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The Thundering Herd- November 2019

Well, we can’t believe that it’s already November!  Already last month we saw our first freeze and even received about a half of an inch of snow!  The first half of October was mild in temperature, however, winter definitely has its foot in the door!  The last half of October was a cold one!  The Mexican Free-tailed bats of Clarity Tunnel have already started on their migratory path back to Mexico to enjoy a more mild climate but various species of ducks have already made it here to spend the winter with us.  You can also see and hear the sandhill crane flying over the park to their winter destinations in playa lakes on the High Plains.

Last month, lots of equestrian riders and walking groups enjoyed the mild temperatures and trails in the park and along the Trailway.  The Quitaque Climb Endurance Trail ride was our first special event utilizing nearby Pole Canyon Ranch and a portion of the Caprock Canyons Trailway from Monk’s Crossing to Clarity Tunnel.  We always enjoy having this well-organized group come out to do a special event each year and we are looking forward to next year’s event.  The West Texas Trail Walkers held another great event in the park and along the Trailway again this year.  About 100 walkers joined the event to enjoy various trails in the park and also a walk along portions of the Trailway into Turkey.  TETRA held another special event this year with equestrian riders enjoying portions of the Upper North Prong, the Lower North Prong, and the Wildhorse Trail.  We enjoy hosting all these amazing groups of people and love seeing them enjoying the recreational opportunities of the park and Trailway!

The NUFF (no one under 55) group from the First Presbyterian Church in Amarillo took an interpretive tour through the park and also enjoyed some time at the Comanchero Canyons Museum.  We thoroughly enjoyed connecting this group with the park and its resources and we hope to see them come back again soon!  On a side note, remember that we love to do tours or interpretive programs with groups so if you have an interest, give us a call!

Last but not least, our long serving park hosts Fred & Nancy left for the year.  We hope to see them back again in March and April!  This selfless couple has spent countless hours ensuring that the facilities of the park are immaculate, that there is no trash to be found lying around in the park, that the camping loops are in good shape, and the list could go on and on.  Fred and Nancy have volunteered their time here at Caprock 4 months out of every year for over 15 years!  They have served over 3,000 hours here at Caprock Canyons alone, the highest award currently possible in the Texas State Park volunteer system.  Fred and Nancy, you will never know how much we appreciate you both!

What to See & Do this Month:  Enjoy observing waterfowl

Every year around this time, various species of ducks and other waterfowl can be seen enjoying the park and you can enjoy watching them.  Perhaps the best place to observe them is from the Wildlife Viewing Blind located at Dry Creek Lake.  This small lake is secluded with lots of vegetation and trees surrounding it and the waterfowl love it!

Ranger Recommendation:

This ranger recommendation comes from the park rangers who are there to greet you and check you in to the park:

Although temperatures are a lot cooler, visitation is still on the rise.  Therefore, the park has been booking up in camping areas on the weekends.  In order to ensure you have a camping spot with us, please make sure to make reservations.  You can either make reservations online at https://texasstateparks.reserveamerica.com or call central reservations at (512)389-8900.  Here at the park, we can make reservations for you only on the date of your arrival.  With the new online reservation system, you can also print out your permit.  Simply print the permit out and then place it on the dash of your vehicle where rangers can see it when you arrive.  It’s also always a good idea to bring an extra set of keys with you when you come visit us.  We want your stay to be as pleasant as possible with us and lately we have been seeing many people become locked out of their vehicle after arriving at the park.

Another update worth noting is that the special event/media productions request application is now online.  You can access it at https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/park-information/park-requests-application/events-media-concessions-requests.  So, if you’d like to coordinate a special event or a filming production at the park, please follow the directions at the link provided.  Please allow 90 days from the time of your submission.

Programs & Events:

November 2:  National Bison Day!

  • Lake Theo Folsom Bison Kill Site Talk, 11:00 a.m., Meet at the Historical Marker
  • Being Buffaloed, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion
  • The Texas State Bison Herd, 7:00 p.m., Interpretive Amphitheater

November 9:

  • Canyon Walk & Talk, 10:00 a.m., Meet at the Upper South Prong Trail
  • Native American Games, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion
  • Constellations in the Canyons, 7:30 p.m., Meet at the North Prong Parking Lot and bring a lawn chair with you!

November 23:

  • Canyon Walk & Talk, 10:00 a.m., Meet at the Upper South Prong Trail
  • Native American Games, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion
  • The Texas State Bison Herd, 6:00 p.m., Interpretive Amphitheater

Quote of the Month:

“The way we spend our time defines who we are.”  ~Jonathan Estrin

Interpreter’s Corner:

Many times I have found myself doing an activity that I discovered I really didn’t enjoy.  Has that ever happened to you?  Sometimes, it even takes us a while to notice it.  But often, we do tend to feel the effects of it.  This coming holiday season, give yourself and others an awesome gift.  The gift you can give yourself is to take time to do something that you enjoy and make it a part of your routine.  The gift you can give others is your time.  I’ve often heard it said that the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.  Make giving someone your time a priority.  Make sure that you spend some quality time with family and friends this holiday season.  And, if you’re looking for the perfect place to do these things, come see us out at YOUR PARK!

Hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving!

Le’Ann