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The Legend of Sica Hollow
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In order to count this Earthcache as a find, you must complete the following tasks and email the answers to me.
1. What is the elevation?
2. Estimate the height of the hill in front of you.
3. Describe the area in front of the hill.
4. What do the deep ravines found throughout the park tell you about the glaciation of this area?
5. Describe the color of the creek that flows through Sica Hollow. How do you think this creek was created?
6. When was this area registered as a National Landmark?
This Earthcache is located at Sica Hollow state park. An annual park sticker or a daily park pass will be required to enter the state park. Over 20 miles of trails loop their way through the park, including the 1.5 mile section called the Trail of Spirits. Sica Hollow is located on the eastern slope of the Coteau des Prairies and is the source of many eerie Native American legends. Enjoy!
The last of the great glaciers entered northeastern South Dakota about 20,000 years ago. The region was covered by colossal sheets up ice up to three miles thick. These gigantic glaciers gouged and sculpted the landscape, scooping out valleys and creating boulder-strewn hills. When the last glaciers retreated northward only 12,000 years ago, they left behind a landscape of unusual beauty. These glaciers had a profound and lasting effect on South Dakota’s geography. Today, the evidence of the ice ages can still be seen in the Coteau des Prairies.
The Coteau des Prairies (or “hills of the prairie”) is a plateau that rises from the prairie flatlands and stretches about 200 miles from north to south and 100 miles from east to west. It covers much of eastern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, and northwestern Iowa This plateau is one of the most conspicuous landforms of the US midcontinent that can be seen on a relief map. Shaped like a flat iron, the plateau received its name from early French explorers from Quebec, a French speaking province. “Coteau” is the French word for “slope.”
The various and steep hills that can be found through Sica Hollow are composed of thick glacial deposits, which are the remnants of many repeated glaciations.
This hollow was named “sica,” meaning “place of evil spirits” or “bad,” by Sioux Native Americans because of the horrific stories that were passed down about the area. Even today, natural occurrences that happen in this area, such as the tree stumps that glow green in the dark and streams that sometimes flow blood red, fuel those eerie legends and intrigue visitors.
The most well-known legend of Sica Hollow focuses on a white man named Hand who visited a Native American camp located in the Hollow. According to legend, Hand was an evil man who turned many of the Native boys into cold-blooded killers. Realizing the evil-doings of Hand, a medicine man in the camp asked the Great Spirit for help, and a messenger named Thunderer responded along with heavy rains. Hand was ultimately trapped with vines by Thunderer, who drowned Hand by filling his mouth with water and then gouging his eyes out. Unfortunately, as a result of the heavy rains caused by Thunderer, the entire Hollow was flooded and the Native camp was washed out and killed, save for one girl. Legend has it that Hand haunts Sica Hollow to this day, dressed as a Native American with his eyes gouged out. Thunderer is also said to still roam the hillside waiting to be summoned again.
It is also said that an ancient Native burial ground sits atop one of the hills in the park. Other stories include reports of eerie occurrences at night, including sounds of Native drums and chants, cold spots, feelings of being watched, and Native American ghosts. Some have thought a “big foot” type man or a bear roams the woods of Sica Hollow.
These stories and legends are the prime reason why people have refused to live (or camp) in Sica Hollow. The several people who disappeared in the park in the 1970s did not help dispel the rumors about the area. It is said that not even animals inhabit the park. The lack of inhabitance led this beautiful, but spooky, area to becoming a national preserve and state park today.
p.s. The phosphorus in the rotting wood causes the stumps to glow green and the iron deposits in streams can make them seem as if they are flowing blood red.
NOT A LOGGING REQUIREMENT: Feel free to post pictures of your group at the area or the area itself - I love looking at the pictures.
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Last Updated: on 11/15/2017 3:47:03 PM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (11:47 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum