September 29, 2007 – Effigy Mounds, Froelich Fall der All, and St. Olaf

Effigy Mounds National Monument is a few miles from the park so this morning that is where we went. We went thru the museum and film at the visitor center and then took a 4 mile hike to see the mounds and the overlooks.

A little history (of course!): The effigies were created between 750 and 3000 years ago by the Woodland Indians. They are in the form of animals such as bears or birds as well as conical mounds or linear mounds. With no written records and a few surviving tribal stories and traditions, the origin and the meaning of the effigy mounds remain a mystery.

These mounds were once found all over the east and Midwest but many were plowed down when the farmers moved in. This park was established to save the remaining mounds. There are 206 known mounds in the park. Thirty one take the form of animals, and the remainder are conical, compound, or linear. A typical effigy is two to four feet high, 40 feet wide and 80 feet long. Wingspans of 124 and 212 feet are found on two bird mounds in the park. The great Bear mound is 137 feet long and 70 feet wide at the shoulder. (Yes, I did copy that but I still have pictures.)

But before I show them, the mounds were meant to be seen from the air, which makes one wonder, why they were built?? (Think about the time they were built.)

Here is a picture of the little bear (this one was outlined in limestone):
Another picture of a bear mound (notice the area of higher growth):

More pictures of conical and linear mounds:

What was really interesting is that these mounds are built on the tops of the bluffs. In some of the mounds that were dug for archeological purposes, they found many artifacts as well as bones (possible burial sites); but in other sites there was nothing!

The trail also led to a few overlooks of the Mississippi:

Isn’t it beautiful!! We had a great time!!

We heard that there was a German fest in Froelich (a small town nearby) called Froelich Fall der All, so we decided to go there for lunch. Well, it turned out to be more of an agricultural fest where people were demonstrating all the old farm equipment as well as some of the newer items. Really interesting...

Here is a picture of a guy doing rough cuts of logs:

We did get lunch and spent some time talking to two local gentlemen – it was a nice chat.

And the day continued to be interesting…. For those of you who are “Golden Girls” TV fans, well, today we went to St. Olaf:

And coming into town we had to pull over because there was a tractor parade - :-). It was just great!!! We had such a good time…

Tonight we had another great campfire!!..

We will be staying here one more night. There is supposed to be a big storm coming thru tomorrow afternoon (possible high winds and thunderstorms) so we have decided to stay put! (In fact, the winds are starting to pick up tonight.)

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