Summer Trip 2009 - Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Canyon, TX

This is the first entry in a series about our family trip this Summer. I will also be adding some entries from the kids.

Our first stop along the way was Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Canyon, TX. For those of you not familiar with it, it is often referred to as a "mini Grand Canyon". While there are similarities in features, there is nothing that can compare to the Big Ditch.

Palo Duro is a very big canyon though, as you can see from the picture above. It drops over 500 feet from rim to base. Unlike the Grand Canyon, the main camping is at the base of the canyon.

When we arrived, we had some lunch and then decided to go out exploring before setting up camp. We drove around to a place where we spotted some people climbing up a scree field into what looked like a cave. We parked, hopped out and walked towards the entrance of the cave. You can see the sliver of an entrance above and to the right of my wife and daughter in the photo below.

We all climbed up and into the cave. It wasn't much of a cave (only about 20 feet deep), but it was a fun climb up and there were some great views from up there.

After the caving expedition, we found a small riverbed and decided to get in and cool off. We all played around in the water until it started getting dark. We then headed off to set up camp.

Setting up camp was a chore. The good ol' west Texas winds were blowing and the family had a great time pitching the tents in the 20-30mph winds. We got camp set up just in time for dinner and a good Texas light show. The thunderstorms moved in right after dinner causing an abrupt end to the evening festivities of marshmallow roasting. The sound of the thunder came immediately after the lightning, so we knew it was close. The thunder was extremely loud as well. Surprisingly, none of the kids got too scared. It was late and we all got some sleep. The storms ended somewhere around 2am.

In the morning, we needed to dry everything out before packing it up for the drive to Colorado Springs. While everything was drying, we fixed breakfast. Eggs and bacon, mmmm. We even had some sausage, cheese and tortillas to make breakfast burritos. Mighty tasty! We did pretty good packing up and were on the road by 10am. We had 6-7 hours to get to Colorado Springs for the next leg of the journey.


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