CAPROCK CANYONS STATE PARK
If you love the outdoors, you are GONNA LOVE THIS PLACE! No matter where you live, you are going to drive and drive and drive just to get to the entrance of this park. While you're putting all that mileage on your vehicle you're thinking, "Where in blazes is this place?" Well, let me tell you, it's a long way from any place but Turkey, Texas. As you drive these many miles of "not a lot" you can't help but wonder what kind of a park can this be...no trees, no flowers, just lots and lots of flat land as far as the eye can see.
You arrive in the little town of Quitaque, Texas, turn at the sign that says CAPROCK CANYONS STATE PARK and keep driving for a mile or so. Then, there's the gate. You drive through and you are still thinking to yourself, "Was there a reason we chose to come here? Who talked us into this?" Just about the time those thoughts pass from your mind, you see it, beautiful red rock canyons and rock formations. Oh, it takes your breath away. And now you're thinking, "I can't wait to tell my camping buddies about this place!" Just wait. The best is yet to come...the peace, the quiet, the stars that you feel like you can reach up and grab, and the total absence of any city lights. Oh, My! This is NICE!
We found Caprock Canyons by accident. We had been to Gruver, Texas (in the very top of the Panhandle) to the funeral of a family member. On the way home we had time to spare so we decided to take the route that was designated "scenic" on our Texas map. That was Hwy 207 right straight out of Gruver. Now, it takes a long time to drive that highway until you get to the designated "scenic" part of the map. Even after you get to that part of the map you are wondering if maybe the map maker didn't make a mistake in labeling this area. We drove and drove and occasionally I would say, "Oh, Skip, Look! Way out there on the horizon...there's a windmill!" And of course we saw a few cattle and acres and acres of land with great irrigation sprinklers covering them. But the main sight was the horizon where the blue of the sky met the brown, and sometimes green, of the land. As we were laughing about how scenic this route was, the earth suddenly opened up in front of us. It was amazing. It was breathtaking. It is hard to describe. An author named Henry Chappell once labeled it as "Mountains Beneath the Plains."
That's what it is. Deep canyons with pinnacles rising to the top of and sometimes above the highway. And, the highway dipped and curved and ascended and was totally "scenic." We were not disappointed. We continued along this path, pulling over at ever possible point so we could enjoy this beautiful, stark landscape knowing that it would soon end and we would be back to the flat plains of Texas. It did end. And, about the time it ended, Hwy 207 ended and we turned left on Hwy 656 toward the little town of Quitaque. When we reached Quitaque it was getting late but we saw a sign for Caprock Canyons State Park. Being the State Park lovers that we are we decided to check it out even though we didn't have our camper with us. We were not too excited, it didn't look too special, but then like I said before, it hit us! It was late afternoon and the sun was shining on these spectacular red rock formations, painting them a beautiful warm orange as only the setting sun can do in that special time before it disappears. As we dipped down into the valleys and climbed the inclines we were amazed. The road through the park is only about six or seven miles long, but it was a beautiful six or seven miles that was heavily populated by white tail deer. We were only there for a little while but we declared that we would be back soon, and we were going to bring the family. And that we did. We came back for Spring Break. That foray will be described in my next blog. In the meantime, get out your map and find Caprock Canyons 'cause you're going to want to go there. See you in a day or two.