Winter has not yet relinquished the season’s cold grip on the landscape but the calendar says spring will arrive soon. The snow cover is disappearing and the sandhill cranes and robins are returning! The tradition of observing solstice and equinox events at a site in southern Richland County will continue with recognition of the vernal equinox amongst the ancient effigy mounds at Frank’s Hill near Muscoda.
The Three Eagles Foundation will welcome people for the sunset on Monday, March 20th, and sunrise on Tuesday, March 21st, marking of the official changing of the seasons. The east-west alignment of the mounds coincides with the due east-west alignment of the sunrise and sunset at the spring equinox. Spring begins at 4:24 p.m. (CDT) on March 20th, meaning the first sunset of spring will be that evening and the first sunrise of spring will be Tuesday morning. Representatives of the Three Eagles Foundation will be on Hill East for both events, weather permitting. Frank’s Hill will be open to the public for self-guided tours the weekend of March 18th & 19th. A short hike to the top of the hill that offers a stunning view of the lower Wisconsin River valley will be required. Guests should arrive by 6:30 a.m. for sunrise or 6:30 p.m. or earlier to observe the sunset. The site is located 2 miles west of Muscoda near the intersection of Hwy. 60 and Hwy. 193. Park well off the road on the shoulder and enter by the gate.
Frank’s Hill is on the National Register of Historic Places. A group of unique effigy mounds is situated on Hill East where the observances will occur. The mounds are thought to have been built a thousand or more years ago by the people of the Late Woodland Tradition, recognized by many as the ancestors of the modern Ho-Chunk Nation.
To learn more about the equinox event or for directions, contact Three Eagles Foundation President Dave Martin at (608) 739-4198 or Vice-President Mark Cupp at 739-2179 or visit the Foundation’s website or Facebook page.