Blue Mounds State Park – November 2016

My better late than never photoblog on Blue Mounds State Park, visited back in November.

Blue Mounds State Park is located in the southwestern corner of Minnesota, near the city of Luverne (hometown of National Geographic photographer Jim Brandenburg!) A huge feature in the park is a 100 foot Sioux quartzite cliff rising from the open prairie. The cliff appeared blue to settlers going west in the 1860s and 1870s, which is how the park got it’s name.

At the Mound’s southern end is a 1,250 foot line of rocks aligned in a east-west direction. Who built it and why is unknown, but on the first day of spring and fall the sunrise and sunset are lined up on this stone alignment.

There is also a small herd of bison living within the park boundaries. Local rumors say that the Plains Indians used to stampede the bison off of the park’s cliff, though no evidence exists today to prove this claim. Sadly I did not see any of the park’s bison on my visit.

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Creature Feature – Caribou

caribou

Rangifer tarandus
Range: Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Northern Europe, Northern Asia
Height: 30–60 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 130–600 pounds
Lifespan: up to 20 years

Caribou inhabit the tundra and boreal forests in Canada, the northern United States, Europe, and Asia. In Europe and the Russian Far East caribou are kept in herds and used for meat, fur, and milk. Tame caribou pull sleighs and carry loads. In Europe caribou are called reindeer. In the United States a small domesticated type of caribou is called a reindeer.

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