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The Thundering Herd-February 2020

2020!  That number still sounds like something from the distant future but it is definitely a reality!  Some of us at the park are still suffering from “rote memory dating cognitive impairment”.  🙂  Anyhow, things are shaping up for a bright new year of recreation, programs, events, and more here at the park.  Spring Break will soon be upon and another busy year will be in the works!

Here’s a look at what the new year brought us here at the park last month:

We started off the first day of the new year with a “First Day Hike” to help encourage visitors to get outside and enjoy the benefits that the outdoors can offer.  The hike was a great success with 25 people and 1 furry friend who joined in on hiking the Upper South Prong Trail and helping to take care of the natural resources by picking up trash along the trail.  I hope that we will all continue on with a resolution to better utilize our outdoor spaces knowing full well the amazing benefits it freely gives all the while being conscious of its protection and conservation!

We also started off the year with the Texas State Bison Herd at the forefront of our minds this year with our annual bison vaccinations and well-checks.  This was a record year for us as we saw 209 individual members of the Texas State Bison herd go (sometimes willingly, sometimes unwillingly) through the chute.  Each bison received their vaccinations and breeding age bison cows received a check up on their pregnancy conditions.  Young calves from the previous year were given their ear tags and had blood and hair samples taken in order to keep track of their genetic lineage.  We always look forward to the annual vaccinations and well-checks for the herd.  It is an understatement to say that it is an extreme priviledge afforded to each of us to help look after Texas’ own state herd.

What to See & Do This Month:  Make your plans now for Spring Break at Caprock!

Ranger Recommendation:

This month’s recommendation is from our very own park hosts.  Park host Fred Beames has been here for 2 months and she suggests that when visiting Caprock, it’s a must that you take the time to stay for a sunset view.  The sunsets here at Caprock simply can’t be beat!  Our other ranger recommendation comes from park host Shelley Gimpel who has previously hosted a couple of years back and has now returned.  Shelley has stated that she has in her words, “a strange loyalty to Caprock”.  She suggests that one should simply go out on a trail and practice the art of “being present”.  Mindfulness is a must when you view the natural surroundings at Caprock.

Programs & Events:

Saturday, March 7:

  • “Caprock Van Tour”, 10:00 a.m., Reservations Required.  Please call the park at (806)455-1492 to reserve your spot.
  • “Prairie Dogs:  Talk of the Town”, 2:00 p.m., Meet at the Honey Flat Restrooms
  • “The Park after Dark Hike”, 7:30 p.m., Meet at the Upper South Prong Trailhead.  Please bring a flashlight.

Tuesday, March 10:

  • “Canyon Walk & Talk”, 10:00 a.m., Meet at the Upper South Prong Trail

Thursday, March 12:

  • “The Texas State Bison Herd”, 8:00 p.m., Interpretive Amphitheater

Saturday, March 14:

  • “Canyon Walk & Talk, 10:00 a.m., Meet at the Upper South Prong Trail
  • “Being Buffaloed”, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion
  • “Mary Ann Goodnight & the Texas State Bison Herd”, 8:00 p.m., Interpretive Amphitheater

Tuesday, March 17:

  • “Trailway Tour”, 10:00 a.m., Reservations Required.  Please call the park at (806)455-1492 to reserve your spot.
  • “Goin’ Batty”, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion (Program is designed for children 12 and under)
  • “Caprock Critters”, 8:00 p.m., Interpretive Amphitheater

Wednesday, March 18:

  • “Canyon Walk & Talk”, 10:00 a.m., Meet at the Upper South Prong Trail
  • “Skins & Skulls”, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion (Program is designed for children 12 and under)
  • “Bats of the Texas Panhandle”, 8:15 p.m., Interpretive Amphitheater

Thursday, March 19:

  • “Caprock Van Tour”, 10:00 a.m., Reservations required.  Please call the park at (806)455-1492 to reserve your spot.
  • “Being Buffaloed”, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion
  • “The Texas State Bison Herd”, 8:15 p.m., Interpretive Amphitheater

Friday, March 20:

  • “Trailway Tour”, 10:00 a.m., Reservations Required.  Please call the park at (806)455-1492 to reserve your spot.
  • “Goin’ Batty”, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion.  (Program is designed for children 12 and under)
  • “Caprock Critters”, 8:15 p.m., Interpretive Amphitheater

Saturday, March 21:

  • “Canyon Walk & Talk”, 10:00 a.m., Meet at the Upper South Prong Trailhead
  • “Prairie Dogs:  Talk of the Town, 2:00 p.m., Meet at the Honey Flat Restrooms
  • “Mary Ann Goodnight & the Texas State Bison Herd”, 8:15 p.m., Interpretive Amphitheater

Friday, March 27:

  • “The Park after Dark”, 8:30 p.m., Meet at the Upper South Prong Trailhead.  Please bring a flashlight.

Quote of the Month:

“If you find yourself worrying, go outside, take 3 breaths, address a tree and quietly say ‘thank you.  If you can’t find a tree, a dandelion will do…  Nature is magic.”  ~Robert Bateman

Pic of the Month:

This beautiful bird is a spotted Towhee.  A member of the sparrow family, the spotted Towhee is usually found scratching in the brush at Caprock Canyons in the winter months.

Interpreter’s Corner:

With the busy season coming up, safety for park visitors is always a big priority for us here at Caprock Canyons.  Recently, we have been updating our trails to better reflect their location within the park.  We are also updating the fiberglass signs located every half mile on each trail to better reflect the acronyms for the trails.  So for example, the Eagle Point trail will have fiberglass signage with the letters EP and the corresponding number to the mileage.  If you are on the Eagle Point trail and need to know exactly where you are along the trail, look for the fiberglass signs.  If you are in need of help, you can let us know that you are between EP2 and EP3 for example, and we will know exactly where you are.  There are also additional safety measures that you need to be aware of before you go out on the trails though.  A good rule of thumb is to prepare yourself before you go out.  Always bring at least a gallon of water per person, take a park map with you, and if you plan on hiking alone, make sure that you tell someone where you’re going and when to expect you to be off the trail.  Never rely on cell phone service in the park, but if you do have a cell phone, you can sometimes call out when standing on a high point.  Depending on the type of cell phone you have, you can also pin your location and send it via text message to a staff member at the park who is trying to determine your location.  Remember that there are a lot of wildlife trails at Caprock Canyons so if you don’t see any of the fiberglass markers along the trail, you’re probably not on an official park trail.  We want to ensure that you have a good experience here at Caprock Canyons.  Questions or concerns are always welcome!

Have a great day!

Le’Ann