Everyday is an Adventure. Embrace it

Posts tagged ‘hiking’

Visit Palo Duro Canyon, Texas

While we were in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in northern Texas, we asked several folks, “what is there to do in Dallas?” or “What are things to do in North Texas?” Often we were told about local parks. We did visit these local parks and were pretty disappointed. So began our search online to find things to do and places to go and adventures we could enjoy in North Texas. We discovered the panhandle area and the beautiful photos of that area. Amarillo was also in that neck of the woods, so we thought…

Why not?

I can’t remember if it was my husband or I that found Palo Duro Canyon State Park, but the pictures online were absolutely gorgeous. We dug out some Best Western travel cards and found a pet-friendly Hotel in Canyon Texas.   We prefer a Hotel to other accommodations.  After we booked our room, packed our bags (and our dog), we hit the road.

My husband chose our route based on the less travelled. He knew it would take longer to drive from Dallas to Canyon Texas, but it would allow us to see smaller towns, avoid toll roads and several hours of bumper to bumper traffic where cars freely weave in & out on multi lane bridges like they’re on a Nascar track. (I’ll share those back road adventures in another article.) The total drive took us roughly 6 1/2 to 7 hours. Please keep in mind, we drove easy, stopped often and enjoyed the sites along the way. The drive from the DFW area to Canyon would have taken only 4 1/2 to 5 hours if we were more destination focused.

Arriving in Canyon Texas, a small town about 20 minutes outside Amarillo Texas, we immediately noticed it was a cozy place. Main Street literally being its main attraction, the people were very welcoming and the traffic was slow. The pace of life was much more easy-going. The weather was beautiful.

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The entrance to Palo Duro Canyon is about 8 to 10 minutes away from the Best Western Hotel in Canyon Texas. The following morning we had coffee and packed a couple of bagels, various snacks & plenty of water for our adventure.

One of the most important thing to do in Palo Duro Canyon is stay hydrated. The weather there can be tricky and the canyon floor can easily reach over 110 degrees for several hours each day.

At the entrance we waited in line for about 25 minutes before we paid $5 per person. It’s important for any visitor to know that this park is highly populated as well as many of Texas’ other state parks. In the event the park is at full capacity, the Park Rangers pass out tickets to hold your place in line until they’re able to allow admittance (which can take up to 4 hours). I highly recommend being one of the first in line or you may not be able to visit the park on the day you arrive!

Palo Duro Canyon is very well-kept. The park rangers regularly patrol the canyon for exhausted visitors that may need a little aid. There were signs posted everywhere stating at least a gallon of water per person was recommended for each hour. We sweated this much or more and drank about a gallon an hour each on the trails.

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Shortly after we entered there was a beautiful look-out point fabulous for taking photos! We also noticed the cabins located off to the right. The park rents these cabins out for overnight stays. They looked very nice, but we did not go inside any of them.  Traveler tip: If you are looking to rent a cabin, do it well in advance – possibly several months out.

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From that point we ascended down on a curvy road toward the bottom of the Canyon. We passed the theatre area where the Texas Musical Play was presented in the evening. Ticket were available for purchase, but we did not attend.

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Next there was a store/deli/tourist shop. The prices were a bit higher there then if you weren’t inside a Texas State Park but not too terribly unreasonable.

What did they sell inside the Trading Post?

They made homemade ice cream which was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend you try at the grill! One serving was large enough to share but not knowing, we ordered two. Their french fries were absolutely great and my husband’s said their hamburger was totally delicious. They also sold water and gasoline for those who were low on fuel. This was also the place to find t-shirts, postcards, and any other tourist gift and memorabilia to commemorate a visit.

There were too many campsites to count. We saw primitive, modern, and large RV Park sites as well. There was also a section on the far side of the park for equestrians. The camping sorts available were numerous and we saw people from all walks of life on different budgets enjoying their stay.

