I’d never heard of Pipestone National Monument but when Kathleen told us about it, it became an imperative.
She chose a route which took us well north of the interstate so we could appreciate the state’s vast, open countryside. Kath likes roadtrips. If I lived in the US so would I! You can just drive. It’s not all traffic congestion like here in the UK.
(Just click on the pictures for the full screen effect)

I heartily recommend the Tomato and Basil Soup– Perkins– good places to eat.
Pipestone Quarry is an ancient Indian site, geologically and anthropologically unique. I cannot do it justice on a blog entry but I would encourage you to take a look at the History of Pipestone and if you are ever in the vicinity — we were 200 miles away 🙂 — it’s worth the trip because whether you like myths, history, geology, traditional crafts, smoking a pipe, peace or just the sheer magic of a beautiful place, this is surely it!

I think it helped that we visited in September. It’s quieter after Labor Day in the US — not so many visitors to jostle with the peace of this pipestone quarry. It was cooler too.

It’s got to do with a Great Flood and Blood, the sacred colour red, fire and stone, smoke rising like a prayer and pipe weed — Sumac, Wild tobacco, tree bark and prairie grasses — a potency of potential — P E A C E

The trail is under a mile taking prairie views, falls and the quarry face itself which offers some unique features.

look through the hole and see
The Oracle

Did I ever tell you how I love silently communing with nature? Two other people were just too much for me so I told them to go away, sat down and contemplated a very special face of rock which I will not share here. There was a real sense of spending a unique moment in time with a rockface something that seemed timeless. Then a moment of clarity which I willpass on.

I was here before you.

I will perhaps be here after you.

Only now are we together and unchanged.

It’s a memory I will treasure — me and Pipestone.

The visitor’s Centre is interesting, film, pipe and jewelry making demonstrations, lots to read and of course a gift shop. This was one gift I just had to give Noel — a real handmade native Pipestone pipe.

If you go there. respect the nature of the place. Native Americans still come here to quarry stone today — trying to locate that foot deep seam of sacred stone. Take nothing but photos. Leave nothing but footprints.

Sit a while. Meditate. I am so glad that this place was preserved and that we could visit it that day.

Then the onward journey — 38 more miles to the town of Sioux Falls — crashing and a welcome swim —  at The Hilton Garden Inn small pool but I recommend it.

Next: Sioux Falls and Blue Mounds