2019-09-17. Pipestone National Monument
At the suggestion of Bill Williams, our Menominee Indian friend, we visited Pipestone National Monument, in southwestern Minnesota, a sacred place to many different native American tribes. It was here that the Great Spirit brought the tribes together, breathed the smoke from the sacred pipe over them all, and admonished them to keep the peace in this place. Pipestone is the rock from which the traditional pipes are made and it is a russet red stone found between layers of quartzite exposed as cliffs in an otherwise unbroken prairie. Today, native Americans still have the right to quarry the stone to create the ceremonial pipes and the pipes themselves are works of art. At the national monument site, there is a nice visitors center with exhibits and a movie describing this place and with native carvers working on their creations and eager to share their craft. There is also a wonderful trail to the cliffs with signs along the way identifying the native plants and describing the history of the location.
In the town of Pipestone, Lange’s café boasts great food and they lived up to the claim. Bob had their special breakfast consisting of ham, cheese, onions and peppers between two layers of hashbrowns and served with eggs – who thinks of these things? Lange’s makes its own bread and the cinnamon raisin was amazing. And then, there’s the cinnamon buns – better than my own! They are huge (so we split one) and once heated, the caramel is drizzled over the top so it sinks into the dough. Yummy!!!! Hmmm...wonder why I am gaining weight.
Back at Blue Mounds State Park, we took Roadie for another lovely hike; this time along the upper and lower cliff trails that traversed the prarie and climbed in and out of the red quartz cliffs ending at a huge expanse of green prairie lined with wildflowers. The air was filled with the sound of grasshoppers, birds and bees with butterflies adding their own splash of color. Yesterday’s rain that had turned the prairie into cascading water courses was but a memory with no evidence that there had even been a storm. This truly is a lovely park and we would definitely recommend it!