We stepped out of our tent the next morning into a world of impossible colors. Nature seriously cranked the saturation up to 11 that day. The sky was so intensely blue that the horizons looked like bad photoshops.
This “hoodoo” is one of the first notable rock formations you see on the iconic Lighthouse Trail. To me it looks like a muppet wearing sunglasses:
Lighthouse is an easier and more pleasant hike than Rock Garden, and has a much better payoff at the end.
The mapped trail officially ends at a small clearing with a picnic table and a bike rack, some distance from the eponymous rock formation. From there, a few desire paths lead up from the clearing to the Lighthouse itself. This time we had accounted for the dry desert air and brought extra water, so we chose a path and kept climbing. This ended up being my favorite part of the whole trip.
You can go a bit higher here and get some great views of the canyon.
When we were ready to go back down we took a different, more direct path than the one we had come up on.
We reconnected with Lighthouse trail at the clearing and backtracked to the trailhead.
The only thing left on our Palo Duro to-do list was the Cave.
It’s not deep, but it’s a world of fun to climb around on.
Once we’d worn ourselves out at the Cave, we treated ourselves to a surprisingly fresh and tasty supper of burgers, fries, onion rings and root beer floats at the park Trading Post. Then we returned to our campsite and called it a day.
We woke up early the next morning, broke camp…
…and drove back up into the flatlands.
On the way home we got to see all the scenery that we had missed during our night-time drive out to the canyon. Still mostly just corn, cotton, cows and wind turbines, though. Our next home has to have mountains. We are not flatland people.
Since I’m apparently blogging again, I might post a few of my favorite Austin pics from the past year. Or maybe not; this might be my last post for another year, who knows. I’ll leave you with a few lines from Cohen’s “Anthem,” which is basically my theme song these days:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
That’s how the light gets in.