Archive | 4:20 pm

Entering South Dakota

21 Aug

We wake up early and hit the purple back roads of Minnesota (who knew?). Our first stop is Jeffers Petroglyphs. By the time we arrive both of us are pretty sure that I’ve done some shoddy navigation work and we are in the middle of nowhere but low and behold a little visitor center appears in cross plane of fields and prairies. We enter in and are told do watch a movie to “put us in the mood”. G and I glance at each other suspiciously. We sit in the room and press the painted turtle button (it’s one of those kind of places) and watch a short interpretive video flooded with images and symbols and drums and buffalo grunts. I begin to wonder if this is all just some peyote trance. The video ends with the crack of lightening from spirit eagles mouth or something equally as epic and I leave feeling very extremely tuned into to mother earth and quite convinced that I am a reincarnated Plains Indian.
We are led out onto this flat red rock in which literally thousands of carvings are made. Most of them are very faint and difficult to see but Gary our guide uses fancy things like mirrors in shadows to illuminate the petroglyphs. There are Thunder birds and horned turtles and hands and a slew of mystery symbols all etched into this sacred rock between 70000- 500 years ago. It was all very mystical and awesome.
We hop in the car again and picnic at some muddy little creek side and watch giant trucks pass by.
We hit the road again and drive only a few sweet hours before crossing in to South Dakota and deciding to break camp early today and enjoy the afternoon. We go to the Palisades State Park on Split Rock Creek and despite positive reviews in our guide book I’m not expecting much. The land is flat and full of corn. And that’s about it. We drive into the park and find this exotic oasis of red cliffs and gorges along the side of this creek (which we get to camp- ON). Boom. New high standard. This place is awesome, we spend the afternoon rock climbing and teaching yogi to “stone hop” on the creek so his feet don’t get wet (he’s a little vain in that way). It is a natural playground. We make grilled cheeses on the campfire (and I have to say they turned out pretty tasty) and salad. We try to count the stars as they become visible and found that if you squint hard enough in any one spot they start to appear. And find that if we squint hard enough in any one spot a star will appear. We fall asleep and are awaken once in the night to raccoon rummaging through our tings. Guillaume has graciously allowed me to quote him because he was an eye witness “He was huge!! He had arms like a fat foot ball player. He could have kicked all of our asses”. I begin to wonder how long this Frenchman will last in the American wilderness…