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OFG out Wandering About

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~ That winery looks interesting! Holly and I went to the winery at Biltmore. She was feeling "tipsy" after drinking ONE of those little thimble sized cups of wine at the tasting. So I just drank her share.  :whistle:


The woods there look so different than they do here. That's what I find so interesting about the pictures everybody posts. Thank you for sharing OFG.  :thumbup:  I enjoyed your hike.

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I'll be at Kepler today doing volunteer work for United Way.  Cleaning up and painting shelters, clearing brush and whatever other odd jobs they need done.  Forgot my dang camera though, mad at myself. 



Where were these latest shots taken?



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On May 10, 2012, after visiting Gavins Point Dam, I hiked the Calumet Bluff Trail on the south side of the dam in Nebraska.  From the parking area, there is a great view of the dam.


It was late in the afternoon, but still lots of daylight left. 


The cliffs next to the lake are chalk, about 100 feet above the water in places.


Along the shore, lots of driftwood.






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The sun going down offered some gorgeous views.


This is an out and back trail, just under a mile out. The trail is pretty well maintained with a couple of small bridges where needed and lots of up and down through the bluffs.  Apparently, there are some very ambitious beavers in the area.


I made it back to the parking area in time to enjoy the fading sunset.  On this hike, I was able to gather the information needed to log my first geocache (and Earthcache) in Nebraska.


Near here, under a large oak tree, Captain Meriwether Lewis gave a speech to the Native Americans on August 30, 1804.






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On Friday, May 11, 2012, I left Vermillion, SD, first making a stop along the Missouri River.  It was a cool clear day, nice and quiet along the river.




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I headed out north of Vermillion about 6-7 miles to Spirit Mound.  Here is a little history of this area:


On August 25, 1804, Lewis and Clark, along with several of their men and Lewis's dog Seaman, walked nine miles to Spirit Mound from their camp on the south bank of the Missouri River near the mouth of White Stone Creek in South Dakota. The explorers were determined to see the mound that was so feared by the Indians of the area. In his journal Clark explained the legend of Spirit Mound:


. . . and by the different nations of Indians in this quarter is Suppose to be the residence of Deavels. That they are in human form with remarkable large heads, and about 18 inches high, that they are very watchful and are arm'd with Sharp arrows with which they Can Kill at a great distance; they are Said to kill all persons who are So hardy as to attempt to approach the hill; they state that tradition informs them that many Indians have Suffered by these little people.So much do the Maha [Omaha], Soues [sioux], Ottoes [Otoes] and other neighboring nations believe this fable, that no Consideration is Sufficient to induce them to approach the hill. One evidence which the Inds give for believing this place to be the residence of some unusial Spirits is that they frequently discover a large assemblage of Birds about this mound . . . (DeVoto 1997, 22)





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This area has been restored to the native prairie grass.  Some flowers were in bloom and the trail is well groomed.


This rock and plaque was initially placed on top of the mound.  After being vandalized, it was restored and moved to a spot along the trail.


The trail crossed a small stream as it headed toward the mound.











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The prairie is maintained using controlled burns to clear out any trees or bushes that attempt to move into the area.  You can see where a burn from last fall took place.


Getting closer to the mound, you can see how it is laid out.  The east face is nearly vertical. The mound slopes down to the west from the peak.  The west slope is all glacial till with lots of erratics strewn about the area.


The trail tread is pretty much the underlying glacial till with the prairie grass removed.  It winds around the west slope and then to the north as it leads to the summit.















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To the north of the mound, flat prairie extends as far as you can see.


Near the summit, a couple of outcrops of the underlying rock are found. These are chalk, which, as the name implies, is chalk.  You can take a piece and write on a sidewalk.  This is completely different from the glacial till covering the slope on the way up.


Next comes the last stretch of trail to the summit.









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From the summit, here is the slope to the west and the trail.  The prairie stretches 9 miles to the Missouri River.  If you look closely, along the horizon, near the left edge of the picture is the "Dakota Dome" on the campus of the University of South Dakota, home of the "Coyotes", approximately 6 miles away.


To the north, the prairie.


To the east, a steep drop off, strewn with larger erratics.


The trail to the summit is just under a mile and climbs 120 feet.  The view from the summit is impressive.  No Deavels about today.









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I hiked out to Steward Cascades, which was about a 20 mile drive from where I am staying.  Took a while, but finally found a trailhead.  My GPSr showed 1.2 miles to the falls, but the trail is actually a little over two miles with about 400 feet of elevation change.


The hike out and back was truly amazing as well as challenging.  The trail was very well maintained and after the initial climb, leveled out, but still with some up and down.  It winds through the forest, passing meadows, rock slides, aspen groves and just about everything else you could imagine. 


You can hear the falls when you get about .5 miles away and the first sight of the falls is just about .3 miles and is beautiful.  I wish I would have had more time to just sit and watch the water tumbling down, but I didn't get started until late and wanted to get off the trail before dark.






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As I was working my way down the last section of trail, I turned and saw the mountains, silhouetted by the lighter sky, framed by trees with the half moon hanging just to the left of the peak.  I was in awe, just standing there for a long time, taking it all in.


Anyone who could look upon that and try to say this is all a random alignment atoms with no divine guidance is only trying to fool themselves.


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Was playing with the software from my GPS and pulled off a couple of hiking tracks.


The first is from Palisades Kepler State Park last spring.


The second if from my hike through the Grand Canyon.


The new Garmin Basecamp software has a lot of new features and shows some great info.  You can select two points on a track and it will calculate the distance, max and min altitude, total ascent, average speed, grade, etc.



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That's pretty cool.  I'll have to update my Delorme subscription and play with some of the new toys they have.  I haven't touched it in about a year now.



Wonder if they have anything equivalent to basecamp?





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That's pretty cool.  I'll have to update my Delorme subscription and play with some of the new toys they have.  I haven't touched it in about a year now.


Wonder if they have anything equivalent to basecamp?

I've never used any of the stuff from Delorme but would be interested in seeing it.

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