Several months ago, Palo Duro State Park was plunked into the itinerary, with no clear idea of the majesty on display here. It was just a convenient TX state park on the way to Amarillo. Turns out it is one of the best hiking parks in the state, a rainbow of many-colored rocks on display across 250 million years of erosion. Ochre, burgundy, verdigris green, carrot orange, deep chestnut brown, lavender, burnt umber, charcoal black, and smoky white rocks and packed earth delight the eyes. The canyon is composed of claystone, gypsum, mudstone, sand, silt and caliche (a calcium carbonate rock), with tumbled quartz, selenite, celestite, malachite and agates thrown in for good measure. No rock-harvesting allowed, though, and it’s a good thing. The beauty is left for viewing by generations to come.
We hiked about seven miles today through the Rock Garden Trail, at the rim and deep down through the canyon. Can’t get enough of the views, and we have to admit, late afternoon is our favorite time for views, when the light is golden and the shadows are long. Unforgettable. But once again, the WINDS blowing in west Texas are crazy!! The memories of grit in our teeth will stay with us forever.