National Park Mystery Spot 32 Revealed: A Domed Domicile

Reconstructed earthlodge at Knife River Villages National Historic Site. Photo by Peter Baer via Flickr.

You were given these clues to help you identify National Park Mystery Spot 32, a structure in a National Park System unit.

It's bad luck to be stuck by a Bowie or buck.

The one the golden dollar girl slept in probably looked like this one.

If it takes one to raise one, these could have raised three.

Located at the mouth of a feeder of a famously roiled feeder of a river that is not a feeder.

Circles linger.

The answer is the reconstructed earthlodge at Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site in central North Dakota.

Kudos to celbert, who was the first to provide the correct answer. Others who figured it out included RangerLady, RoadRanger, and Lee Dalton. Good job, you guys.

Here is how the clues lead you to the answer.

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site is located at the mouth of the Knife River, a tributary (or feeder) of the Missouri River. The Missouri is so loaded with sediment (roiled) that it bears the nickname 'Big Muddy" and is jokingly said to be "too thick to drink, too thin to plow." The Missouri drains into the Mississippi River, which drains into the Gulf of Mexico without feeding into a larger river. To sum up, the mystery spot is located at the mouth of a feeder of a famously roiled feeder of a river that is not a feeder.

Since the Missouri River has many tributaries, you need more information to refine the search.

The Bowie knife, a big, fixed-blade pattern designed for fighting, is an iconic weapon. The buck knife, a folding lock-blade pattern designed for general outdoor use, was introduced in 1902 and quickly became a common tool in the outdoor sportsman's kit. (I own three buck knives, which is not enough.) It goes without saying that it would be bad luck to be stuck by a Bowie or buck.

The proverb "it takes a village to raise a child" was popularized in the last few decades, primarily because Hillary Clinton conspicuously used it in her 1996 book It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us and in her campaign to become the Democratic Party candidate for the 2008 presidential election. The river confluence locale in which Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site is situated was an important trade hub for hundreds of years and had three villages known as the Hidatsa villages or Mandan and Hidatsu villages. Thus, with apologies to math purists, if it takes one to raise one, these could have raised three.

The people of the three villages (the largest of which dates to about 1600) lived in earthlodges, which were semi-subterranean dwellings constructed by digging circular pits and covering them with domes. Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site preserves the archeological remains of many earthlodges. The domes disappeared long ago, and little remains of the pits except shallow circular depressions. In other words, circles linger.

A reconstructed earthlodge now functions as one of the principal visitor attractions of Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site. Sacagawea, the Shoshone woman who served as interpreter/guide for the Lewis & Clark Expedition (1804-1806), and who is represented on a "golden dollar" coin (the Sacagawea dollar), was living in an earthlodge on the Knife River when she was recruited by the Corps of Discovery. Thus, a person visiting the park's reconstructed earthlodge can assume that the one the golden dollar girl slept in probably looked like this one.