It's the second largest canyon in the United States, but it's not really like the Grand Canyon. Nothing compares to the Grand Canyon.
Notwithstanding the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, the Palo Duro Canyon is still a great park to explore. And it's only about 20 miles from our house!
Our plan was to spend about 2 hours in the canyon hiking and exploring, but the kids had such a good time that we ended up staying for 3 hours.
Obligatory Photo of the Park Map, In Case We Get Lost
(There is ZERO cell service in the canyon. It's really a wilderness.)
Pre-Hiking Photo Op on the Rim
When we first moved to Amarillo, some new friends were telling us how much they love the Canyon, and encouraged us to go as soon as possible. But then they warned us to be careful. You see, people die of dehydration all the time. I guess at the end of the last school year, a bunch of kids went to the canyon for senior skip day, and one of the most popular girls in school died because they didn't take enough water. Urban legend? I have no idea. But, hearing that story was enough to freak the kids way out. So, in order to make them comfortable, and also to provide them with the water that they would need and so that I would not have to carry it for them, we bought them both Camelbaks. It was the greatest idea ever! Connor's backpack holds 70 oz of water, and Lex's, which is slightly smaller, holds 50 oz.
The boys were in love with the idea of hiking and climbing.
You guys. When I found this video on the camera, I giggled.
A shot of the Lighthouse Rock from the canyon rim. This great rock formation is at the end of a two-mile trail, which makes it a four-mile hike. We'll make it there someday, but we didn't even try on this day.
Our first order of business after we drove down into the canyon was to stop here for some World Famous Burgers.
This kid is getting ready to lose more teeth. His top teeth are moving around and making it hard for him to eat. This might be one of the last photos of him with both top front teeth.
The boys were obsessed with finding the perfect sticks to make into walking sticks. Eventually, they both succeeded. They were thrilled.
This was my favorite tree that we saw on our explorations.
Kevin crossing the stream.
Connor crossing the stream.
We found a horned lizard. There were many other things that skittered away from us as we were walking, but this is the only animal we got a good shot of. The snakes and tarantulas were a deciding factor when we decided to wear our boots on our hike. We also saw some deer drinking from a stream.
We found this marker at the bottom of the canyon.
It turns out that these honey energy snacks are really tasty. Just FYI.