Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Palo Duro Canyon,TX, "The Other Grand Canyon". A Little Rain Did Fall.

For "Travel Tuesday" let's stay right here in my adopted State of Texas.

As the saying goes:   "I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could!"

There is another Texas saying:  "That when the Palo Duro Canyon was discovered it used to be deeper than the Grand Canyon, but they scraped all the land around it flat, and filled in some of Palo Duro Canyon, so that the Grand Canyon could keep it's reputation!"

And another: "If B...S… was white, Texas would be covered in snow!"

Palo Duro Canyon, Texas, Jewel of the Texas Pan Handle!

"This Texas State Park is 120 miles long, as much as 20 miles wide and a depth of 800 feet. It is the second largest in the United States behind the Grand Canyon, which is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and a depth of 6,000 feet. The Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River carved Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

It has a long way to go to catch up with Grand Canyon, but it is certainly making some headway. It was named Palo Duro meaning "hard wood", because the early Spanish settlers noticed the abundance of mesquite and juniper trees in the area. It is truly a beautiful spot with colorful linear lines passing over the land, while being outlined by the trees of many years ago. Any geologist or enthusiast will find a home here."

Now, is this your idea of Texas?   I didn't think so.

Capitol Peak-Palo Duro

"Two of the more distinctive features in Palo Duro Canyon are Capitol Peak and Lighthouse Peak . Lighthouse Peak can only be reached by a hiking trail if your desire is to see this very remarkable formation close-up."

Notice the flat top of the canyon walls - Roads leading down into the canyon * Photo by Peggy W
Notice the flat top of the canyon walls - Roads leading down into the canyon

Lighthouse formation


I think Jo and Fred Wishnie describe their feelings about it so well:  http://www.mytripjournal.com/travel-549471 
"We finally made it back to Palo Duro Canyon, a place I have loved ever since we stayed here our first year out.

We often have conversations with people we meet, who after learning we live in our RV and have been to 47 of the "lower 48" states plus Alaska, will ask "So what's been your favorite place?"
We pretty much answer in unison, Alaska! It would be hard not to have that be the answer, as anyone who has ever been there will know.    Sure, Yellowstone National Park and Yosemite N.P. come right after that.

But pretty shortly the next place that comes to mind is Palo Duro Canyon. It is one of those special places that is hard to describe. Magical is the word that comes to mind. We spent our first Thanksgiving on the road here in November 2006. I wondered how it would feel the second time.

So how does it feel, this second time? Naturally, as the old Sade song goes, it's never as good as the first time. But I have to tell you, it's pretty darn close. It is still magical to me, and I think it will always be."  Jo Wishnie.

Other blog descriptions:image




History of the Area:
"Man has inhabited Palo Duro Canyon for approximately 12,000 years. The Clovis and Folsom people first resided in the canyon and hunted large herds of mammoth and giant bison. Later on, other cultures such as the Apaches, Comanches, and Kiowas utilized the canyon's abundant resources.

Early Spanish Explorers are believed to have discovered the area and dubbed the canyon "Palo Duro" which is Spanish for "hard wood" in reference to the abundant mesquite and juniper trees. However, an American did not officially discover the canyon until 1852 when Captain Marcy ventured into the area while searching for the headwaters of the Red River.

In 1874, Palo Duro Canyon was a battle site during the Red River Wars. Col. Mackenzie, under orders from the US Government, apprehended the Native Americans residing in the canyon by first capturing 1,400 horses and then later destroying the majority of the herd. Unable to escape, the Native Americans surrendered and were transported to reservations in Oklahoma. Then, from 1876 until 1890, most of the canyon belonged to the J.A. Ranch and was operated by Col. Charles Goodnight.

On September 28, 1874, Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie at the head of the Fourth U.S. Cavalry attacked and destroyed a large Indian encampment in Palo Duro Canyon. Mackenzie’s troopers formed part of the Red River Campaign of 1874 - 75, which saw no less than six military columns placed in the field (in a bid) to force Kiowas, Cheyennes, and Comanches to return to the reservations. On the 28th, Mackenzie’s scouts followed the Indian trail to the edge of Palo Duro Canyon. The soldiers descended the steep slopes to the valley floor 700 feet below.

