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The Thundering Herd- September 2021

I found myself more than a little stressed this past month and I think most of my fellow colleagues can relate. As you probably read in the last newsletter, we lost some very valuable members to our team. That retirement stuff is no joke! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Anyway, we’re short staffed but doing all we can to fill those gaps. I know from experience though, that stressful and rough situations are for strength and growth. We can see that all around us in nature, and although we might groan under the weight for just a while, our roots will be all the more deep.

Knowing that Caprock Canyons has some amazingly dark night skies, many of our park supporters showed up for the Perseid Meteor the second week in August. We received many awesome social media tags and honestly, we just want to take a minute to sing the praises and talents of some of our photographers out there! You all have our hearts when you showcase the beauty of Caprock as you share your amazing photos with us and our park supporters.

August 28th marked the end of another Bat Tour season and I can proudly report that the bats of Clarity Tunnel seem to be doing well. They acquired regal, celebrity status once again and are feeling fine! You can still view the bat emergence flight on your own, but hurry! The bats will likely begin their annual migration to Mexico starting in October.

BisonFest will soon be under way on September 25th! If you haven’t already, be sure to grab your tickets online at http://www.bisonfest.com Not familiar with the Texas Bison Music Festival, also known as BisonFest? It’s an annual music event in downtown Quitaque, Texas featuring some of the best of Texas country music artists. This year’s lineup features Pat Green, Cory Morrow, Jason Boland, Max Stalling, and David Beck’s Tejano Weekend. There will also be various vendors along the main street so don’t miss out! All proceeds benefit the Texas State Bison Herd!

What to See & Do this Month:

Check out the sunsets! Since the anatomy of a beautiful sunset is sunlight passing through molecules and particles in the atmosphere, some of the best ones to “catch” can happen in the Fall. During Fall and Winter, the sun is lower in the sky allowing the sunlight to deflect off scattered clouds. We’ll be seeing the sun getting lower and lower in the sky as the days go by this month and what better place to capture a sunset view than the scenic canyon landscape of the park!

Ranger Recommendation:

Try catching some amazing sunset views at these locations in the park:

  • Lake Theo: See the “mirror effect” as the dramatic colors of the sunset reflect off the calm waters of the lake.
  • The amphitheater: Watch the sun lower down into the canyons as you stand above them on the rim of the canyon.
  • The scenic overlook: Get an awe-inspiring 180 degree view of the sunset and canyons from a lower elevation.

Here’s a few pics from previous years to whet your appetite!

Snowy sunset over Lake Theo by TPWD photographer Chase Fountain

Programs & Events:

Saturday, September 4:

  • Canyon Walk & Talk (Colors in Nature), 9:00 a.m., Meet at the Upper South Prong Trailhead
  • The Bison Supercenter, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion
  • Music in the Park featuring “The Dirt Storm Drifters”, 6:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion

Sunday, September 5:

  • Birding with a Ranger, 8:30 a.m., Meet at the Wildlife Viewing Blind
  • Prairie Dogs: Talk of the Town, 11:00 a.m., Meet at the Honey Flat Restrooms

Saturday, September 11:

  • Canyon Walk & Talk (Colors in Nature), 9:00 a.m., Upper South Prong Trailhead
  • Star Party, 8:30 p.m., North Prong Parking Lot. (Please bring a lawn chair)

Saturday, September 18:

  • Music in the Park featuring the Magic Piano of John Walker and guitar by Roger Martin, 7:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion

Friday, September 24:

  • Wildlife Tracking 101 with Earth Natives Wilderness School Instructors, 6:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion

Saturday, September 25:

  • BisonFest, all day event, downtown Quitaque

Quote of the Month:

“Learn continually- there’s always ‘one more thing’ to learn.” ~Steve Jobs

Interpreter’s Corner:

Confession- I used to feel inadequate in my job as the park interpreter when someone asked me a question about something that I didn’t know. I would try to figure out the answer in the few minutes I had in between tasks but I quickly figured out that I simply couldn’t know all of the answers to the many questions our visitors might have about (insert resource topic). I’ve been in my position now for over 11 years and I can honestly say that I still don’t know all there is to know. And… I never will. Shocker right!? Well, you might hear me state now that, “I know just enough to get you interested.” And, that’s really all I need to do. I’d rather you be interested and invest yourself in getting to know the resource better. Then, I know I’ve done my job. Honestly, I can’t really lay claim to that statement. That one was wisely given to me by a mentor and senior park interpreter. But, I believe it wholeheartedly and I also believe in learning continually. Currently, I’m in a mentoring position myself. However, I quickly came to learn that I’m also the student. Amber Tumbleson, my interpretive volunteer, has been helping me out by leading some interpretive hikes this past month. While I tend to take the resources quite literally, Amber showed me how to take another approach. During her Canyon Walk & Talk (Colors in Nature) program, I’ve learned so much more about the land around me and have become much more attuned to my surroundings simply by paying more attention to colors. At the risk of spoiling her program, I’ll stop there, but I encourage you to continue to learn. I know that you’ll find that it’s a valuable resource itself! And be sure to join one of Amber’s programs to discover more about the world around you through color. I promise, you’ll be wise enough afterward to understand the true brilliance of nature’s box of colors.

Here’s to the start of a new season!

Le’Ann