Sunday, November 25, 2012

Arriving at Palo Duro Canyon - November 18th

This year for Thanksgiving break Pepaw and I decided to take a trip to Palo Duro Canyon State Park near Amarillo, Tx.  We got up very early on Saturday, Nov. 17th and took our time driving out to Canyon, Tx. where we had reserved a hotel room for the night. After we checked in we decided to go on out to the State Park and just drive through to refresh our memory.  We had only been there once before, about 20 years ago as a day trip with the kids while we were staying at Caprock Canyon about an hour away. It was as beautiful as I remembered.  We drove all the way around the park - including some of the camp grounds and picked out the spot we were hoping to get the next day.  There was a big mountain bike race going on so we didn't hang around long but we had learned what we needed to and we were really looking forward to coming back the next morning. I was so excited I could hardly sleep!

We woke up nice and early, went for breakfast, and then headed out to the park.  The gates opened at 8:00 and it wasn't much after that we were in line to check in!  We went in to get our campsite (we got the one we picked out the night before!) and then headed to the visitor center so I could get my state park hat pin!  We parked on the upper deck of the parking where there is a scenic overlook and I took this shot. The sun wasn't very high in the sky and there was a mist you could barely see in the distance.
Our first "official vacation" view of the canyon! We walked down the hill and wandered around the visitor center.  I got my hat pin and it was back to the car.  We were supposed to go set up camp - but that would have to wait!  The morning light was just tooooo good! We stopped at one of the turnouts to catch a quick picture (or two) of Capital Peak.

Then we climbed back into the car.  We didn't make it very far before we saw another photo opportunity.  Pepaw had spotted a bluff ahead with some beautiful light.  I was right behind him, but got a little sidetracked by the field of grass and the deer.

I finally caught up with him near the top of the bluff where I was able to capture these shots of the same peak.

We drove a little farther down the road to one of the low water crossings and took some "reflection" pictures of the same peak.

We decided we better get on to the campsite and get set up, so off we went to the back of the park.  We were staying in the Mesquite Camp Area.  It didn't take too long to get the tent set up and our gear stowed.  In fact we were very pleased with how smoothly everything went!  We fixed our lunch, sat at our picnic table and enjoyed the view as well as the peace and quiet of the early afternoon.  Soon it was time to scout out an evening area where we might be able to get some shots of our first sunset.

We drove down the road and spotted a small trail.  We parked the car and decided to do a little hiking.  I had been talking about how great some of this would be to show the kids in my classroom about Earth Science.  We spotted this cave and it was so perfect, showing how water could wash from above and create the cave.

The first shot is from the front of the cave looking up at the sky, the second is from the back of the cave looking at the door and "sky light".  It was so cool to wander around this formation.

We walked back down the trail and I spotted this little cactus growing in a rock.  I shot it from several different angles.

By now we knew we better find a spot for sunset, so we climbed up another trail where I found a nice rock to sit on and watch the sky light up! I first noticed it shining on the tip of the bluff behind us as it began dropping behind the bluff across the valley.
I turned to shoot the actual sun setting behind the bluffs across the valley where the sky was turning to gold.
I couldn't stop going back and forth between the two views - the bluffs behind, the darkening sky and the actual setting sun across.

On one side the sun was showing it's golden glow, on the other beautiful pinks and purples.  Watch what I saw!

And my final shot of the day was of my best friend, doing what he loves!
It was time to leave the bluff (it gets dark QUICK!) so we sped back down to the car, drove back to camp to back up our pictures, eat our dinner, and find our way to our beds so we could get up VERY early for a hike out to the famous lighthouse peak in the morning.


Pam said...

I'm planning on being in Palo Duro Canyon in November 2014 so was happy to see how beautiful it could be there this time of year. I'll be taking a look around to see where else you've been and am referencing this post in a post I'm writing myself tonight. Thanks!

Anonymous said...


I am going here in October. Are those cave shots from the Big Cave trail? If not can you tell me roughly where the small trail was? (

Thank you!


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This is about my life. My life as a wife. My life as a mother. My life as a Memaw. My life as a teacher. My life as a runner. My life such as it is.