Thursday, November 23, 2017

Palo Duro Canyon, Texas: Thanksgiving Break 2017

During our Thanksgiving break, the family campers decided to take a trip to Palo Duro Canyon State Park here in Texas. We've been discussing a long road trip to either Yellowstone or Mesa Verde in the upcoming spring and wanted to build our RV road trip stamina by taking a fairly long road trip this fall.  From my house to Leslie's home in Ft. Worth, then to the canyon and home it was 1,020 miles. Miss Lippy didn't go quite that far because Ron and Scott went up earlier than the girls and I and bypassed Ft. Worth. But, it was a pleasant drive for both vehicles. That gives us some confidence in the old girl's ability to make it out of state. 
Ron and Scott took Miss Lippy up on Tuesday and took care of some general maintenance and put the flooring down in the bunk room. By the time Leslie, the girls and I were there, camp was set up. It's really easy to tear down camp but setting up seems to take a long time. I'm kinda glad we missed that part.
We spent our time at the park hiking different trails, building our evening camp fires, and looking at the amazing night sky. That was simply breathtaking! Maggie actually squealed with delight when she looked up the first night. She was astounded that she could see the Milky Way's band across the sky and so many constellations. We were wishing Uncle Ryan was there because he is the family astronomer and would have brought his telescope. Maybe next time!
The canyon seemed to have so much more vegetation in it than I remember from our last visit. We have had an unusually mild summer and even in central Texas things are more lush and green than normal. Texas has summers like that from time to time. I think I like the park scenery when it is more rugged and harsh.
The condition of the park was a little disappointing. There is a lack of camp hosts so the bathrooms weren't as clean as I would like for them to have been.  I assume that's why. Ron had talked to one of the rangers about the condition of the park and he explained that all of their funds for maintenance had to be diverted to the gulf coast because of the hurricane. That made sense so we just overlooked things and hope for an increase in funds next year.

Here are the pictures I took while we were there.
One of the most fascinating sights in Texas is the extensive field of windmills. 

Leslie gave Maggie my camera and she managed to get some really good pictures of them.

The girls were laughing at the tumble weeds that rolled across the highway as we drove to the canyon. They found a dried twig blowing around in our campsite and had to take a picture of the "tumbleweed."

When you arrive at the canyon, it's pretty surprising. You drive for about 30 minutes after you see the first sign for the park. Then after you pass through the gates, there it is! It's a pretty steep drive down into the actual park.

Like I said earlier, Ron and Scott had the camp set up when we got there so we just had to cook dinner then turned in for the night. Tico didn't like being inside. His favorite thing to do was sit at the door and whine to go out.

Leslie and Maggie spent some time reading the book that the movie Wonder is based on. It will hopefully be the last trip we take with that nasty couch and carpet! They guys are planning on ripping it out tomorrow. Can't wait!

Leslie, the girls, Scott, and the dogs did a lot more hiking than Ron and I.  Ron has been having trouble with his hip so he staggered along with his cane. Rather than leave him straggling behind, we just strolled portions of the trails. Hopefully, he will be better our next trip.

The trails are rated from easy to difficult and are marked at intervals with these blue stakes. There are numerous side trails that you can take if your adventurous. We played it safe and stayed on the main trail.

When we came to a section that intersected with side trails, there were white arrows painted on the ground so you wouldn't lose you way.

The Lighthouse Hoodoo is the signature rock formation for Palo Duro. The kids and grands hiked all the way out but Ron and I only went half the way. They said the last part of the trail was pretty tough.

Another shot of the Lighthouse.

Ron at the trail head.

One view of the canyon from the Lighthouse trail.

Another time when we were wishing Ryan was with us. I know the layers have a story to tell about the history of the canyon. Ryan could have told us all about it.

My obligatory picture of me.

and a selfie of the two old people.

The second trail we hiked went along the river. Ron had a lot of trouble with this one so we back tracked and then drove to the trail end to meet the kids. 

map of the park trails

Crazy Tico has got to have some Rat Terrier in him. He stuck his snout in every hole he passed. I think Leslie was pretty thankful he didn't pull anything out of any of them!

This was on another trail that went along the river. Can't for the life of me remember the name; Rojo or Rio something???

This was a very overgrown trail. We only went a short distance because there was a lot of cactus along the sides. Dingbat Tico kept walking in them. 

There are turkeys and coyotes all over the park. This small flock walked right by the RV our last evening at the park.

Thor was our chase car for this trip. This car is the most comfortable ride with very roomy seating for 7. I was hesitant to buy him; but, I sure am glad I did.

Home away from home... Miss Lippy. 

1 comment:

Mary Barr said...

What year is your RV? Did you say you found it on Craigslist? It looks like a great deal. You were very lucky to find such a gem.