The Campaign For DA

4.11.2010

My Palo Duro Canyon Visit [Edit: Photo Links Fixed]

Ok, so this weekend I decided to write one off of my Bucket List and visit Palo Duro Canyon. Since I can only write in bullet points, here goes:
  • It's right by Amarillo so I decided to go with Southwest Airlines. Let me say this: Southwest Airlines knows how to run a business like no other.
  • My post to Twitter from the airport read: "The government just conviscated my sun screen. Thanks a lot Bin Laden."
  • My companion-who-is-a-girl decided to take a large pocket knife in her carry on since we were going hiking. Really? It made it through.
  • We got to the canyon a little after 8:00 a.m. after a very short drive from Amarillo. My first thought: I can't believe this thing is in Texas.
  • I mean jaw dropping gorgeous.
  • Did you know it is the largest canyon in the United States after the Grand Canyon?
  • We had picked out two hikes. One was a "secret" trail about a mile and a half to a "table top" which overlooked the famous amphitheater. The second one was a three mile hike to The Lighthouse. (More below.)
  • About a 1/4 mile into the first hike, seeing no one, we came across a fanny-pack-looking-thing right off the trail which looked new, was full of water, and full of snack bars. Right next to it was a cliff of about 70 yards from the bottom. Hope the guy is OK.
  • Finally made it to the the Table Top. Here's a view of the amphitheater from up there. Here's a few of the canyon.
  • Sitting up there for 30 minutes was probably one of the Top Ten Adventure Moments of my life.
  • From there we made it back to the car and drove down the road to the trailhead for The Lighthouse.
  • That hike seemed more than three miles. A lot more.
  • I bought some hiking shoes about a year ago manufactured by Merrell. Absolutely outstanding.
  • Here's a random pic along the way of the beauty.
  • I saw my first horned toad in the wild since I was a child. I tried to catch the little fellow to hold him but I'm not as fast as I was when I was a child.
  • Here's what it looks like from about a half mile away from the destination.
  • Here it is once we climbed up to the shelf of The Lighthouse. Wow.
  • The craziest sight was a couple with five young kids (how they made that hike is a mystery). But dad, who was incredibly in control of the little hellions ("if you make a mistake and run, you die!!"), decided to take them to the peak of the cliff right next to The Lighthouse. (In the above picture, that peak is to the left.)
  • Here's a pic of the kids beginning the climb up there. That doesn't do it justice.
  • We climbed up to see if you could actually get to the top of that peak and found that you could. Problem: There's about an eight foot vertical climb to get to it. And, trust me, if you fall, you are going to die. Die hard. (The Dad of those kids wasn't kidding.)
  • Here's a pic of a gal boosting herself up to the top. I promise that down and to the right is a cliff that is steeper than anything Wylie E. Coyote ever fell off of.
  • That's the same climb that five little kids did and I HAVE NO IDEA how they pulled that off. Dad had to boost them up there, I guess. I'm so mad at myself for not running up there to snap a picture of it.
  • My companion decided to go to the top as I developed a small case of vertigo. (Yep, I wussed out.)
  • Here she is at the top. Insane. (Remember the pic of the little kids climbing to the top of it? That path can be seen in the lower right of the pic.)
  • On the way back, as it got hotter, I thought about my Bataan Death March book and realized how easy life is.
  • I've got a new appreciation for Texas weekend trips.