Posts Tagged 'Sioux Falls'

Vous faire fait le parkour?

So I guess I don’t learn. Today saw me bouncing over rocks once again, and once again I found myself a little in over my head. Unlike last time, though, I only had to worry about a few feet of rather iffy water.


Sioux Falls has a namesake, after all, and it would silly of me to be here and not visit this complex array of rose-coloured quartz. As you can see, the falls are more of a series of rivulets and rapids at the minute, as the water levels are comparatively low. This suited me just fine, though, as it meant more of the blocky stone was uncovered and available to climb, cross, and launch myself insanely from.

… what?

Anyway, myself and fellow intrepid adventurer Verr sallied forth and spent almost two hours bouncing on, off, and occasionally into the somewhat challenging terrain. The mid-section and base of the falls are where the drops are, some surprisingly deep at about 15 feet or so, but the obsessively geometric bent that nature has decided to adopt for the area meant that we had relatively little difficulty scaling these areas – though impassably large gaps meant that we had to concede that the bridge was probably the best way to reach the other side. Naturally though, being manly men, our hubris grew over time and we decided that we would traverse the entire 30-odd meter wide section near the top of the falls, bridges be damned.

The top of the falls is wilder than the cliff areas, comprising of mostly waist-deep water speckled with a smattering of small rocks, usually enough room for one foot. It was always going to be a bit difficult, but we thought it possible.

So anyway, you know that moment where you realize that you’ve just, say, for example, jumped across a jump that required a run-up, nearly slipping and cracking your shin upon landing, and now you can’t get back? We had taken about half an hour to cross most of the width of the river, continually reaching a point of no further progress and doubling back, only to find another, even more obscure, more difficult path that we nonetheless seized upon and followed until its termination, only to be succeeded by an exponentially more demanding route. Now we had made it to very nearly the other side.

(I might just clarify here as an aside that at this point, I was still bone-dry. Verr was, er, not. Verr is pretty long-limbed and he had the reach on me for climbing, but in matters of leaping, well… it turns out that, in real life, he can’t double jump.)

It was all very dramatic. We couldn’t go further up. Damned if we were turning back. We tried to maneuver a piece of driftwood into a makeshift bridge, but it was too unwieldy. We were faced with a choice: jump, or die trying. Or something. The run-up was three steps, the last one being down onto a little jagged outcrop a mere matter of inches across, then a launch onto a rock about eight or so feet away. Let me tell you that eight feet can suddenly feel like an awfully long distance.

But there was nothing for it! I sprung from toe to toe, struck down into the rock and did my best impression of something from the discovery channel.

And it so nearly worked.

One very wet car journey and a change of clothes for us both later, Verr and I (and his mum) headed into Sioux Falls itself, as in the town. It’s a small place with lots of sculptures dotted around the streets, and charming in its own way, but I did agree with Verr when he said that it was perhaps a little too small (that said, West Yellowstone where I had come from is a town of 1200 people with a downtown of exactly three-quarters of a block). I am, I suppose, a city boy at heart.

I will say though that the surrounding countryside is beautiful, though I concede perhaps only to foreign eyes. I can see how the endless fields and gentle prairie that is so tranquil and hypnotic to me might start to lose its aesthetic quality the seventh or eighth time one has to drive through fifty-plus miles of it. But for myself, I really actually quite liked its soft gradients and tufty grasses, and I even saw the craggy badlands in the distance a couple of times. Regrettably, however, much of the ride was during the night, and our stops were in areas entirely unphotogenic, so you’ll have to use your imagination (or Google).

But it’s getting late. My packing is due, my washing is done, and Verr is already headed back to his new schoolin’ week. It’s time for me to wrap this up and get my head around the convolutions of Snappy’s directions. Next stop, the Twin Cities.

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