Palo Duro Canyon

July 1, 2014

There are big changes on the horizon for me and Zach. We have accepted positions at a school in Goyang, South Korea and will be leaving the US for at least a year. So to say bon voyage properly we have embarked on a small road trip.

We left Austin yesterday around noon and drove up to Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest canyon in the US. The drive through Texas was nice and much greener than usual thanks to the recent rains. We reached Palo Duro around 8pm. The canyon appears out of nowhere – we were driving through lush, grassy plains and all of a sudden the earth dropped down into a gorgeous canyon painted in reds, yellows, and purples. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe park is pretty spread out (120 miles long) and is 600-800 ft. down in the canyon. We had to descend into the canyon from the park’s entrance and then go almost to the very end to reach our campground. We set up our tent and then took a stroll in the remaining day light.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was nice and breezy outside but inside our tent it was hot and muggy. Around 1am we were awakened by a lightning and thunder storm. After putting the rain cover on our tent we ended up retreating to the car for a bit. At some point we returned to the tent and were much more comfortable. The storm brought a cool front with it – thankfully.

This morning we got up to pack up our site and then do a short hike before hitting the road. We chose to do the Lighthouse Trail which is the most popular trail in Palo Duro Canyon. We didn’t go the entire way – we stopped a few tenths short of the end, but we hiked 4.4 miles and were able to see the Lighthouse rock formation which is the park’s most famous formation. It was a nice hike for the most part – there was a breeze on our way back, but the trail was completely exposed so we were in the sun the entire hike.

Starting Lighthouse Trail

Starting Lighthouse Trail

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We met this little guy on the way

We met this little guy on the way

The lighthouse formation

The lighthouse formation

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter finishing our hike we left Palo Duro Canyon and hit the road for our next destination – Longmont, Colorado. We drove through a small part of New Mexico which was really beautiful and then crossed into Colorado.

A nice car shot of New Mexico

A nice car shot of New Mexico

Sierra Grande - an extinct shield volcano

Sierra Grande – an extinct shield volcano

Capulin - an extinct cinder cone volcano

Capulin – an extinct cinder cone volcano

Driving is fun!

Driving is fun!

Colorado was a fairly nice drive. Even though we drove through Colorado Springs during rush hour we didn’t hit any traffic. Our friend, Kelly, is interning at the Denver Art Museum this summer so we arranged to meet her at her aunt’s home just north of downtown Denver. We ended up walking to Denver Beer Company for a couple of pints so we could catch up. Denver Beer Co. is nice – a good selection of beer and a little pizza trailer out front that we ended up eating from. We spent a couple hours there and then walked back to Kelly’s aunt’s home so that we could get to Longmont before it was too late in the evening.

Longmont wasn’t too far from Denver – it was around a 30 minute drive. Shawn and his roommate, Jeremy were still up so we sat and chatted with them for a while and ate juicy cherries from Shawn’s cherry tree.

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