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The Thundering Herd- October 2019

This past month was a whirlwind of activity.  Labor Day weekend saw lots of families taking advantage of a long awaited holiday off from school and work.  We also saw lots of college students enjoying some time off from college studies.  We’ve already seen visitation pick back up with the start of the Fall season.  Caprock hosted another successful Cross Country Meet in coordination with Valley School on September 10th with even more schools participating this year.  High School boys ran a portion of the Lower Canyon Trail picking up the Eagle Point trail to Lake Theo for a 3 mile course.  High School girls and Junior High students ran the Eagle Point trail for a total of a little over 2 miles.  All of the staff really enjoys this event and we look forward to the next one!  All of these students put forth great effort in completing this event and we are so proud of each and every one of them.  It’s a tough one!

This year Caprock also had its first Quanah Parker Day Celebration.  Quanah Parker was a prominent Comanche leader who is recognized for his leadership, character, integrity, and foresight for his people.  Legislation was recently passed signifying the second Saturday in September for the next 10 years to be celebrated as Quanah Parker Day.  It was an honor for us to get to meet with various members of the Comanche nation, some of Quanah’s family, and also members of the Comanche Tribal Council.  The celebration began in Quitaque at the Tri-County Meals building hosted by the My Comancheria Institute with a welcome from Quitaque Mayor Phil Barefield and an introduction by My Comancheria Institute President Bob Saul.  Members of the Comanche Nation danced in Comanche regalia and song.

The celebration continued into the park at the Interpretive Amphitheater where our Park Superintendent/Park Police Officer Donald Beard gave a welcome speech followed by more Comanche regalia, dancing, and song.  The Comanche consider the Quitaque area, the park landscape, and the Texas State Bison Herd an important part of their heritage and it was amazing to get to share in their experience here.  The park hopes to continue more Quanah Parker Day Celebrations in the coming years.

It was another successful and fun year of Bison Fest on September 28th!  Despite a rain delay for an hour, everything went as planned.  A big thank you goes out to the Caprock Partners Foundation and all the volunteers who continue to help make this event a great success.  If you’re not familiar with BisonFest, your missing out!  BisonFest is an all-day music festival featuring some of Texas’ greatest country music artists.  It’s a festival full of fun with vendors in downtown Quitaque and music in the evening.  This year’s headliner was Kevin Fowler.  What’s even better?…  All proceeds for this event go towards the Texas State Bison Herd Restoration Project here at Caprock Canyons State Park.  Visit www.bisonfest.com for more information about this event, who we’ve had in past events, and also what to look forward to next year soon!

What to See & Do This Month:  Enjoy the weather!

Fall is here and we’ve already started seeing cooler weather and Fall flowers!  Get your cameras, your hiking boots, and whatever else you might need to enjoy the nice weather and beautiful landscape here at the park!

Ranger Recommendation:

Need some ideas?  Here’s what you can expect to see in the park right now and in the coming weeks!  Fall flowers are plentiful already!  Purple gayfeather also known as blazing star (Liatris punctata) makes for a beautiful pop of purple color this time of the year.  There is also the showy Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani) lining the roadsides of the park right now.  Soon, the cottonwood trees around Lake Theo will be showing off their golden yellow leaves often making a beautiful canyon/lake scene especially when the waters of Lake Theo are still.  Want some more Fall?  We recommend hiking, biking, or horseback riding the section of the Caprock Canyons Trailway from South Plains to Monk’s Crossing.  There you’ll find a canyon landscape dotted with golden yellow hues and brilliant orange foliage lining the trail.

Programs & Events:

Saturday, October 5:

  • Goin’ Batty, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion
  • Fishing 101, 6:30 p.m., Lake Theo Group Picnic Shelter, all supplies provided
  • Music in the Park featuring the Dirt Storm Drifters Band, 7:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion

Saturday, October 12:

  • Canyon Walk & Talk, 10:00 a.m., Meet at the Upper South Prong Trailhead
  • Goin’ Batty, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion, program is designed for children 12 and under
  • Paleos of the Panhandle, 7:30 p.m., Interpretive Amphitheater

Sunday, October 13:

  • Full Moon Hike, 7:45 p.m., Meet at the Upper South Prong Trailhead, please bring a flashlight

Saturday, October 26:

  • Caprock Campers Hall of Fall, all day from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.  (Be the best decorated camper/tent in Fall décor and you could win a prize of park merchandise thanks to the Caprock Partners Foundation.  We will be giving out 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes so get your Fall décor on when you come and camp with us!)

Quote of the Month:

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me fluttering from the autumn tree.”  ~Emily Bronte

Interpreter’s Corner:

October is Archeology Awareness Month.  You might not often stop and think about the importance of the scientific study of past people, probably because you’re more focused on the present instead of the events of the past.  However, archeology has many facets to it that relate to you more than you know.  Archeology is our field guide to those who have gone before us.  Like a nature guide, archeology is the avenue that helps us further connect to those people.  And, just like our interest in nature conservation, archeology strives to protect that connection and further our knowledge.  It is through archeology, that we are able to more fully understand our deep connection to bison right here in the park.  Do you know about the unique archeological site here?  It’s called the Lake Theo Folsom Bison Kill site and I invite you to come out to the park to learn more about it.  Take some time this month to familiarize yourself with archeological sites around you and remember to never pocket the past!

Have a great October!

Le’Ann