What’s Up with Those Mysterious Mounds in Indiana?
How tight a schedule do you put yourself on when you're on a road trip? For example, do you leave yourself some room for incidental entertainment...something you didn't plan?
I always do. If there's something fascinating enough on the side of the road, I gotta check it out. I'm thinking that's a genetic trait; my dad was the exact same way. That's why he drove into Mitchell SD in 1963 and took a picture of the Corn Palace, a structure made entirely--you guessed it--out of corn. I took a picture of it, too, 48 years after he did and from the same location.
But now we have Google and we can search for any unique thing we're close to when we're traveling. That's why you might want to check out Mounds State Park in Anderson IN. No, it's not where you go to indulge in the greatest candy bar ever made. It's where you go to see and learn about some fascinating topographical features. Pay close attention to when they discuss what happens during the solstices and each equinox:
Mounds State Park was constructed around ancient Native American burial grounds. These mounds, or "earthworks", are best described by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:
Mounds State Park, located off I-69 east of Anderson, features 10 unique earthworks built by prehistoric Indians known as the Adena-Hopewell people. The largest earthwork, the Great Mound, is believed to have been constructed around 160 B.C. Archaeological surveys indicate the mounds were used as gathering places for religious ceremonies, from where astronomical alignments could be viewed.
Watch how ancient peoples who lived on these grounds determined the time of year by standing in certain positions on the mounds:
There are also plenty of trails to walk at Mounds State Park. And, as you can see, it's not closed in the wintertime. In fact, if you can handle it, those trails make for a beautiful winter setting.
Of course, if you'd prefer to wait until the weather is warmer, there are plenty of camping accommodations at Mounds State Park. You can also fish in the White River. Or maybe you just want to go for a picnic.
The nature center is open from 9 AM to 4 PM daily and they are ALWAYS worth a look at any state park you visit.
I'm a big fan of state parks, and it's even better when they're built around something historically significant like Mounds State Park. Listen, when you get a chance, check out this documentary about the history of these burial grounds; it starts at the 10:33 mark:
We finally ditched January, which felt like it lasted way longer than 31 days. Anyway, that's one winter month in the books. It's time to start making springtime plans. It can't get here quick enough.