a welcome autumnal retreat north of the city yesterday. in washington county, we stopped at lizard mound park, where over 20 linear, conical, and effigy mounds are very well preserved. especially impressive are the water panthers, of which there is a pair face-to-face, and the “lizard mound” which has much more pronounced legs and feet than most effigy mounds. these woodland mounds are much taller than many i’ve visited.
the forest seems pretty healthy, with little clutter in the undergrowth. lots of fungus growing and the last late-blooming wildflowers hanging on. washington county parks is doing a great job keeping the grounds.
this also seems like a good time to acknowledge that this land and pretty much all the land i’ve been walking for this project (including where i live and work) are lands that were taken by force and/or chicanery from the ho-chunk, menominee, potowatomi, sauk, and meskwaki peoples. i/we are still guests on this land, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. #honornativeland
indian mounds and trail park lies on a slope overlooking lake koshkonong in jefferson county. the rock river flows thru the lake and it once looked like a meadow because of all the wild rice and other wetland plants that grew in it.
the mounds here were built somewhere between ca. 200 BCE to 1200 CE by the woodland peoples. some of the mounds are “conical,” while others, like those above and below, are effigy mounds in the shape of birds, and still others in the shape of water spirits.
it was a perfect spring day for a hike with family, and so many spring ephemerals and other flowers were out on display: mayapple, cut-leaved toothwort, virginia bluebells, and the first of the jack-in-the-pulpit, et al. i’d been looking to find cut-leaved toothwort since last spring, so this was a particularly exciting stop.
Man Mound is the last remaining anthropomorphic effigy mound in North America, located in Sauk County near the Lower Narrows of the Baraboo Range. It is one of my favorite places on the earth. If you missed it, I have a new, brief essay set at Man Mound in Commonweal.
I visited yesterday in the cool spring rain. It was glorious.
Thanks to the Sauk County Historical Society for keeping this place. You can support their upkeep here.