Everybody deserves a day in paradise–at least once.
Last weekend my daughter and I headed to Long Pine, Nebraska for a mini vacation in the Sandhills. Tucked away in a wooded valley near the edge of town is a cluster of cabins called Hidden Paradise—a perfect name for this little gem of a community.
When my daughter first asked me to go floating with her, I’ll admit I was a tad nervous since I don’t swim and the resort doesn’t supply life jackets.
“What if I tip over?” I asked her.
“Stand up,” she answered.
Well, all righty then. If the water is shallow, I’m game. I agreed to the float and am so glad I did.
The first morning at the cabin was a bit on the chilly side, but being the brave soul that I am, I agreed to a mid-morning float. (The real reason was I didn’t want to look like a complete weenie in front of my daughter. But I’m sure the ear warmers I wore took care of that. Hey, don’t laugh. I have very sensitive ears. I can’t help it.) Fortunately for both of us, we had the creek to ourselves so no one noticed my fashion faux pas. I hope.
So anyway, we grabbed our inner tubes and traipsed to the launch area and settled into the chilly water for a relaxing float down the clear, bubbling, sandy bottom creek. We bobbled along with the current, twisting and turning around the curves of the creek, floating beneath foot bridges that linked cabins to properties on the other side. As we floated along I gazed up at the Sandhills and overhanging trees. Decorative flags fluttered from cabin decks and flowering plants graced porch rails. Wild flowers and grasses sprouted along the sandy banks. Aah. A little piece of heaven.
(BTW, since my middle name is not Grace, I did manage to tip myself over getting out of the tube at the end of the float. So as I held my head above the water, I remembered my daughter’s advice and stood up. Hmm, that wasn’t so bad. The water was only knee deep.)
We floated a couple of more times that day and by afternoon the day had warmed up nicely. Thankfully we had one nice day on the water since the next day the temps didn’t get out of the 60’s, so we spent time hiking in a nearby park.
Hidden Paradise also boasts a very cool old railroad bridge transformed into a pedestrian bridge which makes an ideal spot to star gaze on clear nights. Though it’s a bit weird walking the bridge in the dark, it is an awesome experience.
So, that in a nutshell, is how I spent my days in Paradise, and I can’t wait to go again.
Shari Barr lives on a farm in southwest Iowa with her husband and they have a grown son and daughter. Her most recent fiction titles include four "McKenzie" books in the Camp Club Girls series for middle grade girls.View all Shari Barr posts.