Late Fall in the Forest

Neale Woods: Where Settler's Path and Deer Trail meet.

I love the Thanksgiving holiday for a few reasons, but my favorite is that it gives me a nice, long, four-day weekend in which to enjoy life a bit more. This Thanksgiving was much warmer than usual, so I took full advantage of it by getting out and about a few times. Friday, it was t-shirt weather here in the Midwest, so I grabbed my gear, left my family at home, and headed out to Neale Woods for a solo hike.

Another shot of the same, just a bit further down the hillside.

Neale Woods is my favorite place to hike. It's the most serene of all the places I go to get away from it all, and even if I see other cars there....I rarely see another person. In fact, most of the time, I am the only person there. It's a nice feeling to think that you have an entire place such as this to yourself. You can truly think and reflect here.

After climbing down into the valley, I connected from Deer Trail to Raccoon Hollow.

A gentle breeze was blowing, and I hiked along my favorite trail, which makes a good circle up and down and back up the hills.

Getting towards the end of Raccoon Hollow. From there I hit up the Jonas Trail, cut through Bittersweet, and ended up adjacent to the old Nature Center.

The old machine shed at the end of the first leg of the Jonas trail leading away from the old Nature Center.

These last two pictures should technically come first in the sequence, as I always start my hike walking past this one second, and the next picture first, but this time, I came back around to here when I was done to snap these photos. Sequentially then, they are in the right order.

There's an old observatory here that is no longer in use, and these old lights used to light the way to it. It's very close to the old Nature Center on the first leg of the Jonas Trail. I don't know if the lights still work, but it's doubtful that they light them up anymore as there's no reason to. I wish I had gone to the Observatory before it fell into disuse. 

Where the end and beginning Jonas Trails meet sits a bench. I sit here and rest after coming back up from the valley. From here, you can see the Omaha skyline off into the distance.

It was so peaceful and soul-mending to take that solo hike. I came out feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Afterwards, I stopped by one of my closet friend's house as it's between Neale Woods and my house, and we chatted for a few hours over some nice beers. All in all, it was a perfect day. 

If you live in Omaha, or are ever in the area, and would like to visit Neale Woods, here is a link to their trail map brochure. Happy hiking!


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