We stayed two full days in Canyon, Texas- just south of Amarillo in the Texas panhandle- on our way northwest out of Texas. The draw for this stop was a picture in our state parks guide of the lighthouse rock formation at Palo Duro Canyon. Yes, it’s that kind of life. Where there’s intention, there we are! This was our first experience in the creation of our dreams and it was WILD.
We’ve never seen anything so magnificent! I know, I know- I’m originally from the Berkshires in Massachusetts and Chris from southern New Hampshire. New England is gorgeous. We know that… now. The places we don’t know, haven’t seen, or have only seen in movies hold this mystique- almost as if they aren’t real. We’ve travelled a bit- all over New England, Aruba, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, San Diego, Santa Barbara, DFW, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, New York City. There may be a few others that I’m missing. Maybe we’ve travelled more than the average, working family. The big difference- we have found- is that those were destinations, visits, stops on a round trip back to ‘real’ life. This time it IS life. OUR life. The one we’re creating and it’s absolutely magical.
In accordance with our repetitively stated need for internet, we stayed at Palo Duro RV Park just outside the state park/canyon. Once in the park, there is no mobile phone signal at all. The RV park had good WiFi and, because the musical Texas! was off-season, so was the park. We had lots of space. The park wasn’t lovely but very functional and friendly for the three nights that we stayed. Chris and I had our hearts set on seeing the Lighthouse rock formation and then read in the information that it was a 6-mile roundtrip hike. Could we make it? We psyched up the kids, packed lots of food and not enough water, headed out on a Saturday morning, and (tried) to resign ourselves to the journey rather than the destination. It was awesome. We were in this spectacular canyon, jumping off rocks, touching the walls, exploring trails.
I won’t lie. There was some grumbling around the 1.5 mile mark. At 2 miles, we could see it- the Lighthouse looming in the distance. It was a little anti-climactic. We thought it would be bigger. We almost turned around then but met a couple coming from there who gave us instructions on how to get up to the Lighthouse which included rigorous rock climbing. The kids were sold! We forged ahead. The trail became rocky and the incline steep. We paired off- one adult behind each child- thrilled with this new aspect of the adventure.
As we got closer, the Lighthouse lived up to its fame. It was enormous and multicolored and beautiful and…. and….! We scaled steep rock ledges and wound up directly at the base of the Lighthouse and its sister formation, the Castle. I gave the remainder of the water bottle I was sharing with Chris to a teenager suffering from heat exhaustion. We headed back with a spring in our step. Chris alternated putting the kids on his shoulders between the trail markers as the kids counted them down for each tenth of a mile to the trail head. It was so hot but we all felt like we had done something so BIG.
Our feet were sore and we were seeking a cool drink. But a cool dip in the water at the water crossing certainly helped!
Canyon is a supremely quaint little town- the epitomy of ‘sleepy, little bedroom town’. There’s only one restaurant that serves alcohol (you have to fill out a form- it’s a dry town) and almost nothing open after dusk. We drove the desolate brick main street after our hike looking for potential restaurants to ask for waste vegetable oil and ended up eating some delicious Thai at the only place with cars out front- Sayakomarn’s Thai & Lao Cuisine. Yes, the kids hiked 6 arduous miles AND ate Thai. How I love this journey!
Canyon was so pivotal for us. It really marked the beginning of the journey out of our comfort zone and into our dreams. Will you share something in the comments section that has been a dream come true for you or a step in the direction of your dreams? Let’s inspire each other!
Yes, that is a real tarantula- live and in person! He wandered across the trail as we were hiking. I think a ‘tarantula crossing’ sign is probably warranted.
Hello, fine sir! He stood so tall. It felt only right to address him as the regal creature that he is.