A nice start to the day at Lower Mazinaw Lake, Ontario, Canada.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Reuniting with Max in Germany on October 1st.

Monday, April 16, 2018

From one state park to the next...

We woke up at Caprock Canyons State Park, and went to sleep last night in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Yes, making as much use of our Texas State Parks pass as possible.

We didn't have a cell signal at the campsite at Caprock Canyons, so we drove over to the interpretive building where they have free wifi. But as with most campgrounds, the public wifi is either not good to begin with, or if more than two or three people are using it, it's almost not usable. But, from that location I managed two bars of Verizon signal, so between the two managed to get the blog posted yesterday and some internet work done.

As we were sitting there, we saw some movement out the side window of the motorhome...

A bison

And then more... and even a baby.

They passed right in front of the motorhome.

And off they go.

They are such funny looking animals. And big! An adult male can weight 2,000 pounds. That's the weight of a small car. They may look tame, but these are wild animals.

It was just after 10:30am when we finished up and went for a hike to the natural bridge. There was no roundtrip option unless we came back on the road, so that's what we did. There is another hiking trail we wanted to do, but the road to the trailhead includes a 16 degree incline, and I decided that was too much for Sherman. We could have ridden our bikes over there (and walked them up the hill), but it would have been a long hike. It can wait until next time.

Ruth, admiring the view.

Scenery along the way.

From a distance, the rocks look like a road and bridges!

Interesting rocks.

Kevin, on the trail.

Ruth on the trail!

Where we came from.

The "natural bridge" was a bit of a let down. 
More of a tunnel than anything, and part of it was collapsed.

Caprock is a funny type of rock. These types of formations are throughout the park. It's like a kind of quartz, yet it's crumbly.

Ruth coming up the 16 degree hill. It doesn't look as steep in the picture, but it was.

So we got to the top of the hill, and there coming out of the brush was a big male bison. We were probably 30 yards away, and they say not to get any closer than 50 yards. He looked at us and snorted, but the tail stayed down. When the tail raises, it means they are agitated and could charge. You've heard the saying "high tailed it outta here"? That's from the early settlers to this region who knew that if the tail was high, you wanted to get away.

Where there's one...

There's another!

We headed into the brush on the right side of the road and took a wide berth. They turned around and stared at us, but never moved towards us. They are so big when you're up close to them on foot!

What are you lookin' at?

Cute face!

We had done 7.6 kms (4.7 miles), so not a bad workout with some great scenery.

We got on the road towards Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

More bison at the visitors center parking lot. 
Not sure how these people will get back to their vehicles!

Not much scenery for the drive. Kind of reminded us of driving across Saskatchewan on the Trans Canada highway!

We stopped in the town of Tulia and had some lunch. 
Not much going on, on a Sunday afternoon!

As we got close to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, traffic was picking up. Getting into the park, there was a line up at the entrance. We were surprised by this because it was just after 4:00pm, and on a Sunday you would figure there wouldn't be many people coming in.

But, this is a busy and popular park. Their campsites are full most weekends, year round. In fact, the girl told me we were lucky to get a site last night. We were able to book for two nights and we used the last of our "half off the second night" coupons that came with our annual pass. The rule here is that if your vehicle can accept water and electric hookups, you have to be put in a  water and electric site. I can understand that rule in a busy park like this. 

So, we ended up paying $36 USD ($46.80 CAD) for the two nights. It's a pretty scenic area with some great hiking, so we don't mind splurging every now and again.

The road leading down to the canyon. 
It's only a 10% grade. Steep, but Sherman can handle that.

 Sherman, in his campsite. 
We lucked out with a view.

Our backyard.

Ruth, relaxing with a book.

Lots of turkeys around.

And some deer.

When I checked us in, we were told there was no cell signal, and no standard TV reception in the canyon. So I was surprised when I checked my phone and saw a data signal that varied between zero and one bars. And this was with our Mexican Telcel SIM card, picking up an AT&T signal. It actually works not bad, although it took about an hour to upload all those pictures for you this morning! I don't get any signal on our Verizon device though.

Yesterday's drive, 94 miles (150 kms).

We're off to do a hike. It's rated "difficult", so there should be some great photo opportunities. Gotta get going before it gets too warm, they're calling for 88F (31C), but not getting up that high until late afternoon.

