Vacation 2009 - Part 2

April 28, 2009

This is part 2 of my 2009 vacation. I left my hotel in Amarillo and drove about 30 miles to Palo Duro State Park, which is located east of Canyon, TX at the end highway 271. Note: the park opens at 8am, so don't make the extra effort to get there early! By sheer luck, I arrived at 7:59am. There was supposed to be a lot of rain today, but although it was cloudy the entire time I was there, it never rained. The clouds made for less than perfect pictures, but also made for great hiking. I did two hikes today. First, I hiked to the Lighthouse, a tall rock formation. Then I hiked the CCC trail. It was a great time. About 8 miles of hiking altogether. Highly recommended. After leaving the park, I went back to the town of Canyon. First, I made a quick stop at West Texas A&M University to get a few pictures of things I had seen on the way in (shown below). Second, I got some lunch. Finally, I drove to Albuquerque, about 300 miles, arriving at 9:30pm. I am writing this from my hotel room in Albuquerque.

Weather is threatening. I debated even going. Glad I did. [01]

Not much out here, southeast of Amarillo. No hint of what is to come. [02]

Now inside the park. Continuing my fascination with Charles Goodnight, since he was a character in the Lonesome Dove books. [03]

It's just a replica, but it's cool. [04]

It must have been tough keeping it clean inside.... [05]

Shelter is covered with dirt. [06]

Start of the Lighthouse trail. It wasn't hot today, but I carried two quarts of water anyway. [07]

Trail is mostly flat until the last 1/8 mile. [09]

Capitol peak. [10]

As seen along the Lighthouse trail... [13]

As seen along the Lighthouse trail... [14]

As seen along the Lighthouse trail... [15]

First view of the Lighthouse formation. [16]

As seen along the Lighthouse trail... [17]

Wild turkey tracks. [18]

As seen along the Lighthouse trail... [19]

Trailside cactus. [21]

As I've said before, there is no shortage of things designed to ruin your visit to Texas. But the people are great. [20]

At this point there is a very steep scramble uphill. [29]

Lighthouse rock with me. [26]

Lighthouse rock without me. [24]

The view back to where I came from. [27]

Testing my SPOT transmitter. Here's the email which people on my list received: [28]
Bill Qualls check in OK. All is well. No worries. 
Nearest Location:not known 
Distance:not known 
Time:04/28/2009 11:18:33 (US/Central),-101.6967&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Along the trail on the way back. [30]

Along the trail on the way back. [32]

Along the trail on the way back.[33]

Sign at trailhead. [35]

My second hike was the CCC trail. I was told that it is the only trail which climbs all the way out of the canyon. You can start at the top (Visitor Center) or the bottom (Amphitheater) or half way (alternate trailhead). I decided to start at the bottom so I would get the uphill part done first. [36]

A lot of work went into the construction and maintenance of this trail. [37]

The trail is in good shape. [38]

The trail makes a steep climb initially, then is mostly level and runs just below the canyon rim. [42]

That's the visitor center; the trail ends there. [43]

This trail has very nice views of the canyons below. [44]

At the halfway point, there is a spur trail that comes in from an alternate trailhead. [45]

I walked the spur to the alternate trailhead for the sake of completeness. I then returned to the trail. [48]

View from the trail... [46]

The trailhead at the visitor center. [47]

This spur trail is about 1/4 mile from the amphitheater. No sign here, but easily recognized. Take this trail to Table Rock. [49]

Me on the spur trail to Table Rock. [41]

The Table Rock trail is level and easy. [50]

Table Rock. [51]

The Amphitheater from Table Rock. My car is the only one in the lot. [52]

Another test of my SPOT transmitter. I was disappointed: no email was received. But I didn't leave it on as long as I did at Lighthouse rock. I'm not sure what SPOT signal indicates the message has been sent. [53]

Me at Table Rock. [54]

Trailside cactus. [55]

Cabins and statues at West Texas A&M University, visible from highway 271. [65]

Statue of Charles Goodnight at WTAMU. [56]

Unnamed statue at WTAMU. [57]

Nice cabin. [58]

Description of the cabin. [59]

Nice notching. [60]

Another building. [61]

Attached to the back of the main cabin. [62]

Cabin. [63]

Cabin. [64]

Just west of Amarillo. A whole lot of nothing out here! [66]

Approaching Santa Rosa, NM on my way to Albuquerque. [67]

Copyright © 2009 by Bill Qualls. Last updated April 28, 2009.
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