Tag Archives: lewis and clark trail

Hiking Spirit Mound in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

12 Oct

Hikers seen at the top of Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A view of part of the countryside seen from the top of Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Revisiting places in Siouxland is always fun for me. A little exercise at some destinations and the chance to reacquaint with a place that is as much educational as it is fun. Spirit Mound outside of Vermillion, SD is recognized as one of the stopovers for the Lewis and Clark Expedition that former President Thomas Jefferson commissioned for the expansion of territory during the 1800’s.

Signage along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The hike to the top of the mound is easy enough and gives a nice view or the surrounding area, which is mostly farmland. It was high ground for the Lewis and Clark expedition to scout the surrounding area. Sacred to local Native American tribes. As described on a national park website: “Spirit Mound was alternately described as a “mountain of evel spirits”, a “hill of little people”, and a “place of Deavels.” The Sioux, Omaha, and Otoe tribes told of 18-inch tall humans with “remarkable large heads” who inhabited the site. Armed with arrows, these spirits attacked anyone who approached the hill. What did Lewis and Clark expect to find there?”

The park includes a variety of signage that includes information about the journey as well as natural history of the place that might interest to others. It’s a pleasant way to spend part of a day exploring the area. Enough exercise to work up an appetite for lunch but not too much for the non outdoor adventurous type.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A holdover from a glacial period at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage about earlier geological aspects of the area seen at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Geologic information about Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Information about restoration of prairie explained along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A rest bench at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Wildflowers at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bunny greets a visitor before darting off into vegetation along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A grasshopper nestled into vegetation at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Signage about snakes along a trail at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An all-sided bench for folk who climb to the summit and can then enjoy a 360 view of the surrounding countryside at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking in the View in Siouxland, Mulberry Bend, Newcastle, NE

18 Sep

Looking at the South Dakota side of the Missouri River seen from the Mulberry Bend Overlook in Nebraska along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

For being part of the Midwest and flyover country, the Siouxland area has some nice rolling hills and hilltops that make for nice viewing or the surrounding countryside. The Mulberry Bend Overlook, part of the Missouri National Recreational River corridor gives one such a view. Recently a make over was done to the park and so it’s been closed for about a year. To me it doesn’t seem to have changed much, although I believe some changes were done to make it more accessible to those physically challenged. The views though are still impressive.

American While Pelicans hang out on a sandbar in the Missouri River seen from the Mulberry Bend Overlook along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A view of the Missrouri River seen from a trail at the Mulberry Bend Overlook along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An overlook from a trail at the Mulberry Bend Overlook along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a couple of trails out from the overlook allowing a different view of the Missouri River and a pleasant walk for the most part, plus some seating to sit and enjoy, as long as the bugs are not too intrusive at the time one chooses to visit. Hot, humid and very muggy days are not ideal. But it’s a nice place to get away, and hopefully fall will provide some nice scenic looks as the leaves change color before falling as the winter months approach.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A platform viewing area over looking the Missouri River that is also disabled accessible at the Mulberry Bend Overlook along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

New signs along trails help hikers know where they are at at Mulberry Bend Overlook along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A second overlook off of a trail at the Mulberry Bend Overlook along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A ridge trail leading back to the parking lot for Mulberry Bend Overlook along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

at Mulberry Bend Overlook along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Buzzing About on a Summer’s Eve in Siouxland, Spirit Mound, Vermillion, SD

14 Sep

A bee buzzes around a backlit sunflower plant at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a recent trip to South Dakota and a visit to Spirit Mound, I liked the lighting that was occurring around some sunflower plants. Early enough in the morning for some directional light before the light turns flat when it reaches its zenith in the sky around noon. Plus the heat and humidity didn’t kick in until later as well.

Backlit plants at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A backlit sunflower plant at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy the light when it creates a better photographic image and gives a photo a bit more “personality”. And during summer months, early morning and late afternoon, early evening are generally the better times to be out photographing. But sometimes the ideal time might not be a good time depending on one’s schedule.

The bonus this time though was finding an apis mellifera flying about and securing a bit more substance before summer is gone. Although I must admit, I didn’t see the creature until editing images later when looking on a larger screen than the camera’s viewfinder.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bee buzzes around a backlit sunflower plant at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding a Trail out of Siouxland, Western Historic Trails Center, Council Bluffs

20 Sep

Iowa and the Siouxland area was a jumping off point at one time for people two centuries ago traveling west.  A hidden little gem in Council Bluffs, the Western Historic Trails Center covers a variety of the trails moving out of the Siouxland area for people looking for a fresh start.

The Western Historic Trails Center tells the story about various trails leading west as America was settled and is located in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The center is situated in the southern portion of the city and is connected to other parks and places by paved trails, good both for walking and bike riding.

A sign delineates the distance for destinations along the trail that runs through and along the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Trails lead away from and to the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa seen Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. One particular 3-mile trail leads to the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge that crosses the Missouri River and takes the walker or biker into Omaha, NE, along the community’s waterfront. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One trail even connects to the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge that crosses the Missouri River and drops you into Omaha, NE along the river front. But inside the trails center is the story of people moving west. Small individual metal dioramas tell the story, as does early American postcards along a back wall depicting scenes from the possibly 19th and 20 centuries.

Quite an expansive area is set up to help explain the movement west by settlers as America expanded its boundaries at the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Various metal dioramas tell the story of the settlers’ movement west at the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The center has nice grounds where people can picnic or take a rest if using the trails, as well as a sculpted piece telling the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition. And it’s these stories in places like the Trails Center about the history of people striving for a better life that helps paint the picture of America and its becoming a nation. A melting pot of diversity and cultures blending together to live a better life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A sculpted piece by artist Nan Wilson showing the Lewis and Clark trip up along the Missouri River during their exploration for President Thomas Jefferson seen at the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A nicely shaded picnic area graces the grounds of the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Various metal dioramas tell the story of the settlers’ movement west at the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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