If I told you our recent outing to Palo Duro Canyon resulted in scraped knees, a sprained ankle, an attack of wind and sand, car trouble and temps in the 100’s you might be left with the impression it wasn’t a very good day. But, take my word for it, it was. Surrounding those mishaps was time spent together hiking, exploring, eating, watching wildlife and a great musical.
When we arrived, our first stop, before going down into the canyon, was at the scenic overlook. Rugged, simple, beautiful – that seems an apt description of the view. Everyone enjoyed the scenery, the visitor center/gift shop and even took this first opportunity to meander down some paths and explore some old ruins.
The sun was hot but soon, cloud cover moved in and provided a welcome respite. With the clouds came a few rumbles of thunder and we searched the sky to see which way things were moving but, weren’t overly concerned since it seemed to be moving away from us. We had been there for 15-20 minutes when I took the grandbaby, Colette, and stood on the path to admire the view. Suddenly and without warning, a gust of wind whipped the hat right off of her head. It landed just over the side and got caught on a small branch but, between juggling her and the ‘big’ camera I wasn’t sure how to retrieve it. That predicament was short-lived and ended up being the least of my problems because just a few seconds later the wind became ferocious and big, fat drops of rain began to pelt us. Trying to run – into the wind – we were assaulted with grains of sand while getting drenched. Trying to shield the baby and the camera from the rain and sand I finally made it back to the car where, luckily, the door was unlocked. Meanwhile, in haste to seek shelter five-year-old Gianna fell and skinned up both of her knees. Two minutes and two band-aids later all was calm again, and the brief storm both Mother Nature and Gianna unleashed had passed. The camera and Colette – baffled by the commotion and Nana’s antics – were fine.
As the saying goes here in the Lone Star State, “If you don’t like the weather wait 5 minutes and it will change.”
Just like that, the sun came back out and we decided it was time to move on. We gave the teenagers, Patrick and Ben, a moment to alert their peeps that, once in the canyon, there would be little to no cell service. The
anticipation anxiety of being cut off from social media required some deep breathing on their part but after a moment they too recovered and we began to make our way down.
At the bottom, it was HOT – about 111 degrees – with very little shade. Meandering the two-lane road we kept the a/c in the car on full blast while we took in all of the rugged beauty. Undaunted by the heat, we got out and braved the high temperatures to hike, play and explore. And, drink lots of water.
Our first stop was to look at some rustic cabins that we hadn’t seen on previous trips. We marveled at the Cow Camp Cabins and the man who, in the distance and in the oppressive heat, sat with his easel painting.
Unfortunately, Ben stepped off the side of the asphalt wrong and twisted his foot. Immediately, it swelled up but since we had coolers filled with ice and drinks we were able to get a nice cold-pack on it quickly. It was sore and swollen for the rest of that afternoon and evening, but the park hosts provided us with an ace bandage and that, along with ibuprofen and ice, kept the discomfort to a minimum.
Moving on we discovered a cave in the side of the hill so all of us (except Ben and Granny) jumped out to explore it. The pictures tell the story better than I can.
Following that fun, albeit hot and steamy hike we stumbled across a surprise snow-cone stand. Without a second thought, we overpaid for the luxury of cold, refreshing flavored ice and enjoyed it in the only spot of shade around.
Days like this make me feel like I’m the luckiest person on earth and I’m very thankful to God for the opportunity to have these adventures. I love my family and I love spending time with them. Even though we were missing several members we had fun with those who could be there. $$-wise we didn’t spend a whole lot of money but the memories we made – priceless.
I hope this summer you find fun, too. Even when things don’t go absolutely perfectly.
To all the father’s out there – have a very Happy Day! And may God bless you and your families.