Halsey, Nebraska is one of my favorite places to visit. For real. Sadly (for better or worse) not too many people know about it. To fill you in, Halsey is the site of America’s largest hand-planted forest. Each pine tree was planted by humans, but now the forest is taking off and a new generation of trees are sprouting up from the seeds of those planted almost a hundred years ago. Me and a friend decided to take a short trip Halsey to shoot some landscape photos and portraits.
The drive to Halsey is absolutely gorgeous, with winding roads through the Nebraska Sandhills. It’s rather boring on I-80 until you reach Grand Island where you take the highway northwest through Broken Bow and within three and a half hours driving through the rolling grasses, you come upon a tiny town and then a wall of beautiful pine trees with a firewatch tower overlooking the expensive land.
My friend and I left at 5am from Lincoln to make sure we could catch some of the sunrise from the forest when we arrived. Nothing is more beautiful than pine trees with a morning sun’s glow breaking through the dense pine needles.
We stopped about halfway between Broken Bow and Halsey when a little boarded-up cabin caught our eye. We parked the car by some railroad tracks and then proceeded to walk up to the structure. A complete cow skeleton lay in a pit to the right of the building and it was surrounded by a huge expanse of hills. After shooting a few photos of the cabin, we continued on our way.
This was my second trip to Halsey, and I made with Olivia McCrown, one of my 2018 seniors! She was more than happy to hang out for the day to visit the forest and take a few portraits while we were there!