Falls Park, Sioux Falls South Dakota

6-4-2014 Nebraska-South Dakota Day Sioux Falls from observation tower -2679

Sioux Falls was founded in 1856.  Here is the city's website with some local history: VisitSiouxFalls.com

6-4-2014 Nebraska-South Dakota Day Sioux Falls WM -2734

It's been nearly six years since I exited the interstate to head north to Fargo, where I visited in the summer of 2008.   I didn't explore Sioux Falls at that time.  But, I missed out on a lot I see because this is a city with an interesting history. 

Falls Park at Sioux Falls South Dakota-2702

I have a phobia about rushing water.  The sound of the falls was overwhelming and loud.  It is a beautiful place but I didn't want to stay long! 

Falls Park at Sioux Falls South Dakota-8984

We went up on the observation tower to look at the falls.

Falls Park at Sioux Falls South Dakota-2699

And...I don't think this would be a problem.  I spent a few minutes up here and was ready to get back on the ground.

Falls Park at Sioux Falls South Dakota-2701

A statue of the buffalo. 

Falls Park at Sioux Falls South Dakota-2754

This is a neat place to stop.  A beautiful park. 

Falls Park at Sioux Falls South Dakota-2713

You could stand and feel the rushing water.

Falls Park at Sioux Falls South Dakota-2721

I wasn't about to take my camera to get wet, my sister took a photo of me taking a photo of the falls with my phone. 

Falls Park at Sioux Falls South Dakota-2750

Kids playing on the rocks near the water in the park.

Falls Park at Sioux Falls South Dakota-2760

We weren't at the park very long, after a long day we were tired and ready to find a hotel.  I'm glad we drove down because it was cool and rainy the next morning.

Falls Park at Sioux Falls South Dakota-8986

I love traveling and finding things I don't expect.  It's also interesting going places where you don't have a preconcieved notion of what is there.  So if you get the chance head to Sioux Falls.   Of course this river is a big reason we were in Sioux Falls as we looked to visit Good Earth State Park at Blood Run the next day. 

Harlan County Dam and Lake

Harlan County Lake-9842
So, if you're looking for a vacation destination in Southern Nebraska there is Harlan County Lake.  Now, this was our summer vacation destination for our family.  Conveniently located a mere 38 miles from the small prairie town of Edison (where the relatives live) and a short 10 miles from Bloomington where we had a rental house to stay in. Now this is only the beginning of posting these photos. I have a few hundred more where this came from.  

Harlan County Dam-9858
The first couple of days of our trip was cool, cloudy and dreary.  We spent the weekend with family and visiting with relatives in Edison.  It began to warm up on Monday afternoon. 

Harlan County Lake-9853
So these photos were shot over a period of a week. I am going to do some mixing and matching to give you a good idea of the lake.  It's a large lake, huge for Nebraska.  Over 10,000 acres which makes it about the size of our Waurika Lake which is less than an hour from where I live.  

Harlan County Lake Map-9659
Before you go out on the lake stop by at the Visitor's Center and check out their information and exhibits for the kids. 

Ali at Harlan County Lake Visitor's Center-9663
There are lots of things you can do on the lake, fishing, swimming, skiing and tubing.  

Ray and Dewayne-0431
My Brother-in-Law and Husband out on the boat. That was a rough ride across the lake that day!

Justin Tubing Harlan County Lake in Nebraska-0499
My 12 year old enjoying riding on the tube.  My hobby is photographing other people's hobbies, it seems sometimes. I didn't really want to be in the water that day so I enjoyed being in the boat with the camera.  I'd rather be in the river.   I grew up a mile from the Niobrara river so my childhood we often went to the river to play, since it was only a mile away.  After last week I miss living near a river and knowing my kids don't often have the experience of playing in the river.   

Harlan County Dam-9873
I captured an amazingly beautiful sunset on this lake.  I'm not sure if I will share all those photos just yet.   

Harlan County Dam -9891
This year my Husband's family will be a part of my family as long as my own family has been.  18 years, half of my life.  I love his family and enjoy the time we spend together.  I also like being in Nebraska in the summer instead of the holiday season, when it's beautiful.  Sometimes you don't appreciate a place that was integral to making you who you are; although I rarely make it to the northeast corner of the state where I was raised, it is still like coming to my home state.  The state that I was born in.   

