucky find.
Never miss a local story.
In coming to this park (www.stateparks.com/niobrara.html) at the confluence of the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers, we had also stepped back in time. The park is on the Lewis & Clark Trail -- the explorers camped here in 1804 before following the Missouri River into South Dakota. It was once the site of a Ponca Indian village, a tribe that was forcibly removed and later terminated by the U.S. government. The tribe has since re-established its headquarters in the town of Niobrara.
This is one in a series of postcards by Marjie Lambert, assistant Travel editor, who has been to all 50 states.