Friday, June 22, 2012

Go West IX - Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas  © Doug Hickok  All Rights Reserved

During our Western road trip, Becky and I encountered surprising and unexpected subjects... massive sand dunes in Colorado, monumental rocks rising above the flatlands of Kansas, and the mysterious and now legendary sighting of shaggy black yaks on ranch land near Ouray.

But perhaps the most astonishing find of all was Palo Duro Canyon. Just the opposite of Monument Rocks in Kansas, Palo Duro (Spanish for "hard wood") is an extensive canyon that carves deeply into the infinitely flat terrain of the Texas high plain.

 It is the second largest canyon in North America (120 miles long and 800 feet deep), and a fascinating environment of brightly colored stone tempered with the soft greens of juniper and mesquite. Historically it was the home land of Native American tribes such as the Kiowa, Comanche and Cheyenne.

It was here we spent our first day tent camping... with an oven-like temperature of 104˚F! Hot, dry, windy and dusty... but cool in its own way. The "Grand Canyon of Texas" was an excitingly rugged landscape to hike and explore.

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