Pelicans at Harlan County Lake in Nebraska-0383
There will be more of Harlan County Lake to come... but I will leave you with a shot of the sunset.  

 Sunset at Harlan County Lake-0031
Remember our sunsets are limited - go enjoy them. 


While I have way too many photos to edit from my trip to Nebraska, I want to start with some that are touching to me.  My youngest son and his young cousin spent the week together.  I loved watching my baby act the part of the over protective older cousin with his little cousin.  

Two thumbs down-0794
Tubing on Harlan County Lake near Republican City, Nebraska.  Thumbs down means "slow down."   Justin and Ali -9817

They spent some time at the park. They are about three years apart in age difference.  Her big sister is my Justin's buddy since they are only a year apart.We had a house in the small village of Bloomfield for a week, only 9 miles from Republican City where the Harlan County lake is located.  We spent one afternoon tubing down the river (no photographs of that day) and then they had part of a day on the lake and my oldest son and I went to a few musuems.   The last day we went tubing and then back to the river with the kids where I played just as much in the river bed as they did. 

Swimming in the Republican River near Bloomfield Nebraska-0867
I love these kids.  The year we lived in the same town with this little young lady she wasn't even a year old.  

Buddy on the Bench-9812
Buddy has the coolest eyes.   Ice blue eyes on a white spotted dog. 

Swimming in the Republican River near Bloomfield Nebraska-0834
I loved watching them play the couple of times that we went out.  This is what making memories is about.  I thought about this song as I edit these photos. 

Justin and Ali in Bloomington Nebraska -9800
Look at how tall my little man is getting.  By the way, nine hours in a car with him is long enough for me!  Just a few photos of a couple of my favorite little people.   

W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam near Spiro Oklahoma

I just finished visiting the Spiro mounds, hoping to gain the inspiration I needed to continue working on my thesis.   I wanted to find the river that this great Mississippian empire was built on.  I knew the mounds were near the river, just directly behind the archaeological site.  The rivers in my part of the state just don't look the same.   We go four wheeling in the Red River.  

Dam on Arkansas River near Spiro-9441
You won't be going four wheeling in the Arkansas River.  This is a lock and dam and barges go through here until they get to the port.  Yes, there is a port in Oklahoma.   Didn't you know this?  Probably not if you're from the arid west like I am.   

W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam Oklahoma-9454
I was just at Spiro, looking at the little canoes and boats that they *the ancient Mississippians carved and traveled for thousands of miles down these massive river systems.  

W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam Oklahoma-9443

How impressive, seeing this great river, certainly gives me a better idea of why a great city could have developed just south of this river!  The first time I visited the Spiro Mounds we did not do any exploring other than driving too and from.  I had no idea this dam was behind the mounds. Here is an earlier post of the Spiro Mounds from June of 2010.   In June of 2010, I was not a graduate student working on a Masters Degree in Native American studies.  I didn't know I would be a graduate student yet (despite that being one of my goals). I didn't know that a few years later I would be returning to visit with this place on my mind for my thesis.  I'm grateful for the series of events that led me to my return to the Spiro Mounds and in finding this dam.  

W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam Oklahoma-9446
The Dam put the Spiro site into more perspective than the archaeological park.  To understand anything you must have context.  The means of transportation and travel are important.  


U.S. Property No Trespassing-9447
One of the fundamental problems with America.  We have a Government that is not truly "We the People" we have a Government that says "This is the Government's Property"  despite that the Government is supposedly of and by the people.  Take some time and think about this.   

Dog at the Dam-9449
The man working at the Dam came out to speak to me.  I enjoyed visiting, he told me this Dog is pretty much the boss at the W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam.  

Dog at the Dam-9451
He was hard at work.  

Arkansas River in Oklahoma-9464
I took another road in between the Spiro site and the dam to get a closer look at the river and found an abandoned campground, which was eerie.  Compared to the ancient well upkept mound builder site, the campground was overgrown and forgotten.  Much as Spiro was.  But, I imagine underneath this campground more of Spiro and Missisippian heritage is buried deep under the earth. 