Taken by surprise, the Indians abandoned their villages, allowing Mackenzie to capture more than 1,100 horses that were later slaughtered to prevent recapture. Although few Indians or soldiers were killed, the unrelenting pursuit of the troopers and the cold weather ultimately forced the Indians to surrender, thus bringing to a close the Red River War. Part of the battlefield is located within Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

"This was almost a bloodless battle except for the carnage of the horses. Only 4 Indians were killed and no cavalry soldiers died. But left without their horses, camp and supplies, the Indians finally gave up and went back to their reservations at Fort Reno and Fort Sill. So the battle was successful from the viewpoint of the U.S. government.

"Not our proudest moment in terms of how the Native Indians were treated in this author's opinion."

Activities: Park activities include camping, horseback riding, hiking, nature study, bird watching, mountain biking, and scenic drives.

While in the park, stop by and enjoy our Visitor Center located on the Canyon Rim. This rustic native stone building was constructed by the CCC in 1934 and houses a Museum and Museum Store. The store is located in the Visitor Center and features books, pottery, jewelry, and educational items pertaining to the Canyon."
More about Palo Duro at: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/palo_duro/
and   http://www.destination360.com/north-america/us/texas/palo-duro-canyon-state-park

Texas Legacies, For more information, go to the Texas Legacies web site.
TEXAS Musical Drama in Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Fireworks!There is a musical production that is performed every evening during the summer.  The musical is part Texas history and the 5 Diamonds Ranch history.    The musical is performed in the park in a special outdoor amphitheater.  The backdrop for the stage is the Palo Duro Canyon walls itself.  True Texans will find the musical more moving than a trip to the Alamo in San Antonio.
See the Intro Video

lone horseman
A LONE HORSEMAN, carrying the flag of the great state of Texas appears atop a 600 foot cliff, signaling the beginning of the most spectacular outdoor musical drama in the world. With a burst of fireworks and a moving swell of the music, the horseman gallops away. Suddenly, a cast of more than 60 actors, singers and dancers takes the stage to kick off the show that millions of fans from all around the world have come to see.

Only a state as big as Texas could host a show as big as TEXAS!
THE BEAUTIFUL PIONEER AMPHITHEATRE, carved out of and nestled into a natural basin in the majestic Palo Duro Canyon-the nation’s second largest canyon-comes alive once again with the Official Play of the State of Texas. http://hubpages.com/hub/State-Park-in-Texas-Palo-Duro-Canyon-Dramatic-Attraction

The 43rd anniversary season will run Tuesday through Sunday from June 4 to August 20, 2011.

Tickets are available on-line, by phone at (806) 655-2181, and at the TEXAS Office in Canyon on the Square at 1514 5th Avenue in the nearby town of Canyon.


Big Map

Palo Duro Canyon is over 600 miles from me, so it isn't somewhere that I can just drive over to see!


Today, well, early this morning:

I could see flashes of lightening in the distance when I took the dogs out for their 'last call', last night, then power went out about 1.00AM.  That woke me up, as I am not used to sleeping in total quiet and dark.

I could hear thunder, and we got a few drops of rain.  When the power was restored, for some reason, my computer, which was off at the time, came on.  So I was going to turn it off, but got sidetracked looking at some emails.  The rain had quit, but a little while later the power went off again, and I saw some emergency vehicles going down the road.  So someone was getting some bad weather down the line.

I thought I had better get this published now, as there is no knowing what will be happen later today.


Dizzy-Dick said...

It just rained enough here to dampen the very top layer of dust.

A couple of newer paintings 2019 said...

I loved Palo Duro Canyon. I even liked it better than the Grand Canyon but when we were at the Grand Canyon it was cold. We had driven there from the Sedona area as it was too cold to stay in the RV there. Gordon hiked to the Lighthouse in Palo Duro but I wimped out. I sure do love those red rocks!

pidge said...

I have already put Palo Duro Canyon on our bucket list. We usually visit the lower parts of Texas, but this will make a great place to stop on our way south next year. Great pictures and video today. I love Texas.... :)