Today, me and the other two pastors hit up Palo Duro Canyon and took on a new trail. The CCC trail.
This was my first trip to the canyon in a few months, and I really wanted to loosen up and see something fun. This trail was listed as difficult, and in 1.43 miles it packs a serious punch.
The terrain was a combination of rocky, sandy, and gravelly. The luna sandals were out, and cactus kept trying to attack my feet. It wasn’t all that hard, and the views were spectacular and quite a bit different from any of the other trails we’d gone down.
It starts up at the visitors center/museum/shop, but there are a couple of other entry points: the amphitheater and a little pull off on the way down into the canyon. We started off at the pull off and went down into the canyon to start with.
The trail follows a ridge of a finger off the wall of the canyon and overlooks two different parts of the canyon, one with the Pioneer Center and the Amphitheater and the other of an undeveloped stretch of canyon. The Amphitheater hosts the play Texas and the there is a point where a horse appears on a prominence of the ridge we were on, and there is a fork in the trail to go on to that prominence or down to the amphitheater.
We clearly took the ridge line.
This is where the cacti were the thickest right up until the bald patches right by the prominence. Here the back ground fog gave us an ambient light that brought out the colors of the spanish skirts along the sides of the canyon.
We headed down the rest of the way to the amphitheater, and ran into a couple training for a trek into the Grand Canyon. They offered us some fruit – but we’d all just eaten breakfast. It’s amazing to meet generous people along the trail, but we all had enough food for the moment.
Heading back up got the blood pumping.
Despite the steep climb we made it back up pretty quick and decided at our turn off to head to the nature center/visitor center at the top of the hill about 3/4 of a mile away on up the side of the canyon.
The visitor center had some nice places to sit and eat our snack, and the museum offered quite the collection of stories and artifacts surrounding the history of the canyon along side some fairly easy going accounts of the geography and geology.
We headed back to the car flying down hill and stopping to look at parts of the canyon wall that had cracked and peeled off to fall into the canyon. The pieces of sand, mud, and stone had no erosion or vegetation on them like the older pieces around them. It made us a little more weary of the prominence we were standing on.
It’s probably the shortest hike we’d ever been on out at the canyon, but the views and the company were good. Unfortunately, my phone was out of juice – no pictures until the next trip.