Sunday, September 20, 2009

Effigy Mounds in north-east Iowa

Gees, the trip in the van was squashed and hot. There were four of us squeezed in the back seat where it felt like there was no air, and the sun was streaming in the window. We girls had to strip off to our skimpy singlets, which was probably offensive to some, but when you're that hot and feeling nauseous, you really don't care who you offend.

It was about six hours total travelling time to and from the northeast corner of Iowa near the Wisconsin border, and looking out over the Mississippi River. We had a picnic lunch (this was a highlight - I adore surprise boxed lunches) and walked to see the Effigy Mounds, which are Native American Indian burial sites and ceremonial grounds (made up to 2,500 years ago). Many of them are in the shape of animals from their tribal stories, like bears and birds. There are 206 of these prehistoric mounds in the National Park. We only had time to see a handful of them in a few hours. You would think that looking at mounds of dirt wouldn’t be that exciting, but knowing what they really are, and feeling momentarily part of that history – that’s priceless.

The only disappointment was that we went specifically this weekend because we had been told the autumn colours were spectacular right now - but whoever said this was misinformed. The trees are all still green, so we missed seeing the yellows, oranges and browns of autumn.

This treat is yet to come!

Thanks to Alice for the photo (doesn't the ranger look like a wax model?)

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