Last week Tom and I drove north to see Writing Rock State Historic Site. We had planned on going to Canada, driving up to Regina, but we ran out of time and didn’t want to deal with the proof of vaccination thing. We are vaccinated but you have to register online and then Tom was afraid we wouldn’t be able to get back in the US. Anyway, we decided to go another hour north, which put us in viewing distance of Canada.
We had met some visitors over the summer from Grenora and thought we would check that out as well as Writing Rock State Historic Site. Grenora is a small (population 250) town an hour from anywhere. It was built at the northern terminus of a branch line of the Great Northern Railroad. Hence the name: GREat NOrthern RAilroad. The town’s motto is, “Friendliness lives here — you’re only a stranger once.” The town is home to a senior citizen’s center, credit union, gas station, school, grain elevator, restaurant, bar, apartment buildings, and community built low-income housing. There are also two churches: the St. Olaf Lutheran Church (ELCA) and St. Boniface Catholic Church. We met the pastor of St. Olaf’s at the fort.
We had to drive through Grenora to get to Writing Rock State Historic Site. Writing Rock has two granite boulders inscribed with Native American art, including a thunderbird. The larger of the two rocks is 4.5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. The designs in the rock were carved by blows on another rock one painstaking strike at a time.
The two boulders sit in a shelter made of stone and protected by iron bars. The iron bars are necessary because the smaller rock was stolen, although it was later returned.
Tom and I looked at the writing rock for a while and talked about how much work it was to carve the figures. Then we walked around the small park. There were picnic shelters, a playground, and vault toilets. We thought the sign on the restroom was funny – who takes a metal detector into a restroom? We were the only people at the site and we could see a long way (including Canada) on the top of the hill. The day was gray and windy but we took our time at the site. After all, we had to drive an hour to get there and drive an hour back home.
Although the bar in Grenora is said to have great cheeseburgers, we did not stop. They weren’t open at 10:45 a.m. when we drove past. Although it was only a morning excursion, Tom and I enjoyed our little jaunt to see the Writing Rock State Historic Site.