WEEK 8 RUN-WALK-BIKE ACROSS AMERICA 2019 STARTS TOMORROW
Segment 18: Kadoka SD to Oacoma SD
Segment 19: Oacoma SD to Mitchell SD
Segment 20: Mitchell SD to Sioux Falls SD
This is the second week spent crossing South Dakota. According to a Wikipedia entry the state can roughly be divided into three regions: Black Hills, western, and eastern. Geographically the eastern and western regions are defined by the Missouri River, which acts as a boundary dividing them. The Black Hills region, traversed by the route last week, is sufficiently distinct from the rest of western South Dakota that it can be considered separately.
Although the Hills were discussed briefly in the Week 7 post, you might be inspired to take a look back at the mountain range from this week’s flatter eastern plains perspective and note the higher elevation and thick blanketing by dark green needle leafed evergreen trees. That there is much beauty and history to explore there is evidenced by another Wikipedia entry which indicates the economy of the area has shifted from mining and timber to tourism and hospitality.
Take a look at the ACROSS AMERICA IN PHOTOS page for pictures that demonstrate these areas in the state.
The Week 8 route takes you west to east from Kadoka, through vast grasslands in the middle of the state to Oacoma, on to Mitchell after crossing the Mighty Missouri River, then to Sioux Falls. The route crosses from the Mountain Time Zone over to Central Time Zone at a point about 20 miles east of Kadoka. South Dakota is one of 12 other states that must deal with having two different time zones*.
According to the USDA Forest Service website, the topography of the federal grassland just south of the Missouri River and north of our route, the Fort Pierre National Grassland, includes flat to gently rolling hills with intermittent medium- to large-sized ponds. These ponds provide water for wildlife and livestock and serve as important habitats for waterfowl and popular fisheries.
The vegetation of the grasslands shelters many wildlife species and native and migrating birds. Nature lovers will have a field day (pun intended) or two as the road takes them to the largest city in SD. The Nature Conservancy has a wonderful page about the grasslands, which are considered an endangered habitat, and on it links to other stories about efforts that are being made to preserve plant and animal life.
The city of Sioux Falls, located on the very eastern edge of the state of South Dakota, is less than 20 miles from the Minnesota state border. Its name is derived from the cascading Big Sioux River, moving over rock formations that were created as a result of ice ages, according to yet another Wikipedia entry. The area has been sacred ground to many native peoples for centuries and is the site of burial grounds.
As you reflect on the importance of the lands you have traveled through to past inhabitants as well as to modern wildlife, less solemnly you can also acknowledge the very physical importance to you of having passed the west-east midway point of the trip at midweek… YAY!
If you are using the Earned Runs Across America virtual journey as a teaching/learning tool, this week’s segment provide a perfect setting to discuss the “prairie biome”. There are online learning modules that you can check out yourself; just search these words. The U.S. Forest Service web page “The National Grasslands Story” provides a history of their settlement, disruption, and restoration.
Online images of the grasslands are often stunningly beautiful; the scenery would be so much more enjoyable on a real run or walk as the route is relatively flat. I hope I eventually can experience the prairie in person.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
*Trivia buffs will want to know: Idaho, Oregon (Pacific/Mountain); Kansas, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, and Texas (Mountain/Central); Florida, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, and Kentucky (Central/Eastern); and Alaska (Alaska/Hawaiian-Aleutian).
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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