I am still relatively new to the greater Sioux Falls area, or as I have learned the Sioux Empire (why do I have Star Wars flashbacks when I say that), having only lived here about 3-1/2 years. So, I am still finding things to do.

My wife and I enjoy being outside, especially hiking. Over the last few weeks we have begun to explore some of the many trials in the area. This past week we took a turn at Sioux Falls newest parks: Good Earth State Park at Blood Run.

Our initial reaction as we walked the trails: gorgeous! The walk wasn't too taxing, which is especially important as my wife suffers from arthritis, but the scenery and views were incredible.

I liked that many of the paths still came across as "natural" in the sense that they didn't always appear as if a bulldozed came through. In many cases grasses and and brush lined the paths giving them a more natural feel.

However, not everything was as good as the views.

Good Earth only recently became an "official" state park, and to be honest, it shows. Ignoring the "still under construction" visitor center (which I am sure will be awesome once completed), the park suffers from early growing pains.

Our biggest issue was the fact that the trails were terribly marked. It was nice that they provide paper maps at a kiosk at the beginning of the trails, but reading the map and figuring out where you were was very difficult.

Like most hiking trials, there were multiple paths of different lengths that all diverged from each other. Even looking at the "You Are Here" markers made it hard to figure out where you were going.

At one point we found ourselves well off the beaten path. Or at least we think so because the path we were following suddenly became nothing but a grassy field, then becoming knee-high grasses. We began to doubt if we were still on a specific trail and ended up going back. Stopping along they way to pluck off a multitude of ticks that emerged from the deep grass.

Even after we broke out the paper map we could never figure out exactly where we are. We desperately wanted a GPS.

Wouldn't it be great if SD GFP created an app for their parks using GPS to show people exactly where they were?

Still, don't let that stop you (especially if you are the adventurous type). The park is a wonderful addition to the South Dakota state park system.

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