Tag Archives: Caprock Canyons State Park

Facing down an RV demon


This is the latest in an occasional series of blog posts commenting on upcoming retirement.

Yes, I have demons. We all do … I believe.

One of my demons involves the recreational vehicle my wife and I own, which is a 28-foot fifth wheel we pull behind our three-quarter-ton pickup.

On our most recent trip, I managed to face down my RV demon.

We went to Caprock Canyons State Park, which is about a 90-minute drive southeast of Amarillo. It’s a beautiful park, with rugged back country that one must see to believe.

It has several very nice campsites.

They’re all back-in sites. No pull-through sites. When we made our reservation at the state park, I asked perhaps three times whether there were any pull-through sites. “No sir,” came the reply. “They’re all back-ins.”

All righty, then. We’ll do it.


So, we went to Caprock Canyons. We arrived at the park gate, said “hey” to a group of bison grazing near the office, and then drove to our site at the Honey Flats camping area.

We pulled the RV to the site, then positioned the truck and the fifth wheel in a fairly straight alignment with the site. I surely understand the principle of backing a vehicle up with another one hitched to the rear: you turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction of where you want to turn the attached vehicle.

I backed the rig up. No sweat.

OK, truth be told, I had done this once before. We drove to an RV resort in Mesa, Ariz., a year ago, where we hooked up with my sister and brother-in-law. It, too, only had back-in sites. I managed — after considerable grief and perspiration — to get the vehicle backed into the site. I had considerable navigational help from my wife, sis and bro-in-law.

After backing in, I was exhausted. Pooped, man.

This time, at Caprock Canyons, the ordeal was far less stressful.

For that I am grateful. I haven’t conquered the demon just yet.

However, it’s on the ropes.

We plan to knock the RV demon out soon enough.

Back country keeps calling


This is the latest in an occasional series of blog posts commenting on upcoming retirement.

Four nights in one of Texas’s great natural wonders whetted my appetite for more of the same.

I was intrigued by what my wife and I saw as we took off on our morning hikes through some glorious back country in Caprock Canyons State Park, comprising more than 15,300 acres just about three miles north of Quitaque, Texas.

We chose to hike in the morning before it got too blasted hot. The temperatures were at or near 100 degrees almost every day we were camped out.

But we’d set out from a selected trail head and trudge along toward the red rock cliffs before us. They were a gorgeous site. As we got farther from the road, I was struck by the remoteness I would feel.

It was a wonderful feeling, knowing that we were “away from it all,” it only for a few days.

Caprock Canyons isn’t exactly at the end of the world. It just seemed that way for the four nights we parked our fifth wheel at the Honey Flats campsite.

We were told by Texas Parks & Wildlife rangers that bison were known to roam through that site. We didn’t see any out there. We did see several of the glorious beasts grazing in pasture just off the road that courses through the park.

What lies ahead for us as we move toward full-time retirement?

I hope more of the same. Since we live in an expansive and magnificent continent, I’m quite confident we’ll find it out there.

Perhaps by the time we have made the transition fully I will learn to accept the feeling of remoteness as the “new normal.”

Trash: Biggest pet peeve in the world


CAPROCK CANYONS STATE PARK, Texas — What is wrong with this picture?

Time’s up!

It’s that empty water bottle someone must’ve tossed aside while walking along the Canyon Rim Trail.

This might rank among the top three pet peeves of my life; the other two might be the sight of someone talking/texting while driving a motor vehicle and someone talking too loudly on a cell phone while sitting in a public place with other people who have zero interest in hearing about the person’s big-money business transaction.

I have done my share of griping about Texas state government during my 30-plus years living here. The state too often seems run by partisan morons who cannot seem to get it into their thick skulls that they represent all Texans, not just those who voted for their election to whatever public office they hold.

Texas government, though, does a lot of things right. One of them is the development and maintenance of its state park system.

I’m telling you, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department runs a first-rate state park network.

Caprock Canyons State Park, just outside Quitaque, is one of the jewels.

So, what did we see this afternoon while along the Canyon Rim Trail? That damn empty water bottle.

Earlier in the day, my wife went through our campsite and police it of myriad articles of trash that others had tossed aside. They just couldn’t bring themselves to walk a short distance to the nearest Dumpster.

The water bottle tossed along the rim of the canyon reminded me of a series of roadside signs my wife and I see as we drive southeast along U.S. 287. Just as you enter Estelline in Hall County, you cross a riverbed and the signs read, in order: Real Texans … don’t litter … Texas highways.

Hmm. One might hope that “real human beings” wouldn’t want to litter one of Mother Nature’s true gifts to us … which looks like something like this.



Where the buffalo roam


CAPROCK CANYONS STATE PARK, Texas — The fictional Army colonel Sherman T. Potter used to exclaim “buffalo bagels!” when he suspected someone was feeding a line of baloney.

Well, we ventured today where one can find plenty of such commodities.

Caprock Canyons State Park is home to a large herd of American bison, bequeathed to the state of Texas by the heirs of the legendary J.A. Ranch.

We came here once many years ago, not long after the bison took up residence at the state park. They were penned in and, frankly, were a bit hard to see from the road.

Not today.

These days they have the run of the park. I’ve heard from state park officials over the years that the herd is doing well. We saw several dozen of the beasts as we drove through the park.

A cluster of bison greeted us — more or less — as we entered the state park after driving here from Amarillo.

We were certain to look at the signage near the park entrance. They warned us that the animals are “wild,” and that one shouldn’t approach or surround them. I guess the beasts get a bit spooked, so who am I face down an animal as ornery and strong as that?

Caprock Canyons State Park happens to one of those Texas Panhandle treasures one doesn’t hear that much about. When we in Amarillo talk about the sights to see in our part of the world, we usually refer to that other canyon, Palo Duro, which we call Texas’s version of the Grand Canyon.

Yes, it’s gorgeous.

So are the cliffs and draws that give Caprock Canyons State Park that special charm.