Whalechaser's Musings

No Matter Where You Go...
There You Are
Make the Best of It

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Palo Duro Canyon, Texas

This is the beginning of my long awaited southwestern trip that should take me through a minimum of six states and quite a variety of landscapes and vistas.  I deliberately selected Amarillo to be my first stop because I recently discovered Palo Duro State Park which is located just 25 miles south.

I got up early on day two to be one of the first at the entrance gate.  I wanted to see as much as possible in the few hours that were allotted before I had to continue my journey.  The ranger spotted my bike and asked if I was planning on doing some mountain biking, yes I said and quickly added a request for the least challenging trail in the park.  I was told that would be Lighthouse trail and how to get there.  Jazzed for a good ride on a glorious day I hurried along to find the parking lot.  Along the way I was mesmerized by the canyons, red rocks and abundance of trees and other greenery.  This is a pretty well-kept secret...a beautiful canyon on par with the the Grand Canyon but on a much smaller scale and I had to do quite a bit of research before stumbling upon it.  I think I will be back in the not too distant future it is just too beautiful to see only once.
 I rode just a short distance and had to stop and get a couple of pictures.  The place is just so beautiful.  The trail started off nice and easy and shortly thereafter offered steep climbs, sharp turns and challenging drops.
I guess my lack of riding this year was very apparent when I approached a two foot drop and quickly looked for a way around.  Fortunately, there was a channel alongside for the chicken-hearted.  To my dismay, I somehow jammed my brakes mid-channel and went right over the handle-bars landing on my feet in a forward motion...if I had only kept running I would not have taken a front dive as if reaching for second base in a tight baseball play! So after only a few miles I decided that this was way too "risky behavior" for this early in the trip and decided to turn around and do a little walking instead.  It seemed the safest activity.  There is so much to see and do here that I will have to come back and spend four days or so to really be able to enjoy all it has to offer.