Our trip continued as we crossed over the mighty Mississippi River into Minnesota. As you crossed over the bridge you were able to drive down under the bridge to the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.
Here below the bridge we could see the hundreds of Cliff Swallows feeding along the river and spot their nests clinging to the supports and underside of the bridge.
At this point, the Mississippi River is blocked by a hydroelectric supply dam. So, in order for ships to navigate the river they have built locks to raise and lower the water levels for the ships to travel the river.
|Cliff Swallow Nests|
|Sharon walking along one of the locks|
|Purple Martins taking advantage of a castle built near the dam.|
This was about as far as we got on our second day of travel after stopping for the Whooping Cranes (see Part 1) at Necedah NWR and crossing into Minnesota. We stayed at the Baymont Inn and enjoyed dinner at Al's Oasis.
|Al's Oasis (sorry Carl no Mexican Food here)|
The following morning we started out being tourist by stopping in the town of Blue Earth and visiting the Jolly Green Giant.
|Sharon standing with the Giant|
|At the Green Giant Museum|
From here we traveled west and headed for Blue Mounds State Park. But before we arrived there Sharon noticed a little chapel along the roadside. So she had to stretched her legs and go visit. While she we perusing the chapel, I could hear Western Meadowlarks and Dickcissels calling from the surrounding fields.
Blue Mounds State Park is full of surprises. It has quartzite cliffs, rising 100 feet from the high grass plains. A
bison herd grazes on the prairie. Prickly pear cacti bloom in June
and July. A sea of prairie grasses and flowers sway in the wind. The
park is also a favorite for birdwatchers who want to see nesting blue
grosbeaks and other birds.
|The Quartzite Cliff from where the park gets its name. Doesn't look blue to me.|
|You can camp in these Teepees. I like roughing it in a motel myself.|
|Lake and dam in the park|
At this point we were only about halfway across Minnesota and were ahead of our scheduled arrival at Bryan's house on Saturday. We decided then to make a 50 mile round trip detour and visit Pipestone National Monument at the far western edge of Minnesota. Along the way I almost found my lifer Badger but alas it was not to be.
|These TVs were hoping we didn't have enough water.|
|Road kill Badger|
For countless generations, American Indians have quarried the red
pipestone found at this site. These grounds are sacred to many people
because the pipestone quarried here is carved into pipes used for
prayer. Many believe that the pipe's smoke carries one's prayer to the
Great Spirit. The traditions of quarrying and pipemaking continue here
|American Indian filing down Pipestone|
|Some Pipes they have carved out of the stone.|
Other photos from the park follow.
|The town of Pipestone displays a model of their namesake|
|Creek below falls|
|Clay-colored Sparrow |
Next installment starts in South Dakota.
Post a Comment
Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.