on my recent trip to South Dakota, the weather proved infinitely more agreeable for “outdoor activities” than it had been in January. still windy. very windy. but much, much warmer.
on Saturday, we set out for Palisades State Park, located just northeast of Sioux Falls in Garretson. the Split Rock Creek flows between the pink quartzite walls of the canyon, which rise between 30 and 50 feet from the surface creek. in the U.S., major quartzite formations are found in central Texas, Utah, southwest Minnesota and eastern South Dakota, and the Baraboo Hills of Wisconsin. these particular rock formations are somewhere around 1.2 billion years old and is one of the only places in the country to contain catlinite (also known as pipestone), which is used by native peoples to create peace pipes. apparently, several pipestone quarries can be found within the park (we stuck to walking along the Creek and climbing the rocks).
because of the quartzite cliffs, Palisades State Park offers excellent rock climbing opportunities (not unlike Devil’s Lake) and, despite not having any proper equipment, the three of us took the opportunity to scramble up the “Queen” spire. (the picture below is of the “King”, from where we stood atop the “Queen”.) Josie, with her much longer legs, managed to get up onto the very highest point of the spire, while Rebecca and I settled for slightly lower perches.
during the 19th century, there was a huge flour mill overlooking the bluffs and the town of Palisades bustled on the banks of the creek. in 1886, silver was discovered downstream and produced a short-lived boom (the ore turned out to be of poor quality). several years later, the railroad company built a switching yard where Garretson is now located and the town relocated. railroad officials offered free lots to business owners located in Palisades to relocate to the new town.