Spirit Mound Hike

spirit mound 2Last night at a party, a friend confided to me that she was so sick of canning and preserving, she just wanted to die.  I thought that might be a little dramatic until this morning, when I started going through the tomatoes in the house and realized I have about 3/4 of a box that needs to be dealt with.

Forthwith, I laid myself down on my bed and moaned.  The dog came over and made it clear that she thought it was awfully decadant of me to be lying in bed at 10 o’ clock in the morning, and that she’d had nowhere near her full ration of exercise lately.

“OK,” I said.  “We’ll go to Spirit Mound.”

I don’t usually hike Spirit Mound unless M is here–considering it a good way to give both the dog and the boy a good run.  My native Vermonter friends would snort at the idea that Spirit Mound is a “hike” at all–more like a leisurely walk to a slightly higher elevation.  But beggars can’t be choosers on the prairie.

The only part of the walk that could remotely be considered a hike is the final few feet up the backside of this chalky mound.

spirit mound final ascentThen, once you hit the summit, you can look out over a vastly modified view of what Lewis and Clark saw when they ascended the mound in late August of 1804–no vast herds of buffalo, for instance, and the addition of numerous farmsteads, towns, and the shining hardtop of the Dakota Dome.

nebraska territoryYou can also see the Nebraska Territory–that dark line along the horizon that marks the bluffs on the south side of the Missouri River.  Lewis, Clark, and crew had a nine-mile hike from the Vermillion River to the summit, but we only have a 3/4 mile walk from the parking lot.

Big Bluestem--Spirit Mound Historic Prairie

Big Bluestem--Spirit Mound Historic Prairie

As such, my dog suffered none of the ill effects of the journey that Lewis’ Newfoundland dog Seaman did.  And I always let her get a drink from the creek on the way back.


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