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There’s a small stream of water that normally runs through the bottom of the canyon according to the Trail Maps. The creek beds were mostly dry when we were there.

The many hiking trails were varied from super easy to extremely challenging. I loved hiking there because the brush and trees provided shade to cool off at different intervals.

The dirt in the Palo Duro Canyon is red. The rocks are many colors though. The contrast was beautiful and made for some gorgeous photos.

The flora in the canyon included small & large trees, several types of flowers and cacti, and many tumbleweed type bushes. The creatures we saw in the canyon include lizards, rabbits, roadrunners, turkey and other birds. Signs along the way read that it was possible to encounter other types as well, but we didn’t. I was a little afraid that we would be in contact with a rattlesnake, but we got lucky and never saw one.

Things to do in Palo Duro Canyon included:

Biking, Hiking, Camping, RV Park, Bird Watching, Horseback Riding, Caving, (we saw at least 3 caves for the brave to explore. I wasn’t one of the brave!) and much more.

It was a dusty adventure in the Palo Duro Canyon. We stayed for about 5 1/2 hours on the trip hiking roughly 10 miles that day. When we left we were covered in the dusty red dirt from the second largest canyon in the United States.

It was rather surprising that the Palo Duro Canyon was so little known to the various folks we spoke to in Texas area. I don’t understand how such an awesome place was so unrecognized by the locals.

Enjoy the slide show and leave me a comment about things to do in Texas. I love suggestions!

 

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Hiking in Big South Fork TN

We’ve spent a lot of time in Gatlinburg, TN exploring & enjoying nature. This time we wanted to go in a different direction. We had heard a great deal about Big South Fork National River & Recreation Park, but had not been there. So, my husband & I decided to take the hour & half trip and check it out.

It was lovely 🙂 I definitely want to go back. We only spent a few hours there and hiked only 2 trials. From what we saw, it seems to be a well-kept park with very well maintained pathways.

Big South Fork is a big park covering 125,000 miles of land stretching from northern Tennessee to southern Kentucky according to their website.

Take a small look around with me 🙂

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I plan on going back!! 🙂

A stroll in early Fall

What do you see?

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I see rebirth, a never ending promise of renewal.

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God provides for all.

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Thank you Lord for the path you put me on!
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Doctor Day

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve gradually become a grumpy gus. It seems that the aches & pains in my body have intensified of late. Nick continually had been encouraging me to go to the doctor to seek treatment, which I was avoiding. So, today is Dr day.
I very much dread going to the doctor. I don’t like medicine and I don’t like admitting that I can’t or won’t get better on my own 😦 Every visit since my family doctor changed practices has been odd. The last time I saw him, he didn’t seem happy. I guess being a doctor isn’t an easy profession anyway, but he use to have a spring in his step that seemed to be missing last time.
Anyway, today I’ll talk to him about the arthritis and it’s mean friends: pain, inflammation, and twisting joints. Here’s hoping he can put me on a treatment plan to slow this unkind disease and give me quality of life back. It’s hiking time in Tennessee & I want to hike, run, walk, and begin an exercise program badly!

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Conquer that Mountain!

You can Conquer that mountain!

Over the weekend, my youngst boy and I had a goal. We were going to conquer a mountain again!

It was his first time all the way to the top & I’ll admit, I had reservations that he could make it, but with company & motivation…we made it!

We saw the splendor of God’s creation and basked in the awesome uncomparable moments!

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We met some rascally reptiles along the way (several lizards & 3 types of snakes).

It was awesome! 🙂

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More Family Pictures by KD Photography

More Family Pictures by KD Photography

I am so tickle that Kristi has captured my little family for a year.  Here are some more great pictures that she captured for us at the park 🙂

My  boysNicky & Coley

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Yesterday’s Adventure – Beware

Yesterday’s Adventure – Beware

Yesterday,  I was reminded of an OSHA saying:

Is better to lose one minute in life… than to lose life in a minute.

