For years I have heard about Palo Duro Canyon, and on every trip out west since the first ski trips in the early 1980s I have seen the big brown signs along the interstate around Amarillo pointing the way. It only takes about six hours to drive from my home in Ada to Palo Duro, so it’s close enough to make a long weekend out of it. With a perfect blue sky above, I set out with uncharacteristic spontineity.
“Palo Duro” means hard wood.
•Stopped to shoot the famous (at least along I-40) Leaning Tower of Britten.
•Found an excellent campsite in the Hackberry Campground, with cliffs and trees all around.
•Made a driving tour of the park, with excellent results.
•A beautiful place, full of cottonwoods. Nearly cloudless sky. Golden sunset. Cool and dry.
•Little black flies and wild turkeys share this campground with a moderate number of good-tempered campers who are mostly in vehicles.
•At dark, preparing to make a star trace photo, a number of deer pass close to my campsite.
•More wild turkeys in the campsite. Coyotes woke me up on two occasions
•Morning, hiked the Lighthouse Trail. I was told it would take two hours – I did it in an hour and ten minutes. I was the first there. Excellent images on the trail and at the formation. Poor images on the internet failed to capture either beauty or scale of the scene.
•Lots of flies, turkeys, deer, lizards.
•After lunch, Paseo del Rio Trail.
•Hiked a short distance up a bike trail; passable images but great fun exploring.
•Decent spot for sunset.
This is the quietest, most peaceful trip I have taken to date, due in no small measure to the excellent solitude.