|Palo Duro Canyon|
|Monday, 11 April 2005 16:00|
It gets quite cold here overnight, between 4C and 8C, which to me seems odd when I think of Texas, however the daytime temperatures have ranged between 14C to 24C and it IS spring after all. Today the wind has died down, the sky was clear and sunny all day and the temperature soared to 24C so we explored the "Grand Canyon of Texas", the Palo Duro Canyon.
The RV park owner here, a really nice, helpful lady, told us that there were some great biking trails in the park so we decided to take our bicycles with us and find out for ourselves. For a full days use, the entrance fee to the Palo Duro Canyon State Park is $3.00 per person however there are also camping sites available with water and electricity for $15.00 per night for those who want to stay longer. The neat thing about this canyon is that we can drive right down to the bottom of it and there are dozens of parking places, camping sites and day use areas to choose from. We stopped at the visitor centre, near the top, and learned a lot about the history of the canyon and then we drove down to the bottom and parked the car. We chose the "Lighthouse Trail" a 4.5-mile round trip trail for hikers, bicyclers and horseback riders.
Because it is spring, the air was fragrant with the scent of thousands of tiny yellow blossoms. The trail, though a little challenging at times, had plenty of shaded benches to rest on and wound along the floor of the canyon up to two stunning formations, the Castle Peak and the Lighthouse Peak. At the end of the trail there was a bicycle stand and a picnic table at the base of a set of winding, steep rock, sand and wooden steps leading up to the Lighthouse formation. It was so cool that we could actually climb up to it and once we did, we took the opportunity to sit in awe of the scenery before us and feel such a sense of gratitude to be there. Though this canyon is small in comparison to the Grand Canyon, only 120 miles long and 800 feet deep versus 277 miles long and 6000 feet deep, it was still well worth a day of exploration.