Cows and Canyons

Day Three of Spring Break 2022

Feeding the resident wildlife

Often, on vacation, I enjoy getting up before everyone else and going outside to read and have coffee as the sun comes up. The past several years, we have been on the Gulf Coast during spring break so I was not prepared for the COLD and wind that the morning in the Texas panhandle would bring. I did capture the sunrise and have to admit the sky out here in the great wide open is really awe inspiring.

Like being in a snow globe…without the snow

The temperature was forecast to warm up significantly so we planned to go to Palo Duro Canyon State Park before the rain rolled in the next day. As we were getting ready for the day, we saw the resident cows on the hillside. This time the “clang the chain on the gate” trick worked, and Kate and Ringo ambled as quickly as their bovine legs would carry them down the hill to the gate for some cow cookies.

Before we drove out to Palo Duro, we stopped at the T-Anchor Flea Market. Trever has memories of going to this market which, in peak season, has indoor and outdoor booths; however, it seems to have become less of a traditional flea market and more of a indoor market of trinkets and mass merchandise items so we didn’t stay long. We didn’t come particularly well stocked with groceries on this trip so we grabbed some sandwiches, thinking we would eat once we got to the canyon.

Anyone will tell you that I can be a bit directionally challenged. I prefer paper maps and atlases where I can see the “big picture” and the maps on the phone/GPS system don’t do it for me. But the circuitous route I ended up taking us on to get to Palo Duro Canyon State park was poor navigation even by my standards! We wound up in Claude, TX and pulled over in the courthouse parking lot to eat and regroup.

We finally reached our destination and started the drive through the canyon. Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States and the state park that bears its name has an abundance of hiking trails. Home to Native Americans for thousands of years, the Red River War was the culmination of the removal of those who lived in the canyon and the indigenous people had no choice but to go to reservations. After some time of private ownership, it was established as a state park in 1934 and it was developed for several years under the CCC.

We didn’t come prepared for actual hiking (and honestly I don’t ever do actual hiking) but we did enjoy the vistas and the views afforded from the lookout areas. The cold morning turned into a very warm afternoon – up to 84 degrees at times. Trever and Abby had a mini hike up the side of a hill to a cavern while Sarah and I stayed in the car.

While in the canyon, we noticed that the day was becoming increasingly hazy and the wind was picking up significantly. The colors of the day were muted by the fog of dust which seemed to settle over the landscape. One can only imagine how those who lived in this area during the Dust Bowl era even survived.

Dust in the wind
Dinner Dates

Undecided on a particular dinner destination, we stopped at Teddy Jack’s Amarillo Grill, our second meal mistake of the trip. It was overpriced with the food being only fair. I hate spending good money on subpar food!

Back at the ranch 🙂 , I read a few pages of Killers of the Flower Moon, which I had purchased at the gift shop at the state park…..I like to pick up a book when we travel that reflects the area we are visiting (although this particular one relates to the Osage in Oklahoma). Later, we broke out our new game of Clue. (I would like to file a formal complaint with whoever decided classic Clue should be updated.) We had a lot of laughs about the strange new twists and made it through one game before everyone decided to hit the sack.

-Karri Temple Brackett
March 20, 2022

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