(click pictures to enlarge)
The reason I stopped at this point in Minnesota was to visit the Pipestone National Monument. Pipestone is not only a town in the state but it is also the location of rock quarries that American Indians have been using for thousands of years. When the local tribe agreed to give up their land to the U.S. in the 1800's, they were wise enough to add a stipulation that they could quarry the pipestone forever. Pipestone is a soft rock that American Indians use for making pipes. The pipes are smoked during all kinds of ceremonies. They had a very high value within the tribe. The stone was traded with other Indians as far away as a thousand miles.
The softer pipestone is under the harder red Sioux Quartzite. To get the pipestone, you have to remove the topsoil, then break up and remove several feet of quartzite to expose the 1 to 3 inch thick pipestone layer. Even using modern hand tools of today, it may take weeks or months to expose the pipestone. The U.S. Congress was wise to set the quarry location aside by naming it a National Monument in 1937 which prevented any quarrying except by American Indians.
Tomorrow is moving day and I'll be leaving Minnesota. It has been a good state. I've seen a nice museum, the beginning of the Mississippi River, the Kensington Runestone (which I haven't posted about yet), an old home place and finally a unique and sacred location to American Indians. I will be following the geese who are heading south for the winter. I'll be in Iowa tomorrow.
|Pipestone Visitor Center|
|A typical individual quarry location.|
The rock in the middle is the hard
quartzite that must be broken up
and moved to the side to prevent
the sides from caving in. The
pipestone is only about 1 to 3
inches thick under the quartzite
|This is the 1 mile trail around the |
area. You can see the quartzite
wall in the background.
|It is a nice walk with interesting |
sights. Even a bench to rest and
think if you need it.
|This gives a good view of the |
|The path winds around fallen rocks|
|These stairs take you to the top so|
you can see what is called the
Oracle. It is a place on the rocks
that look like a face.
|The Oracle. (can you see it?)|
|Interesting path location|
|More interesting path|
|The creek downstream from the falls|
|Stairs to the top of the falls|
|Looking back at the falls|
|Can you see the "old stone face"?|
|Three Maidens information|
|The Three Maidens. It used to be |
one large boulder that broke
into pieces sometime long ago.
The boulder was carried by a
glacier to this location
all the way from Canada
|This is one of the Thinking Benches|
in the campground. It was a calm
and peaceful evening.
|This is the lake in the campground tonight. |
It has been a great campground.
Ya'll take care of each other. Cya down the road.