Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Scott’s Bluff in the morning

with 8 comments

At the top of Scott’s Bluff on May 28th, the late-afternoon wind had taken to blowing so hard that we drove back down to get away from it, resolving to come again the following day before continuing north through Nebraska to South Dakota. Here’s the prairie view that greeted us that next morning as we looked west from the western fringe of the town. Don’t you wish you had one of these 800-foot-tall geological fortresses conveniently sitting at the edge of your town so you could play on and around it whenever you wanted to?

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 1, 2017 at 4:51 AM

8 Responses

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  1. Do I wish I had one of these? In short: yes. In fact, it would be so much of a treat I might nickname it The Big Rock Candy Mountain.


    August 1, 2017 at 5:56 AM

    • Am I going to hear Burl Ives? Let me follow the link and find out… Of course it was Burl Ives. The song has a darker history than the version he made popular suggests:


      As for Scott’s Bluff, subdivisions of the town have been encroaching on it from the east. I hope the National Park Service owns all the land shown in this picture.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 1, 2017 at 6:11 AM

      • In the linked article, I especially enjoyed this prim little line: “In the released version this verse did not appear.” The version I learned hadn’t been entirely revised; it still contained the cigarette trees, whiskey lake, and so on. Of course, those things still were a natural part of life at the time.

        As for the land, I hope the Park Service does own it, and I hope no one in D.C. decides it should be sold.


        August 1, 2017 at 6:19 AM

        • Along with prim I’d call that sentence understated. Whether those qualities got there on purpose or unintentionally, I can’t tell.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 1, 2017 at 6:38 AM

  2. What interesting details about that song. Thanks for the link.

    Jim R

    August 1, 2017 at 7:43 AM

    • You’re welcome. The versions of nursery rhymes and folk songs that we grew up with in America were often sanitized ones deemed appropriate for children. Some of the fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm, for example, really were grim in their original versions.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 1, 2017 at 7:51 AM

  3. Yes, I would like such scenery nearby. I walk the same sidewalks every day with my JRT. It brings such joy to explore areas like in your photo. There are always surprises-pretty stones, tiny plants, interesting insects, occasional rock art, maybe even critters. I, too, want the wild to stay that way. I plan to return to the Bluff, Utah, area in Oct. for some hiking, gawking at rock art and ruins of the ancients. Not so many plants on the mesas and in the canyons, but I cherish those that I find-cactus, etc. They work so hard to cling on and survive. I like the way you draw us in with the beautiful, curved foreground. It is a perfect visual lesson in good photographing. Thanks!


    August 1, 2017 at 7:57 AM

    • You’re quite welcome, Dianne. The scale and geological grandeur of the West, along with the enticements of the desert, make so many other places seem bland. It’s good to hear you’ll be making your way back to Utah in October. If our experience last fall was typical, be prepared for lots of people there after the worst of the summer heat has passed.

      I looked up Bluff on the map. Too bad I didn’t know about it when we passed through Four Corners in 2014 or I would have made the side trip to see Twin Rocks. On the other hand, we didn’t want for scenic things. We kept busy and saw a lot but still felt the desire to return last fall to visit places we’d missed, like Sedona. The trip two months ago was another bite at the golden apple that is the West.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 1, 2017 at 8:22 AM

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