Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Little House Road Trip: Still Day 1

I went out to Silver Lake which is just outside De Smet. In the 1920s it was drained, but more recently has been allowed to re-fill and is a wildlife preserve. Although I was close to town (and even closer to the cement works), it was easy to imagine being the only people on the unpopulated prairie.

Silver Lake

When Laura arrived in South Dakota it was almost completely treeless - hence the landmark of the "Lone Cottonwood", these days there are some trees, but still mostly rolling grasslands and farmlands.

I do have a prairie dress outfit, but in the interests of travelling light I just bought my bonnet - so for the entertainment of friends and family alike here is the dress-up photograph. It was very windy although that does not actually explain the funny face!

On the Shores of Silver Lake
I then went out to the Homestead site. There is a monument marking the location on a small rise just above the Big Slough.  On the right side of this photo you can see some wooden buildings which are the location of the pageant which is held in De Smet on summer weekends.
Monument at the Homestead site
I walked from the town out to the Homestead along the side of the Slough as the girls would have done going to school, or going to town. The photo below is looking from just below the homestead across the Slough into town which you can faintly see. Its about a mile walk, and it was so peaceful. I saw the gophers that so entertained Laura popping up along the path, and lots of ducks and geese,  there are a lot of wetlands in this part of South Dakota although I doubt the bird life is as plentiful as it was when the Ingalls first came to settle in this area.

The Big Slough from the Homestead
Later I took a drive out to Lake Thomson State Recreation Area.

Lake Thompson

It was cold and windy and I was again the only person there! In the books Laura and Almanzo drive out to the 'Twin Lakes' of Thompson and Henry - a distance of about 12 miles. I was surprised at how large the lakes were and it was all rather lovely.

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