Talk about worse for the wear – when I looked at Jerry this morning and looked in the mirror we both looked like we had been run over by a truck, a big truck. Yesterday’s hike, the last part nearly did us in. I asked Jerry how far it was thinking it was about .5 and was stunned when he told me he was more like .1 or .2. Like he said he wasn’t so much a hike as it was an ascent as we climbed nearly straight up. It was by far the hardest, most treacherous, most arduous segment of any hike we’ve taken on this trip but we did it! Don’t count us out yet. We may getting on up there in years but we’re still on the move and as much as we enjoy state and national parks hopefully it won’t end anytime soon.
As we were preparing to leave Amarillo Ranch RV Park and head to Caprock Canyon State Park Jerry was outside emptying the tanks, etc. I was inside putting everything in its traveling place. When I got the damprid from the front of the coach – it was behind the front window shade – there was ice in it! Apparently it got cold enough last night for the moisture from the front window to freeze. Amazing but we slept warm and cozy.
We’re were on the road by 9:30, not in a big rush since we only had 100 miles to go and check-in time was 2:00. As we rode along I was again amazed by how very flat Texas is. I thought Louisiana was flat but it’s flat and low. Texas is just flat and you can see for miles. The road ahead looks like the road that never ends. Until suddenly there is a canyon! Wow, it’s a long way down. Kind of used to “falling rock” signs in North Carolina but riding along and seeing an “earth slide” sign is a bit unnerving. Garmin sent us one way and Clarion sent us another. Jerry elected to go with Clarion – probably not a good decision as we went through several canyon roads. Garmin doesn’t do a very good job in cities, at least for us, but does seem to do better on the open road. In fact, I’m pretty sure Clarion got lost on this trip. She kept telling us to turn right and there was no road right. Some roads would have been difficult for a four wheeler and some of the “roads” even had locked gates. Yep, she was lost. I was just hoping the Garmin wasn’t!
We only went through a few towns but I noticed that they all had big water tanks and not like the water towers at home. You can tell that these are so important to the community and life or death for stock. I never quite grasped the scarcity of water until visiting this great state.
What a fun afternoon. We got to Caprock Canyon State Park right at noon and the office like other Texas parks was closed for lunch from 12:00 – 1:00 so we just stopped in the parking lot and had lunch and waited until 1:00 when we easily checked in. I asked if we would see bison and she said we probably would as they liked the campgrounds. She also suggested that we take the car off of the dolly in the parking lot so as soon as I got back to the coach I told Jerry and he took the car off. He took off in the RV and I followed in the car and by golly, there were bison. I was driving (slowly) and trying to take pictures when I realized that there were two cars behind me. Dang! On I went with only one good picture.
As soon as we got set up we got in the car and rode around and boy did we see signs of bison and then bison, lots of bison. They wander through the park freely. I had mistakenly told Jerry that we were to stay 50 FEET away from them. Duh, it’s 50 YARDS! No worry, I only saw them from the car and they seem to be quite used to cars. We rode on through the park and saw the walls of the canyon and they are beautiful with vivid colors. We actually spent the afternoon riding through the park and often spotting bison. There were some hikes we could have taken but after yesterday we wisely decided to pass today plus it got too late to start a long hike and they were all at least 4-6 miles.
Jerry checked in the office and found out that there are about 150 bison here now with a capacity of 300. They have a round up each year and if they exceed 300 they are shipped to other parks. Gestation for a bison is 9 ½ months and we saw several little bison. There are few fences but there are cattle guards in strategic places so I guess bison won’t cross a cattle guard either. The only other animal we saw today was a bunny in the yard.
I saw a sign about braking for prairie dogs and I had never seen one but suddenly there they were, lots of them running around, jumping up on two legs. When they were startled they started burying into the ground. It was amazing just watching them running around.
This is a great park but for some reason it doesn’t get the publicity that Palo Duro does and I can only guess that it’s because it’s kind off of the beaten path. I would surely recommend it to anyone who gets anywhere close to the area.
Also it is so very quiet, not a sound to be heard and the nights are so very dark! I would hate to have to walk outside without some kind of light.