I can be pretty naive at times I suppose. Part of that can be attributed to my belief that there is good in every person somewhere. But, where good is, evil is also present.

I found a couple of parks that I had never been to before and decided on a destination for the day. The park I chose was highly recommended by hikers on several websites. Mountain bikers gave high marks and praised the upkeep, cleanliness, and safety. Fishermen posted on wildlife sites about the beauty & bounty of fish at the park online as well. The park was listed on several family recreation recommendation sites also. I just had to go see this hidden local gem 🙂

I have been all over my town, city, county and several others by myself exploring. I never gave the safety of this particular park a second thought, especially after so many high regards listed on public sites by so many people!

Following GPS, I located the park. I parked & noticed how many cars were present. There were many. I left my car, locked it & went to a beautiful fishing dock 🙂 The water was low, but it was lovely 🙂 The surrounding trees, shrubs, and spring flowers were beginning to emerge. Life around the dock was thriving. It was absolutely beautiful!

As I walked along the first & only part of a trail I got to see, I soon realized I was surrounded by 5 men. They were coming toward me from all angles. They spoke one at a time to perhaps make me nervous. Nervous people do stupid things. I heard several of them all at once in my mind though as I quickly evaluated my predicament.

Hey Baby.

Take some good pictures?

Whatcha got there?

One whistled a cat call.

Where are you going sweet thang?

Come here, we just want to talk.

One unbuttoned his pants. I had a knife clipped to my blue jeans (as I usually do) but it was dull 😦  (I can’t find my good knife that has made so many hikes with me.) I hadn’t planned on taking a long hike so I didn’t bring my regular gear with me.

I quickly evaluated my surroundings:

  • I was surrounded by 5 angles.
  • Wooded area.
  • No large rocks, branches, random wrought iron, wire on the ground, or strong vines to use for defense. There was nothing to use as an element of surprise.
  • No one else around. I realized how stupid I had been.

I have 12 phone numbers listed on speed dial. After the 5th one, I reached a friend. I began the most random conversation I have ever had (and that’s saying a lot for me).

OH Hey Sweetie!! You are? I just found the coolest park. Yeah, it’s off XXX highway. Really? you’re coming this way anyway? Great!! I can’t wait to see you sweetie!! You’re just 2-3 minutes away, really? Oh man, I would LOVE to show it to you! I love you!

Please bear in mind that my friend could not hear me well. Signal was not strong and he could only understand a few words that I was saying. Thank God he didn’t hang up on me!!

Fishing? YES, there’s a dock here and we can fish sometime. Oh, did I tell you that I heard back from the doctor? I HAVE CRABS. So, you’ll be here in a few seconds? Great!!

While on the line with him, I had twisted off the trail, into the thicket and toward the lake. Two men didn’t follow. One man behind me from another direction proclaimed,

She crazy! She going into that snake water. Forget that man.

With only two men left following me, I swiftly waded through the water with the phone plastered to my face. I’d rather take a snake bite than face what they may have done to me! I dared not to repeat myself and give away  the fact that my reception was not the best. I kept saying to my friend at different times in different ways,

Stay with me. Stay with me.

When I reached my escape trail, I glanced behind me. I had lost the other two men back on the other side of the lake. Their fear of the snakes was enough to deter them. I got in my car and sped out of there! I took a valuable lesson with me: Is better to lose one minute in life… than to lose life in a minute.  Thank you OSHA 🙂

A beautiful Hike up House Mountain #2

Join me for some pictures of A beautiful Hike up House Mountain…the second time. This time, both boys hiked with me on November 6th. About a week & half had elapsed since our last visit to this mountain. The area had also experienced at least 6-8 frosts as well. With each frost more leaves change colors and more leaves fall off. The first post has the sun at high noon.

The pictures below are of our second hike & the sun was not far from setting.

A beautiful Hike up House Mountain 🙂

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