Caprock Canyon State Park

I had another great time in a Texas canyon. I did get caught out on the trail low on water. The temperature rose fairly quick and I had to backtrack on a trail that added an additional mile plus. The park is located about two hours southeast of Amarillo. Caprock Canyon State Park has a different look from Palo Duro Canyon and the Grand Canyon. Caprock Canyon does not have a flat top look around the rim of the canyon. The rim is more jagged and uneven than the other two. I was once again amazed at the vastness of the canyon. I would need several trips to the canyon to see half of what I want to see. I did not see any buffalo but I did not realize it. I did not see the natural bridge and I want to see it the next time I visit. I also did not get to walk the rim but that is something I will also need to work on. I hiked the Canyon Loop Trail and the Upper Canyon Trail at the North Prong part of the canyon. I was going to also hike the Haynes Ridge Overlook Trail but that is where my problems started. The trail was literally straight up which was not a problem. It also had a small rock hole opening to get to the rim. I am to big to try to squeeze through an opening that small. I had to backtrack and try the other side of the trail. It was also extremely steep and I was already running low on water. I decided I would have to try at a different time. I still loved seeing all the geologic rock formations. The reds were also deeper and darker that Palo Duro Canyon. I did get to see the Last Dance hoodoo which is a popular sight at the park. I was also fascinated by the white crystal bands in the red rocks.20171220_124257.jpg20171220_122604.jpg20171220_124508.jpg20171220_124758.jpg20171220_133003.jpg20171220_133705.jpg

I cannot wait to get another chance to get back to this park. I will make the effort to see the natural bridge, the buffalo and get to the rim.

This hike was also the 6th hike of my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. As of now I have no hikes planned. I do have some state parks I want to go to this year. I will blog about those parks and my 52 Hike Challenge plan for 2018.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park Day 2

I had an early morning start to day two of my adventures to the Texas canyons. It was 25 degrees when I started my second hike in Palo Duro Canyon. I do believe this was the coldest hike I have done all year. I chose the Lighthouse Trail for this hike. I wanted to see the famous Lighthouse hoodoo in the park. I did not know that there were other trails the also get a good view of the Lighthouse hoodoo and to get a really good up close view of this particular hoodoo I would have to break a rule. The hike was relatively easy and at the time I started I was the only one out on the trail. I do like when the trails are not busy. I get a chance to take all the pictures I want without other people wandering in them and also waiting for other people to take the picture I want to take. It might be selfish but I am OK with it. On the way back I saw a dozen or so people on their way out on the trail. This hike might have been a disappointment if there was not so many picturesque views on the way to the end of the trail.20171220_085511.jpg

As you can see there is more trail behind the “End Of Trail” sign. I really wanted to keep going but the sign must have been there for a reason so I stopped and went back. Little did I know is that if I continued on the trail I would been able to get to the base of the Lighthouse hoodoo. I did end up finding an additional mile of hiking off trail on the way back in a dried up creek bed. The part that made up for the lack of closeness to the Lighthouse hoodoo was how close I could get to the other rock formations and the bright colors of those rocks. I liked being in the canyon as much as being on the rim of the canyon. This place is truly awesome and is one of my favorite places I have ever been. 20171220_092341.jpg20171220_090021.jpg20171220_094854.jpg20171220_095939.jpg20171220_080332.jpg20171220_100138.jpg20171220_081334.jpg

I could spend an entire week here and still not get to all the parts of this park. I do plan on going to the Grand Canyon and if it is more spectacular than this then I will be absolutely amazed.

The next hike is at Caprock Canyon. Another Texas canyon with great sights and maybe some buffalo.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park Day 1

Palo Duro Canyon State Park is located in the Panhandle Region of Texas. It is about thirty minutes south of Amarillo. The Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States and is a gorgeous sight to see. I loved this place the minute I stepped out of the car. I have never seen anything like this in my life. I love that it has been a year of going to Texas state parks and I can still say I am seeing things that I have never seen previously. We have wanted to go here before as a family but the cabins have always been booked. I finally got a cabin at the park and I could not pass it up. I booked it and off I went. It had been raining most of the drive to the park but I was lucky that most of the rain was out of the park the day before I got there and it did not rain the day I was there. I was hoping for clear skies and cool weather. I was blessed with both on the two days I was hiking. It was a six hour drive with one stop and some of the drive was boring but other parts were scenic. I like going through the small towns I have heard about through high school sports. I hear about a six man football  powerhouse or a 1A basketball team that is undefeated and then I drive through that city, for me it is pretty cool. OK back to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, I did the CCC Trail on this day. The trail goes around the rim of the north end of the canyon and down to the amphitheater and back. I wanted to get started early but I was delayed getting to my cabin and plus the electricity was out at the cabin. I had a portable charger and a flashlight so that would not be a problem but I was not prepared for temperatures in the teens. I knew the cabin had a heater but with no electricity it was going to be cold. Eventually the power was fixed and I did not freeze. The hike was awesome and seeing all the colors of the canyon was mind blowing.  I was so amazed at the layers of rock and how brilliant the colors projected. 20171219_161533.jpg20171219_144219.jpg20171219_172527.jpg20171219_170708.jpg20171219_170359.jpg20171219_162912.jpg20171219_152414.jpg

Once I saw these pictures I knew I needed a better camera than my phone camera. I have a great camera on my phone but I am not good at taking pictures so I need a better point and shoot camera.

