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The Thundering Herd-November 2021

This past month, nature showed up with its annual display of purple gayfeather and as Bob Ross would say, those “happy little” Maximilian sunflowers. We’re still waiting in high anticipation though, for the cottonwood and western soapberry trees to follow suit and show off their golden leaves.

The mild temperatures of October drew large crowds of people from all over the country to the park. Trails are in high demand as hikers relish the crispness in the air and take advantage of the cooler temperatures in the canyons this time of year. And, just like us, the changing of the season signals a variety of different wildlife species of the park to change some of their behavior as well. Many will migrate, hibernate, or store away for the coming of winter. And for many others, this change draws them here. Winter waterfowl are arriving and many can already be seen in Dry Creek Lake as well as Lake Theo while sandhill crane can be heard overhead, making their way to the nearest playa lake on the plains. I often think just how much we have in common with them as we see, whom we call, “snowbirds” with their campers coming to escape the colder winter temperatures up north.

It seems that now at Caprock Canyons, we don’t even notice a difference in the amount of visitors we see on a regular weekend compared to those we have with each passing holiday. What a change that truly is! Colombus Day weekend flew by with a multitude of visitors, but honestly, it seems as though we have that many visitors each and every weekend, regardless. Therefore, we can’t stress it enough that reservations are definitely recommended to secure a campsite, especially on weekends.

Speaking of camping, this past month in celebration of the Fall season, we encouraged our campers to decorate their campsite in any fall decor. Those who did were entered into our drawing to receive a $25 gift certificate of merchandise in the park store sponsored by the Caprock Partners Foundation. This lucky couple happened to be the ones who were drawn!

If you want to join us for any programs, now is the time to do it! This month will be the last of our interpretive and entertainment programs for the year as we enter into our public hunt season. Here’s some important park closure dates to put on your radar in the coming months:

  • From 5:00 p.m. December 6th to 2:00 p.m. December 10th
  • From 5:00 p.m. December 13 to 2:00 p.m. December 17th
  • From 5:00 p.m. December 27 to 2:00 p.m. December 31st

Upcoming Programs:

Saturday, November 6 (National Bison Day!)

  • “Creatures of Caprock” with author Jefferson Marshall, 11:00 a.m. at the Visitor’s Center Pavilion
  • “The Bison Supercenter”, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion
  • “Music in the Park” featuring The Dirt Storm Drifters Band, 6:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion

Saturday, November 13:

  • “Canyon Walk & Talk (Colors in Nature)”, 10:00 a.m., Meet at the Upper South Prong Trailhead
  • “Music in the Park” featuring Roger Martin of the Dirt Storm Drifters Band, 6:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion

Saturday, November 20:

  • “The Bison Supercenter”, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion
  • “Moon Party”, 6:30 p.m., North Prong Parking Lot (Please bring a comfortable lawn chair with you!)

Saturday, November 27:

  • “Canyon Walk & Talk (Colors in Nature)”, 10:00 a.m., Meet at the Upper South Prong Trailhead
  • “The Bison Supercenter”, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion
  • “The Texas State Bison Herd”, 6:00 p.m., Interpretive Amphitheater

We were hoping to have some Fall Foliage tours scheduled this past month, but the foliage had other plans. Therefore, there may be some opportunity for Fall Foliage tours to be scheduled for this month depending upon the availability of the changing leaves along the Trailway. Please look for any upcoming Fall Foliage Tours to be announced on our social media platforms if/when they become available for sign up!

Interpreter’s Corner:

You know that someone or something is very important if they have a special day dedicated to recognizing them! November 6th is National Bison Day and there truly isn’t an animal as well deserving as the icon of the prairie! In fact so much of our nation’s heritage rides on it (no pun intended), that it’s also our national mammal! Many a hungry family found sustenance from its life, it formed the building blocks of the prairie, and its very existence into today fills us with awe and such inspiring thoughts of enduring perseverence. Therefore, I think it’s equally important that we remember the significance of celebrating it. For example, most people who have a national day of remembrance are recognized after they’re gone. But, what a privilege and tribute it truly is, to be able to celebrate a living symbol such as the bison! I hope you’ll continue to celebrate this iconic animal in the future and that moving forward, we will never forget our unique heritage with the American bison.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!