Valentine, Nebraska, is the City of Heart. The street signs throughout the town include a heart on them. I would expect there are some big celebrations in Valentine for Valentine’s Day. The city isn’t very large but is close to the Niobrara National Scenic River. The river draws lots of tourists wanting to tube down the river. The outfitters use very large tubes that can be hooked together so that groups can float down the river together, sharing food and drink, playing music, and moving from one tube to another. It was great fun watching the groups float by. Something that would be fun to do when we get the family together.
In the Niobrara National Scenic River park area there are buffalo, antelope, deer, prairie dogs, and many other animals. We stopped to watch prairie dogs popping up and down and got some photos of a couple of elk. Along the river there are several waterfalls, providing beautiful hikes. The Niobrara River was created during the last ice age when much of the Midwest was covered by ice.
Further down the road from the national scenic river park is Smith Falls State Park, which has a beautiful camping area along the river. There is a trail to the Smith Falls, which is the tallest waterfall in Nebraska at 70 feet. To get to Smith Falls, there is a hike that includes crossing a very impressive and substantial foot bridge. This bridge was once a one-lane highway bridge that was retired, removed, stored, and eventually repurposed for a foot bridge. As you cross this bridge, you can see the river and any people tubing the river. We saw a family group that had about 10 rafts lashed together.
Before we left Valentine, we had to do some minor repairs to the RV. The connection between the RV and the Jeep had to be repaired. Lewis is getting pretty good at doing this kind of work. He has been considering taking a RV maintenance class.