Friday, August 20, 2010

TGGN: Part VI: Caprock Canyons

After dinner at Cracker Barrel and a quick look at the clock we decided to head to Caprock Canyons State Park and spend the night. According to the GPS we would have about 20 minutes to spare if they followed the same 10pm gate close time as Palo Duro Canyon.

After a frantic 10 minutes at/around/near the deserted visitor center just before 10pm we finally found the road to the campground and heaved a sign of relief as we found a spot, backed in, and got hooked up. Inside the gates. In a real spot. With electricity!

Having had some practice we got the bed made, the kids changed, and practically fell into bed within minutes of having stopped. We were all sleeping soundly until around 3:30AM when the smoke detector went off for apparently no reason rudely waking everyone but the boys up from a sound, sound sleep.

The next morning by the light of the sun rather than the moon we ventured out to check out the park. After our quick tour we made a stop by the campground bathrooms and braved the showers. After chasing a huge grasshopper out of the shower area I got the boys ready for their 2nd ever shower. The first not having gone so well... Connor LOVED it. He could have happily stayed and played in the water all day. Ryan enjoyed it, too, expect for the whole getting wet part. :) He was just warming up to the idea of getting anything above his neck even the least bit wet about the time we had to get out.

After our shower Grannie and the boys and I wandered through the surprisingly empty campground.

We admired the sunflowers.

We found the playground, an impressive number of giant ants, and more giant stickers in one place than I think I have ever seen in my life.

After a quick break in the AC and some breakfast we wandered back down into the canyon area to take some pictures and look for the hiking trail the woman at the visitor center recommended.

I thought I had seen a sign for it on our earlier drive, but as we drove both in, and then part of the way back out we didn't see it. So we stopped at a parking lot near where we thought the trail head should be. Instead we found a faint, but overgrown path leading out into the rocks. Within just a short distance we lost the path near a 8' drop down into the dry creek bed.

Having given up as we started the trek back out, sure enough there it was. Clearly marked on the side of the road. It was a 4 ft wide trail, recently bulldozed. Exactly as described.

Both the trail and the nearby area were covered in some sort of quartz which glittered in the afternoon sun.

Just a short way down the trail we came to the natural bridge. Without water running through it it would have been easy to miss. Even when we spotted it were weren't 100% sure that this was it. But as my mom descended down on one to take a look she could clearly see through to the other side.

Despite my heckling about creatures living inside she brazened her way across to take a peek out the far side.

Caprock Canyons State Park is also the home of the official Bison Herd of the State of Texas. Throughout the park there are metal bison hiding in the tall plains grass and a whole herd at the amphitheater area.

From a distance, they look quite real.

At the visitor's center Grannie helped the boys see three real bison grazing in a large field nearby.

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