Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Palo Duro Canyon

I first became aware of the Palo Duro Canyon while reading James Michener's novel TEXAS.  The canyon provided the perfect cover for bands of outlaws.  Unsuspecting travellers were easily spotted from the many hideouts and ambushed.  The history of this canyon, filled with treachery, is also a story of breathtaking beauty.  The canyon is located in the panhandle of West Texas near Amarillo.  The terrain of this area is flat, flat, flat.  Nothing.  Nada.  Flat as a pancake.  However, out of this flatland a canyon was carved over a period of millions of years.  It is the second largest canyon in the United States (next to the Grand Canyon).  The canyon just appears out of nowhere.  Flatland to canyon!!  Just like that!  The first sight of the canyon is amazing.  The depth of the valley, the colors of the rocks, the visible layers of sediment.....all of it.  Amazing.  The Palo Duro Canyon is part of the state park system in Texas.  There are several campgrounds set up for both tents and trailers as well as a few rustic rental cabins that were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930's.  There are many hiking trails throughout the park ranging from short one mile hikes to longer twelve mile trails.  There are picnic areas for day travelers, like me.  Along the way I came across a large pavilion with rockers on the back porch facing the canyon walls.   This is a perfect place for slowly rocking and contemplating the majestic beauty of this canyon.  This is one of those places that I would like to return to some day but the next time I will bring camping gear.  I will be back.

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