This also hike 4 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. The first three hikes were in my previous blogs on my second trip to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

My next blog is day two at Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

2017 My Top 10 Places Hiked

My last blog of the year is a review of the best places I have hiked this year. I was going to do a list of top ten hikes but I could not narrow it down to a good twenty. Plus the order would change as I was thinking about which hike should be placed on the list. I decided on places because it was easier but not easy. The top ten was not too difficult but the order was very hard. I did about 60 hikes this calendar year and they were spread out the entire twelve months. I had to compare the recent fresh in my mind place with a place that was hiked ten to eleven months ago. The ten places I have chosen, I have or will hike multiple times. Two places I have hiked but not blogged about yet. The ten places cover three states, a national park and a wildlife refuge.

10. Cedar Ridge Preserve-Minutes away from home and is one of the most scenic areas in Dallas County. hike2220171124_121348.jpg

9. Hot Springs National Park-This quaint cozy park has some great views. 20171112_103833.jpg20171112_103709.jpg

8. Pedernales Falls State Park-The Texas hill country is all over this list.20170406_131314.jpg20170122_130731.jpg

7. Pinnacle Mountain State Park-The second Arkansas park and a summit hike.20171111_141701.jpg20171111_082716.jpg

6. Enchanted Rock SNA-The park is more than The Rock. Hidden gems everywhere.20170406_092524.jpg20170122_102656.jpg

5. Lost Maples SNA-A nature made amphitheater with great trees, waterfalls and views.20170711_182026.jpg20170712_160931.jpg

4. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge-This place has everything. Summits and waterfalls.20171208_162255.jpg20171001_111717.jpg

3. Caprock Canyon State Park-Home of the official bison herd of Texas. Plus canyon views.20171220_124508.jpg20171220_122602.jpg

2. Colorado Bend State Park-Gorman Falls is amazing but that is just the start.20170405_143431.jpg20170405_134311.jpg

1. Palo Duro Canyon State Park-The second largest canyon in the USA.20171220_082257.jpg20171219_144321.jpg

These top ten places that I have hiked in 2017 maed this a memorable and fantastic year. Next year I hope to have a totally different list of places.

Crazy Desert Trail Race

I did the 5K race again. This is another race by Trail Racing Over Texas(TROT). This is my second TROT race and I like their races. This race was in San Angelo, TX which is four and a half hours southwest of the DFW metroplex. I did this race in combination of hiking San Angelo SP. The course was relatively flat but did have some short rugged hills thrown in. The run started off slow because I was trying to get my run tracker started but it never happened. I was the last one to start and had to pass all the walkers and slower runners. The trail was mostly single track and that took awhile to do but it kept me at a good pace early. I still have a tendency to start too fast and burn out near the end. The course was a single loop that was at the north end of the park. This part of the park was very west Texas desert like. The views were fabulous and the temperature was just right. I ran in these great conditions and put up my best trial 5K time to date. I ran a 34:31 and came in first in my age group and thirteenth in my gender and twenty second overall.

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This was an all around fun weekend. This was one of my favorite 5Ks of the year.

The next trail race was an experience I will never forget.

San Angelo State Park

I never heard of this park until a few months prior to hiking here my daughter had a softball tournament in San Angelo. At the time I wanted to go hiking through the park but the way the games were set up I never got a chance. The area and parts of the city made me want to go back to the park and see what it had to offer. I then saw a 5K trail run taking place inside the park and I signed up. I could now see the park and also get a trail race. San Angelo is about four and a half hours west south west of the DFW metroplex. The park boast longhorns, rattlesnakes and mountain views. I got to see two of the three thankfully the less poisonous of the three. The trail map does not do the park justice and the entire park is a scenic vista. The park is also located on O.C. Fisher Lake. My hike started at the scenic overlook on the south side of the park and then on to Burket Trail.20170310_165558.jpg20170310_181956.jpg20170310_154105.jpg

On the Burket Trail you get a good view of cactus and the red dirt trails. The trail has a several different surfaces which makes it a visually spectacular hike.20170310_173131.jpg20170310_172921.jpg20170310_171052.jpg20170310_173628.jpg

I had some daylight left so I hiked one more trail. I went to the Tasajillo Flats Trail and saw a wonderful sunset over the west Texas desert and mountains. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVQxPI_1py8&t=28s20170310_183710.jpg20170310_184114.jpg20170310_183921.jpg

I had a great time hiking in the evening and then had an early morning 5K trail run. I had my best time of the year and got another view of the park from the north side. The pictures at that part of the park did not come out but trust me there are some pictures of a mountain range in the distance.

The next park is in the Houston area and it was used as a camping area for another trail race I had the next day. The park follows the trends of I have never heard of the park before and a park I have a trail run.