Abandoned Campground near the Arkansas River-9455
The abandoned restrooms.  

Abandoned Campground near the Arkansas River-9471

Abandoned Campground near the Arkansas River-9484
This was shot with my fisheye lens, kind of creepy.  

Flower near Spiro-9473-2
I heavily edited this shot... 

Flower near Spiro-9478
That's all I have to say about the Arkansas River and Dam.  


Red River Birthday

Last Sunday I skipped church and headed to the Red River to help my big brother celebrate his birthday.  He's ten years older than I am, but we won't discuss numbers for now.   

Steve's Birthday Cupcakes-0976
We started the day with pizza and cupcakes, just like any birthday party should... 

The Four Wheeling Clan-1207
They arrived before I did, I overslept and was not exactly in the best mood when I arrived.  But it's always fun to go four wheeling.   I don't drive.   I'm a passenger.  

Red River Four Wheeling Adventure-1312
Dune buggy under the Red River bridge, near Waurika. 

Four Wheeling Mud-1026
We're throwing up mud, while my sister follows from behind.   She wrecked.  Had I not been worried I could have had some great pictures of someone flying off a four wheeler.   

Muddy Clent-1079
My brother in law was  covered in mud.  He was worse when we left the river.  

Me Kara and Steve-1229
Yeah..that's me... with the mud on my face.   I don't mind getting dirty but I don't really like getting my face dirty.  

Me Kara and Steve-1228
My brother is in the middle and my sister is in white, and yours truly apparently was not muddy enough for this photo.  Thanks Sis.   

AL and Debby-1156
They look lost don't they? 

Red River Bridge  four wheeling-1329
My sister crossing the Red River, did you know there are two Red Rivers in the USA?  Yes there is a Red River that runs between the North Dakota and Minnesota border, it is the Red River of the North.    

Al Lampman-1222
My big brother from another Mother...  It's his birthday now! Happy Birthday, and I owe you some family photos.   

Redneck Woman-1239
My little sister is a gun toting, country music listening, four wheeling "Redneck Woman"

Clent four wheeling by the red river bridge -1362
Why would driving around in circles in the sand be fun,  because it's awesome! I want to go back to Little Sahara SOON...  that place is incredible.  

Kara and Clent Four Wheeling the Red River-1349
Like slides for four wheelers...  "wheeeee"  

Red River Bridge-1314
I like this photo.  I like this bridge.  

Stuck in the river-1102
He had to be towed out of the river a few times... 

Mud on the tires-1085
Yeah we had fun last Sunday.  




Kayaking at Fuqua Again

Yesterday was even warmer so we took the Kayak out again.   Fun. 

Ready to Kayak_
I love the new lens...can't you tell.   The angles are so wide, even with the round distortion.  

Dragging the Kayak
No, I'm not helping to carry it...I'm just watching. I did on the return trip. 

Look what I found
Look Mom...  

Look mom a shell

Justin getting into Kayak
Justin loves it.  I think its fun.  Now we have two paddles.  Hub spent his Christmas Giftcard from my brother on another oar.   Thanks Steve.  

Ray and Justin rowing on the lake.  

Kayak on Fuqua with Ray and Justin
on the lake.  

Justin demanded to be in the back and decided that he couldn't see...so they switched.  

Changing seats

They are lucky they didn't go wading...

Me and Justin on Fuqua
I went rowing for a while... 

Leaving Fuqua
Time to go home, so we went for a walk so Justin could look for shells...  

How not to do photography
So, I started to chase Justin to take his picture..he started running in a circle around his Dad, I had my camera to my face.  I ran right into Ray with the camera at my face and hurt my nose. Lesson learned.  He thought it was hilarious.   

Cossatot Falls

Off of Highway 278 between Umpire and Wickes Arkansas you will find the Cossatot State Park. While in Arkansas, my Son and I had a day out before our family reunion and we went to the Cossatot, near Umpire Arkansas.  We went down to the river first then backtracked to follow the gravel road the four miles to the Cossatot falls.  Now, I imagine the drought and heat has affected the falls greatly, as the sign point out that its a "rapids" and a butt kicking one at that.  Not to mention that the meaning of the word "Cossatot" is actually French for "Skull Crusher," and looking at the rock formations in this falls area I believe that at one time it would crush a lot of bones.  