A variety of top quality Klymit sleeping bags and pads are on deal of the day...

And in Canada...


  1. What a pretty area! You are right...don't want to mess with the bison. I'm always amazed at the people who think they can safely approach them (or never give it a thought). I've seen some pretty scary scenarios in Yellowstone where they have warning signs all over and people still go walking up to them. I am noticing the empty towns. They seem so sad. Enjoy your hike!

    1. It is a pretty area for the most part but there were still parts that weren't so exciting scenery wise.. The park itself is beautiful though and we wouldn't hesitate to go back for another visit and more hiking whenever we happen to be in the area again.

      Yes, it amazes us also about how some people just don't recognized the danger that they could put themselves into or even the animal for that matter.

      Yes, some of the towns aren't doing at that well but others are really making an effort to attract tourists. We did go through a few really cute little places.

  2. It's good to know Sherman's limitations, I can imagine the situation had you gone for that hill not knowing. It looks like a nice day for a hike.

    1. Yes it is and it is possible that Sherman could have done it but when you don't have an alternative way out or a place to turn around, it is just safer to avoid the situation all together.

  3. Palo Duro Canyon is pretty, but I have to snicker a bit when they proudly say it's the second biggest canyon in the continental US. It might be 5% of the Grand Canyon.

    1. It is a gorgeous canyon and quite large but having been to the Grand Canyon it definitely not even comparable in size.

  4. Another nice campground and more wonderful scenery.

    1. We are enjoying these Texas State Parks, if we hadn't gotten the pass we would have missed some beautiful places.

  5. I encountered my first herd of bison at Custer State Park in South Dakota 15 years ago. Foolishly inched my truck down a dirt road and forced the herd to move aside lol. With the windows down no less! There was much snorting. Puts new meaning to the phrase "seeing eye to eye"! I'm wiser now :)

    1. I would feel safer doing that in a car than trying to walk by them foolishly though. Glad you are wiser now! ;-)

  6. We were hiking in Palo Duro a couple of years ago and I stumbled and went down...and my Ipad went over the edge, about eight feet down a steep hill. Too steep for us to retreive and I was bleeding a fair bit so we left it and went to get me bandaged up. A couple of days later we were travelling through New Mexico and the phone rings. A guy saw the Ipad and retreived it for us and wanted to send it back to us...and get this he was part of a travelling polka band fro Ohio. He mailed it to our address in Alberta and our friends brought it to Mexico for us as we were spending the winter there. No fond memories of the hike but the story is fun to tell

    1. Wow, what a great story, except to the part of you falling down and hurting yourself. It is nice to know that there are still have lots of good people around. :-)

  7. We loved that park! Went back a couple of times and had a lot of fun on our mountain bikes. There used to be a few older long horn cattle up by the park entrance.

    1. Yep, we will be back here again some day and hopefully have a little more time on our hands and some nice mountain bikes! :-)

      Didn't see any longhorns when we came in the other day but we will keep our eyes open on the way out.

  8. Very interesting story about the ipad! Who knew! Heh?
    We ran into a huge herd of bison crossing the road when we were up in the Yukon...we kept our windows shut and inched our way forward....yeah..you definitely see eye to eye with these big guys!
    Beautiful campsites and scenery! Nice views and pics of the hikes. Those red rocks, mountains and trails look similar to the scenery in Sedona, Ariz. Safe travels.

    1. I still remember waking up to a herd of them around the motorhome just outside of West Yellowstone a couple of years ago. No way we were stepping out of the motorhome.

      The rock formations and colour are beautiful for sure but I still think that Sedona is slightly better but it has way too many people there, it is much quieter here. :-)

  9. Seems like a very scenic area. I enjoy seeing bison in the "wild". I'm often amazed at how many people don't believe they can be very dangerous. I saw people doing really dumb things around them in Yellowstone.

    1. Certain parts of the area are very scenic like the canyons but the drive in between the two canyons wasn't so scenic.

      I still remember the story from two years ago I think, where a couple of foreign tourists put the baby bison in their car because they thought it was cold and alone. That is probably one of the craziest stories I have heard, yep some people just have no idea!


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