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Old 03-30-2014, 06:02 PM   #1
txplants OP
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Amarillo by Morning

“Amarillo by morning”

The official theme for my spring break trip. Actually, my destination was just short of Amarillo in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. I wanted to spend a few days camping and hiking, and then rendezvous with my family in San Antonio for the remainder of my week off.

I departed Houston Friday morning just looking to log some miles and get the trip started. Made Lake Brownwood State Park by late afternoon. After setting up and cooking dinner I took a walk and enjoyed inspecting the incredible CCC structures that persist in the park. There are also cabins for rent that look very nice, albeit rustic. If you’re in the area and looking for a good place to stop for the night, I recommend it, and the Comanche Trails “tent only” sites overlook the lake and are a short walk from hot showers.





Day 2 was cold and blustery with occasional spits of rain and the ride a bit raw as I made my way to and through Sweetwater and onto the Llano Estacado. I dipped into a McDonalds in Post Texas to warm up and have a cup of coffee as a restorative. It did the trick, and I pushed on through Lubbock. My mood was further restored about an hour south of the park as the skies cleared.

The park was all I hoped it would be!





The Fortress Cliff primitive camping area would be home for the next two days. The sites are basic, and cheap, with a picnic table, cover, and little more. Water spickets are scattered throughout the site and although the park is in the grips of a drought (no campfires) the scenery is splendid!









You are a short walk from the Rock Garden and Lighthouse trailheads. In fact, I made an evening hike of the Rock Garden.







And then returned to cook dinner and relax.



More to come!
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Old 03-30-2014, 06:32 PM   #2
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Very nice, I'm in.....and I only live about an hour from there. I used to go many times a year.
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Old 03-30-2014, 07:47 PM   #3
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In once more. I almost stopped there a few years ago to camp. I'm anxious to see what I missed by passing up the place.

I was southwest of Meridian, TX a couple of weeks ago. This was my first taste of the hill country. I certainly want to go back for more.
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Old 03-31-2014, 04:37 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Valker View Post
Very nice, I'm in.....and I only live about an hour from there. I used to go many times a year.
Thanks, Valker! I see that Pampa is very close by.

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In once more. I almost stopped there a few years ago to camp. I'm anxious to see what I missed by passing up the place.

I was southwest of Meridian, TX a couple of weeks ago. This was my first taste of the hill country. I certainly want to go back for more.
Mike
Howdy, Mike! Thanks for joining in.
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Old 03-31-2014, 05:50 PM   #5
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Day three was dedicated to hiking the 6-mile round-trip Lighthouse trail and scrambling to the base of this park icon. Incidentally, this trip was an opportunity to try out a new sleeping bag. I’m a Big Agnes fan, but I find their temperature ratings don’t work for me. For example, I was cold in a “30 degree” bag in the high thirties and cold in a “15 degree” bag in the high twenties. When temperatures dipped down into the mid-20s during the night, I was adequately warm in my new Big Agnes bag rated 0 degrees! Go figure.

I hit the Lighthouse trail early, around 8 AM. A short distance from the trailhead one is treated to this breathtaking formation!



After a few miles, the Lighthouse comes into view…



Just about there! The Lighthouse (right) towers over 300’ tall and this picture just doesn't capture its size...



Here is one with humans for scale. See them?



Think they felt like they were being watched?



The scramble to the base is no walk in the park either, but the view from up top is amazing!



Once there I parked for quite a while, enjoyed the sound of the wind and occasional canyon wren, and went through most of the snacks I’d brought along. Was even treated to a V-22 fly-by (I've never seen one before now).



More and more hikers began to make their way to the top, my cue to leave. The return hike was at a leisurely pace taking more time to appreciate the geology. Hit this trail early if you seek solitude as it is extremely popular!

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Old 03-31-2014, 05:55 PM   #6
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Fantastic

Great shots.

Texas Hill Country has been on my list for a while-I think 2014 would be a good year.

SE
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Old 03-31-2014, 05:58 PM   #7
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Great pictures! Very nice Nemo tent!
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Old 04-02-2014, 05:16 AM   #8
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Great shots.

Texas Hill Country has been on my list for a while-I think 2014 would be a good year.

SE
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Great pictures! Very nice Nemo tent!
Thanks man, love my Nemo!

Visited the park museum in the afternoon. Then rode back up to the canyon rim in search of cell phone reception to check in back home. One could spend days at this park, but I’m slated to head to San Antonio in the AM.

Here’s Crystal the next morning loaded, and ready to schlep 650 miles across the Llano, through the Hill Country, to my brother’s place in San Antonio.

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Old 04-02-2014, 05:40 AM   #9
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Hill Country SNA!

Met my family in San Antone, and we started off our visit the next afternoon with a hike at Hill Country State Natural Area near Bandera...









Talked to one of the park rangers and she said they would be happy to accommodate motorcycle campers in any of the "horse campgrounds"!
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:12 AM   #10
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Excellent txplants! That lighthouse must be something to see.
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Old 04-03-2014, 05:29 AM   #11
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Excellent txplants! That lighthouse must be something to see.
Thanks Mudclod! Yep, it's a great hike.
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Old 04-03-2014, 05:39 AM   #12
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San Antonio Missions National Historic Park

The following day my brother recommended we tour the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park, beginning at Mission San Antonio de Valero (better known as the Alamo), and then working our way south along the San Antonio River where the park officially begins at Mission Concepcion.





Entrance to the nave and sanctuary at Mission Concepcion. The brightly colored frescos that once covered the structure have long since faded.



Inside the restored sanctuary at Mission Concepcion.



Partially preserved and possibly restored fresco in an interior room.



On to Mission San Jose.



San Jose's legendary "Rose Window".



Mission San Jose. Interesting cascade of walls and archways as well as intersections of earthly materials and blue sky.



Last stop. Mission Espada, the oldest on southernmost of the Missions.



Entrance to the church.



And then, lunch!



I thoroughly enjoyed this tour and, while there is a rather circus-like atmosphere around the Alamo…



…the remaining missions have a very remote and sacred feel to them.



This would make an excellent day trip for your club if you’re within a day’s ride.
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:41 AM   #13
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Nice!
Palo Duro Canyon is one of our favorite stopping points in the Texas panhandle as well.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:55 PM   #14
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Parting shot...

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Nice!
Palo Duro Canyon is one of our favorite stopping points in the Texas panhandle as well.
Thanks man!

All good trips come to an end, and this one did the next day with a return to Houston, and work. Here's a parting shot of the Texas flag over downtown San Antone. Adiós!

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Old 04-05-2014, 03:54 AM   #15
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Whoa!

LOVING your pics Txplants!

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