20110804-arkansas 2011 041
Welcome to the park... but before you get to the falls you turn off on a narrow windy road.  Kudos to the logging truck drivers, because that is something I have NO desire to do after driving these narrow windy roads.   It is interesting to think of all the people who once lived on this land.  

Howard County Road Arkansas-136
If you look down you can see how steep this road is.  We are in the Ouachitas.   

Cant See the Forest For The Trees-142
I LOVE Arkansas, but the landscape of the Plains is so much easier to photograph.  Arkansas is great, but you can't see the forest for the trees.   I love driving these roads, probably because I know that as far back in the early 1830s many of my ancestors had made this home.  

Cossatot Falls Sign-128
Raging.... I think not.  Well, not this August.  Maybe next year....  

20110804-arkansas 2011 113
Imagine water rushing over these rocks, smoothed by centuries of rapids rushing over them.  Yes, I took a $2000 camera out in the water.  Yes, I'm stupid sometimes.  Yes, I fell down.  Yes, I lost my flip flops.  Yes, the rocks are painful to walk on.   Did I answer your questions?  Now when we returned Saturday evening, I left the camera in the truck.  Smarter much? No not really I didn't wear shoes on those rocks then for fear of losing them.  I'm too old for barefoot adventures.   

Cossatot Falls  (1 of 1)
I have to admit its, great fun.  A combination of rock climbing, waterfalls and swimming holes!  All things I like. 

Cossatot Falls Howard County Arkansas (1 of 1)
See my Son down there?  I was up on a rock taking this shot. 

Cossatot Falls near Umpire Arkansas (1 of 1)
Looking down the falls.  Hey, these rocks are mossy and slick!  My poor flip flops floated away down the Cossatot.  

20110804-arkansas 2011 112
these rocks may look pretty, but remember pretty things can hurt you.   

20110804-arkansas 2011 121
We really enjoyed the scenic beauty of the Cossatot Falls

Cossatot Falls Waterfall -109
Note the scenic waterfalling from the rocks.  Pretend you didn't see the legs of my man-cub enjoying the rushing water. 

Rowan at the Cossatot-110
There he is! He loves this! 

Cossatot flower and sun (1 of 1)
Love this flower... 

Cossatot flower (1 of 1)
Beautiful, compared to the pale winter-like dryness at my home Arkansas was lush and green this August. 

Rowan at Cosstot Falls (1 of 1)
We will definitely be returning to the Cossatot Falls.   





Route 66 Bridge in Sapulpa

Yesterday I went on my first true "Expedition Oklahoma" in a while.  I went with my Mom north of Tulsa.  The area north of Interstate 40 and East of Interstate 35, known as "Green Country" is the last land to travel for me in my journey across the Sooner State.   I am going to begin my series of postings with the Route 66 Bridge.  I initially drove by it, and thought I could get some great shots of it... and then continued driving, knowing we had not reached our destination.   But impulse told me that I must turn around and photograph this Historic work of iron.  These old bridges fascinate me, not only because of their age, there is something about their aesthetics.  They are these iron giants spanning bodies of water.  


Route 66 Bridge 4 (1 of 1) It felt really good to go to new places and see new things.  The more Oklahoma I see the more I appreciate the great diversity that we have in our state.  

Route 66 Bridge 2 (1 of 1)
When you look at something like this, built in the early 1920s, you must think about the hands that built it, and realize that they are no longer with us on this earth.  Their shadows walk about as their children and grandchildren. We will always be haunted by our past, it is in us all. 

Route 66 Bridge 3 (1 of 1)
I am always impressed with the things that I can not do. I do not build bridges. I do not build roads. There are so many little things that makes a civilization work.  The necessity that we continue educating bridge builders and road builders is what makes our society.  

Route 66 Bridge detail BW (1 of 1)
Another detail of the bridge.  

Route 66 bridge sepia (1 of 1)
“Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art." ~Unknown

Route 66 bridge view (1 of 1)