Guest Post: A Walking Tour of Downtown Sioux Falls

I just got back into town from a #PrairiePlaces road trip, so today I’m bringing you a guest post from my friend Amy, who is fresh from a road trip herself.

Amy Hirsch is the mother of three and a writer at heart. She’s the Business Manager at Midwest Radio of Fargo-Moorhead by day (that’s where we met) and she blogs at The Lunch Hour Gardener and Bright Above Fargo. I encourage you to follow her work. Her insight, humor and lovely photos always make me smile.

I hope you like her post as much as I did.

Alicia

Bricks-by-Amy-Hirsch

I often wonder if the world is moving too fast, or if I am the one making it that way. The distracted, short-focused feeling of moving at the speed of life is distressing to say the least.

And so I slow down and try to look more closely at the world. The beauty, it’s all around us, all the time, if only we are open to seeing it.

I took a recent weekender to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It’s a lovely drive from Fargo with unending skies, rolling hills, green fields, deep blue and gray ponds, wildlife and livestock marking every mile. And if you’re lucky, a storm will form around you.

Storm-Clouds-by-Amy-Hirsch

Sioux Falls is a sprawling, vibrant community surrounding a quartzite stone quarry. Sioux quartzite is used prominently in the architecture, easily spotted by its pink hue.

Toddler-in-Sioux-Falls-by-Amy-Hirsch

I had only three things on my Sioux Falls itinerary:

  1. Relaxing
  2. Visiting Falls Park
  3. Eating at a unique local restaurant

Relaxing was a given, and I combined Falls Park and lunch downtown into one unique outing.

Cloud-Burst-by-Amy-Hirsch

As I drove downtown, I knew I was in for a real treat. Historic pink quartzite buildings rose up on all sides, the sidewalks were bustling with shoppers, the windows full of trendy displays to suit all tastes in fashion or decor. I was exactly where I wanted to be, doing exactly what I wanted to do.

After a light lunch (I cannot even begin to cover downtown Sioux Falls’ restaurant scene), I took a stroll up to Falls Park, camera in hand. As I headed north on Phillips Avenue, I noticed a variety of sculptures came up at regular intervals. Sioux Falls has a sculpture walk!

Sioux-Falls-Sculpture-Walk-Brochure-by-Amy-Hirsch

There are 55 sculptures along the walk, all different. I found a brochure to guide me along the walk, and it included a ballot to vote for my favorite piece. The city purchases the sculpture with the most votes and adds it to its permanent collection.

“No Room For Doubt” was my favorite piece. The moose represents assuredness and self-reliance. I found a little more information on the piece, post-walk.

Moose-Sculpture-on-Sioux-Falls-Sculpture-Walk-by-Amy-Hirsch

Knife-Sculpture-on-Sioux-Falls-Sculpture-Walk-by-Amy-Hirsch

I would eventually, reluctantly pull away from the sculpture walk and stroll over to my secondary destination, Falls Park. Falls Park is a recreational area where the Big Sioux River drops 100 feet over a series of waterfalls.

I made my way over to the walking path located next to the Big Sioux River. Several bridges criss-crossed the river and I crossed to the other side and approached the falls from behind.

Bridge-Under-The-Falls-By-Amy-Hirsch

The outside world started to fall away and, even though life kept on beyond the river, the peace and quiet and calm of the river surrounded me and I began to notice the wild beauty of nature all around.

Duck-and-Duckling-by-Amy-Hirsch

Wildflowers-by-Amy-Hirsch

A train passed through, slowly rumbling over the tracks and out of site, easy come, easy go. I could have paced myself more quickly to get to the prize at the end of my journey, but then I would have missed the little things in the nooks and crannies off the path.

Sioux-Falls-Railroad-Tracks-by-Amy-Hirsch

At last, only ruined structures belonging to an old mill sat between me and the Falls. As I photographed them, I tried to imagine what they looked like when they were in use.

Geese-and-Ruins-by-Amy-Hirsch

I reached the first tier of the falls and admired the view, not knowing the true prize of my walk was the spectacular slow reveal of the falls as I descended.

A-Sioux-Falls-River-View-By-Amy-Hirsch

One step at a time, the main falls came into view and I ran to the outlook like a giddy child on Christmas morning. And there were the Sioux Falls, not the highest or most spectacular, but indeed beautiful and captivating and a good place to think. Or not think.

Waterfalls-by-Amy-Hirsch

With a light mist in my face and joy in my heart, contentedness set in and I thought, “This is it”

Finding peace and beauty in the moment is the way life should be experienced. Water and time moved down the falls, but I stayed in that moment forever.

All images and photos by Amy Hirsch.

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