Our Mini Vacation to Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Our Mini Vacation
Through Palo Duro, Amarillo & more!
Hello lovelies! How is your May so far? I'm absolutely loving this month, for sooo many reasons... firstly, I decided to start chipping away at my "2017" goals, and honestly, it feels amazing! Secondly, Dustin and I have gone on so many adventures this past month, and I just couldn't wait to share them with you all. Thirdly, I feel better than ever, mentally and physically. This move has definitely been hard on us, but were truly making the most out of it by constantly exploring and finding new things we love about Texas. We've always been wanderers, and I'm super lucky to have a fiancé that craves adventure just as much as I do. We truly never stop exploring, and for that, I'm thankful, because I get to experience new things, and get acquainted with the unfamiliar areas around me (and stare at Dustin's cute butt while we hike up mountains/canyons/whatever we're doing really!) Today I wanted to share with you all our mini vacay through West Texas, which by the way is absolutely GORGEOUS. Keep reading to hear about our journey through West Texas!
First things first, we decided we needed somewhere new to see, because the city can be so unnerving to be around every single day, and to be surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people...lets be real....it's insanely draining. Since being here, we've already visited the major cities-Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio - which, I'm completely and utterly obsessed with Austin (just FYI it's insanely cool) Honestly, Texas is vastly diverse and I really love how much there is to do and see here, it's starting to grow on me actually....which I never thought possible since I'm such a die hard New Englander. I started researching places to go in Texas on Pinterest-and really wanted to hit the beach, or see the Gulf of Mexico, and just spend some time in the sand. Then I came across a list of beautiful state parks, and saw Palo Duro, and it was decided from there on out. We would make the seven hour drive and camp out in a gorgeous state park for the night.
When I got out of work, around 5 o'clock I immediately started packing, and so did Dustin. We cleaned out Dustins Honda, packed the tent, plenty of healthy snacks, and everything we needed for our mini-two day-vacay in the desert. We had never been to the desert, and honestly, wasn't sure how much we would like it, but we decided in a split second to go anyway. After packing and watching a few episodes of Greys Anatomy, we decided to head to bed early, and get up early to start the seven hour drive to Palo Duro. We left around 5am, picked up Starbucks-of course and watched the sunrise, which in Texas is ridiculously pretty. I only drank two bottles of water, and we had to stop four times in two hours for me to get out and pee, I swear water just runs right through me, which can make me a difficult passenger in any road trip, but Dustin didn't seem to care.
Driving through West Texas was honestly kind of bizzare, half the time it's just windmills, and the other, you can see gorgeous canyons, so it's hard not to look away especially when you haven't seen anything like it before. Our first and major stop was in Amarillo, because I had to see Cadillac Ranch, a famous roadside attraction, that displayed buried Cadillacs, nose deep in the mud, covered in art. When we visited, there wasn't too many people checking it out, which made it easier to take a ton of photos. It was honestly super cool to see in person, and to watch people spray paint their art onto the cars, leaving behind a piece of themselves.
After hanging out at Cadillac Ranch, we decided to grab some lunch in Amarillo. We decided to go to a place called "Jason's Deli" which is basically a Panera Bread, with super healthy options. We ended up getting sandwiches, and spent a good hour just getting ready to head to the canyons. We made a quick stop at Wal-Mart to grab more water, and drove another hour to Palo Duro Canyon. I started researching the canyon, and found out it's the second largest canyon in the world, the first being the Grand Canyon of course, which made it that much more exciting to be able to visit. When we arrived, we were greeted by the breathtaking sights of the park. I was completely speechless when I first saw the red rock and the massive canyons. I had never seen canyons to begin with, so just seeing it for the first time, I had no idea what to say, or really even think.
Immediately upon arriving we decided to see where we would be camping out for the night. We made the mile long drive to our campsite and unpacked, set up our tent and then ventured off through the canyons. It was super hot the first day we arrived, so I had to change out of leggings and a flowy top and into shorts and a tank, to prepare for our hike. The weather at the canyon was super dry, and pretty hot so we only went on two short hikes, which was still too much for me considering I definitely didn't hydrate enough throughout the day. We walked slowly through the paths and saw so much wildlife, surprisingly. We ended up seeing a ton of small rabbits, different types of beetles, and even lizards which Dustin was dead sest on catching one. The animals were so cute, and just seemed so used to people, that they didn't even budge when they saw people.
After hours of exploring, and it finally starting to cool off a bit, we decided to grab dinner, but there weren't too may options, so we hit up IHOP. It was about 7:00 when we came back from dinner, and I was covered in red dust, so we decided to shower and then head off to see the sunset. The showers were pretty high end for a campground, it was super spacious in each of the stalls, with beautiful benches and a ton of space which made it feel super cozy. I put all my stuff down, turned on the water, and saw the hugest spider of my life, and let out a huge scream. Luckily Dustin was waiting right outside the women's bathrooms so he came running in to see what was up. I unlocked the door, and told him to come and take it away, and he insisted it was just a "baby" wolf spider. At that moment, I didn't care if it was a "baby" spider, it was huge, and it had to go. He wouldn't kill it, so I made him sit on the bench and make sure it wouldn't crawl near the shower, while I did my thing. Looking back on it, it was super sweet that he went to that extent to make me feel safe, even if it was just a baby spider...
After showering, and getting in comfy clothes, we drove around, took a ton of pictures, and finally found the perfect sunset spot. We parked the car and sat down to enjoy the sunset. It was the perfect evening to a seemingly long, hot day spent hiking in 90 degree temps. It was nice to just sit, enjoy each others company and watch the sun go down before heading to bed. The sun set rather quickly, so we snapped as many photos with my Nikon as we could. The colors were so beautiful, especially at sunset. Here are a few of my favorites:
After watching the sunset, we headed back to our tent, which then we realized something super important....we didn't have a mattress pad. So we ended up having to sleep on the hard, but slightly soft ground. An hour into laying on the ground, I decided I just couldn't do it anymore and ended up laying my pillows out so I could use them as a cushion for the rest of my body, It was definitely super uncomfortable, and pretty chilly that night....but it was nice. It was nice to wake up to birds chirping, just like back home. Living in the city is definitely 100% the opposite I'm used to, and it's definitely been hard. It's hard to be so far away from everything and everyone you know. But being in an unfamiliar place surrounded by newness, is just as fun. It was nice to get away for awhile and just relax, and breathe a little easier if only for a minute.
What is your favorite state park? Have you been to Texas before?