Sunday, March 13, 2016

Taking A Sunday Drive #19

Minnesota is one of those states Bud and I have been to separately many times, but together, only twice. And both of those times we visited Pipestone National Monument on the edge of the town of Pipestone in Southwest Minnesota.

Anyone interested in Indian lore knows the reason it is called pipestone. It is the stone Native Americans used to carve their peace pipes. Bud's souvenir from the National Monument was the pipe, mine was the small dish.

The circle trail begins and ends at the visitor center. It takes you past one of the quarry pits.

Up, around and over a small cataract known as Winnewissa Falls.

And down these steps on the way back. The trail is less than a mile. It is well signed and very interesting. Part of it is in a wooded area and part of it goes through native prairie.

A half hour southeast of Pipestone is Blue Mounds State Park. (North of Luverne, MN) The Sioux quartzite cliffs were said to appear blue from a distance to the settlers passing. They named the landmark the Blue Mound.

To me, the most interesting feature in this park was this 1,250 foot line of rocks.
At the spring and fall equinoxes, the sun rises and sets on the stones in the alignment.

Closer view of the quartzite cliff.  This was near the above aligned stones.

The park has a small area of original prairie. Native prairie grasses and wildflowers have been restored to the area.

(Wild rose)

A member of the Forget-Me-Not family.

The bison herd was way off in the distance the day we were there, but close up you can see some of their wallows where they roll in the dirt.

If you visit Pipestone National Monument during the summer months, you can watch local Native Americans carve pipestone in the Indian Cultural Center located inside the visitor center. And if you're visiting Pipestone, Blue Mounds is less than thirty miles away.

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