Really I did.
But Mother Nature ruined my expectations, as well as the lookout point for what I believe is one of the most beautiful places in Northeast Nebraska -- the Yellow Banks Wildlife Refuge.
Funny thing about Yellow Banks: Throughout all of my life my grandparents owned a farm less than five miles from the refuge. (In fact, you can see sections of their land from the road leading out there.)
But I never knew about Yellow Banks until I was in college; my husband -- who grew up in Sherman County -- told me about it when we were dating. I was 18 years old the first time I hiked the trails and enjoyed the beauty of nature at the edge of the cliff there.
I remember thinking: "Wow! How did I not know about this place?" The view of the river and valley took my breath away, and there was a nice little clearing at the cliff to sit and enjoy the scenery.
How could any nature-loving Nebraskan not like this place?
Unfortunately, neither my husband nor I had a lot of time to enjoy it. Before either of us realized, years had passed since we had last hiked those trails.
Then last weekend we decided to talk a walk.
In honor of our 15th wedding anniversary -- which is today, btw -- he and I drove out to the Yellow Banks and started hiking the trails. I brought my camera, intending to snap some pictures of the gorgeous view.
We should have known the old cliff wouldn't be the same when we entered the brush and saw the dead tree that had fallen over the path. We should have known when we saw the trails veer off in several new directions. We should have known not to continue on when a swarm of blood-thirsty mosquitoes attacked us.
But we pressed on, only to discover that the bank had eroded several feet. The clearing where we'd once enjoyed the scenery was gone and a treacherous drop off was all that remained.
Dejected, we returned to our vehicle, dodging worm-length garter snakes (ick) and suspicious stares from the locals who drove by.
Thankfully, the whole trip wasn't wasted.
As the old saying goes, getting there is half the fun. For me, that's truly the case when I travel the gravel in Nebraska.