October 20, 2011

10/16/11 - Palo Duro Canyon SP

Texas is Texas, but it hasn't been the largest state in the union since I was a kid.  They also have to make do with the #2 longest canyon in the US.  Palo Duro Canyon is 120 miles long, a shade wider than the Grand Canyon, but nowhere near as deep. 
It was formed by the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River.  We didn't see prairie dogs--but we did see some water.  And where some water had been.
If you’re from the very flat Midwest, it is probably pretty impressive.  If you’ve seen other canyons, like the Grand Canyon or Bryce and Zion in Utah, then not so much.  For us, not so much…
The cool thing is you can drive down a steep windy road into the floor of the canyon.  Or if you’re young, athletic, or so inclined, you could hike down, run down (11 mile loop), or ride your horse or mountain bike.  We drove the truck on the paved road.  (FYI trail etiquette:  bikes yield to people & horses; people yield to horses; horses have right-of-way.)
It’s a really people-friendly park.  I’ve never seen a park that had so many turnouts, picnic tables, access points to trails.  It was in the 90s, so we didn’t do much hiking.  One tromp across the rocks to a chimney that was pretty interesting.  I think George follows me on these jaunts to make sure I don't hurt myself--he's definitely not as interested in my escapades as I am.  And he's definitely more sure-footed; I suppose size 15 feet helps.
A few of the official “Texas Longhorn Herd” are corralled near the exit.  (Who knew there was an official cattle herd???  What other state would have one?)  These critters had great names:  T-Bone, Omelet, Brisket and Gravy.   This is Omelet--I see no resemblance to an egg at all.
Here’s more pictures--just click on the link:  Palo Duro Canyon SP 

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