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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Palo Duro Canyon


Palo Duro Canyon is the most expansive Canyon in the United States that is not the Grand Canyon. You can actually drive through the canyon as well which is quite incredible. The canyon spans 120 miles, goes up to about 900 feet in depth, and is full of wonderful sights and things to see.

when we started our day, we first drove into the canyon a little bit, taking pictures off the side. We met several lovely couples, including some that came from England, and found ourselves striking up conversations with all kinds of locals. After a traffic detour had cleared up, we descended ino the canyon, stopping for pictures and sights to see many times. amongst these were a wildlife blind, a rather large cave, a cowboy dugout, a rock garden, and a hike.

in the 98°F weather, we hiked a 3 mile, 1.5 hour hike to the Lighthouse rock, which was used as a lookout for Native Americans during the government conflict in 1874. The Comanche, Cheyenne, and Kiowa tribes fought against the US Cavalry. It was another genocide brushed under the carpet of history. When we made it, we jumped for joy, as it was one of our hardest hikes yet. I then went on to climb the lighthouse rock, tapping out all of my energy stores and ridge-running for the very first time in my life.

At the lighthouse rock!
Returning from the canyon was arduous, as visibility was low. it still, however, marked one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. If you ever find yourself in the vicinity of the Texas panhandle (no-man's-land), you must visit the canyon. $5 for entry and a lifetime of memories.

We even stopped at Cadillac Ranch on the way back down to Dallas!



Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Into the Desert


My second day in Texas involved an early start and lots of coffee. We then drove through 345 miles of plains and bible-belt towns to get to the stovetop hat/ panhandle, where we were to hike Palo Duro Canyon. we were most excited for the 80 foot ravine and 800 foot deep cliffside.

But before we departed, we stopped at a mall and saw this wierd thing.
Palo Duro, Spanish for hard wood, is 120 miles long and between 8 and 30 feet wide. There is also 30 miles of hiking trails and over a thousand acres of horseback trails, and it is the second largest canyon in the country. this is where we spent several stifling hours in the sun, which shall be detailed out in another post.

Driving to the canyon, we saw many windmills, oil rigs, and small towns, as they were placed for energy efficiency. after all, with all of that open land, something had to be done with it. aside from the slight road contour and occasional things to see, Texas was mostly hot, flat, and arid in the part i was at.

First Glimpse of the Desert in my life!
About halfway there, after passing through a small town, whilst phoning a friend, we were pulled over whilst going the speed of traffic around us to get handed a speeding ticket. It was likely because we had a temporary license plate. In small towns, the sherriffs have nothing better to do. Ironically enough, cars were going well over 90 miles per hour around us, yet we were the ones to be pulled.

We settled into Amarillo late at night, at a Marriott courtyard, where we got a great view of the city late at night. although 200,000 people or so live here, it was a ghost town at 10pm, a glowing gem visible for several miles in the desert. it was also on this trip that I experienced my first Waffle House adventure, with very interesting assortment of Staff members, Smoke Filled Room, Bacon fat was given to a customer with way too much grease, and bugs on the countertop that crawled on my friends food that was cold. However, in spite of all of this, I would still end up eating every last delicious bit of food after a long day of hiking. And so was the end of another day.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Down to Texas, On My Own


I am not a morning person, nor will I ever be. However, there's nothing quite as incredible as watching the morning sunrise on the beginning of a beautiful day on a beautiful trip. Groggily, I woke up at 5 a.m. after proximity four and a half hours of sleep, ate some morning granola, grabbed some frozen coffee from the local gas station, and headed to the local airport for a departure for Dallas Texas.

This was my first airport excursion that I took completely on my own. No companions to travel with, nobody to talk to; just me and my wits. Although anxious throughout the parking and airport ordeals, I made it nonetheless. My Neuroticism didn't quite take the mickey of me this day, even with the security setback of forgetting that my card knife was still in my wallet.

I skimmed a few books in the airport store, absorbing ideas for forest therapy, meditation, successful mindset establishment, and how to wander from society. All of these ideas appealed to me quite a lot. I ordered and chuhged a Starbucks pink drink, then boarded the plane.

There were two women in front of me at Starbucks, and they also happened to be my seatmates. Our interactions were limited, as I am not fluent in French. However, our brief conversations were still incredibly enjoyable, as I learned that they were from Cameroon originally and had moved to Maryland from there. On Spirit Airlines, when I bought a coffee, i was told that I could get more than one cup of coffee for no extra cost. So of course, that's exactly what I did. The two bathrooms in the back were also actually incredibly spacious as well.

One short flight later, I was as far South and West as I may have ever been - DFW airport in Texas. It was a 75°F and windy kind of day in the middle of May, and I would be staying for 5 days with my best friend from Elementary school up. We packed my bags into his car and departed for a short tour of the city. 

McKinley Avenue

Reunion Tower.


I will go into more detail in days to come, as there is so much to see and do down here just walking around. Great pizza, beautiful people, gas station horchata, and two huge malls, as well as lots of museums that shall be visited in days to come.