Llano Estacado, November 2005

West Texas Sunrise
West Texas Sunrise
View from Haynes Overlook
View from Haynes Overlook

On this occasion, I wanted somewhere to hike that was less than a day away from home. I decided to revisit Caprock Canyons State Park and Palo Duro State Park in northwest Texas, camp a couple of nights, and see what developed.

I shot well on my drive, then set up camp at Caprock, this time in the Little Red tent camping area.

Upper Canyon and mares tails
Upper Canyon and mares tails
The author poses for a photo at Palo Duro Canyon.
The author poses for a photo at Palo Duro Canyon.

My campsite faced west. At night I heard coyotes, like when we camped at Chaco. Midnight at Caprock: the moon, crescent, and a bright star set in front of me. Above, all the stars there are. Behind me, the flickering orange of my camp fire. It is breezy and warm, and I don’t need my camp coat. It was a good night on the llano estacado.

I hiked so much in 24 hours that it felt┬álike I’d been there a week.

Natural Arch, Lower Canyon
Natural Arch, Lower Canyon
Upper Canyon, Caprock
Upper Canyon, Caprock

The wind was insane in my tent at night. It kept me awake with the flapping of my tent, and blew sand in through the rain fly.

Trails I hiked: Canyon Loop, Eagle Point, Lower Canyon, Upper Canyon, and Haynes Overlook at Caprock, and The Lighthouse trail at Palo Duro.

Grass and Cliffs, Late Afternoon
Grass and Cliffs, Late Afternoon
Canyon Loop Trail
Canyon Loop Trail
Fern Cave at the Top of the Canyon Loop Trail
Fern Cave at the Top of the Canyon Loop Trail
Fern Cave at the Top of the Canyon Loop Trail
Fern Cave at the Top of the Canyon Loop Trail
At the Top of the Haynes Ridge Trail
At the Top of the Haynes Ridge Trail
Yucca and Sky, Lower Canyon Trail
Yucca and Sky, Lower Canyon Trail
Hoodoo, Lower Canyon
Hoodoo, Lower Canyon
Natural Arch, Lower Canyon Trail, Caprock
Natural Arch, Lower Canyon Trail, Caprock
Gypsum Pothole, Caprock
Gypsum Pothole, Caprock
Caprock Canyons Access Road
Caprock Canyons Access Road
The wind in my tent kept me awake, so I got up very early and ended up at the Canyon Loop trail before sunrise.
The wind in my tent kept me awake, so I got up very early and ended up at the Canyon Loop trail before sunrise.
Caprock Canyons Sunset
Caprock Canyons Sunset
These majestic formations stand deep in the heart of Caprock's Upper Canyon trail.
These majestic formations stand deep in the heart of Caprock’s Upper Canyon trail.
See from the top of the Upper Canyon trail, this view gives an idea of the overall topography of the area.
See from the top of the Upper Canyon trail, this view gives an idea of the overall topography of the area.
Upper Canyon and Mares Tails, Caprock
Upper Canyon and Mares Tails, Caprock
Upper Canyon and Mares Tails, Caprock.
Upper Canyon and Mares Tails, Caprock.
Sunset, Caprock Canyons
Sunset, Caprock Canyons
Abandoned Quonset Hut, Interstate 40, Groom, Texas
Abandoned Quonset Hut, Interstate 40, Groom, Texas
Cliffs and Sky, Palo Duro Canyon
Cliffs and Sky, Palo Duro Canyon
The Lighthouse, Palo Duro Canyon
The Lighthouse, Palo Duro Canyon
Hoodoo near The Lighthouse, Palo Duro Canyon
Hoodoo near The Lighthouse, Palo Duro Canyon
Palo Duro Canyon's Lighthouse formation stands against the sky on a hazy morning.
Palo Duro Canyon’s Lighthouse formation stands against the sky on a hazy morning.