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The Thundering Herd- November 2018

During these mild temperature days of Fall, the park is always busy and full of campers and Columbus Day weekend was no exception.  We are also starting to see those “snowbirds” who travel down into our area to escape the winter elements up north and even saw some familiar faces of those “snowbirds” who have been to the park before.  Perhaps we have made some “recruits” although, after talking to a few of them, I’m not sure if they’re willing to share the park with others and give away their secret…

However, I think the park during this time of the year isn’t much of a secret anymore.  In fact, word has gotten out and Caprock Canyons State Park was featured this past month as one of the top 5 “Perfect Fall Camping Spots in Texas” by Step Outside.  Fall certainly is a great time to come and camp at the park and most everything about the park “speaks” Fall.  There is the deep red of the canyons, the yellow blooms of the Maximilian Sunflower, and of course the golden colors of the changing cottonwood trees reflecting upon the glassy waters of Lake Theo.

One program that we always love to offer during the month of October is the “Fall Foliage Tours” however, this year the weather didn’t quite cooperate.  We saw more rainfall this past month than we have received all year long and although we will never complain about receiving rain, unfortunately, muddy conditions along the Trailway put a damper on Fall Foliage Tours this year.  But, we will always try again next year so be on the lookout for Fall Foliage Tours next year beginning in October!

This past month, a portion of the Trailway and Pole Canyon Ranch hosted the Quitaque Climb Endurance Ride where various equestrian folks from all over joined together for a unique trail riding experience.  The riders rode many trails inside Pole Canyon Ranch and then headed down the Monk’s Crossing terminal of the Trailway down to historic Clarity Tunnel.  The 2 day event has become an annual affair and we hope to see everyone and maybe even some new faces back again next year!

October was also Archeology Awareness Month and a group of college archeology students from Colorado stopped by the park to see the Lake Theo Folsom Bison Kill Site on their way to a conference.  It was such a pleasure to see students from another state purposefully seek out our unique archeological site due to its importance and significance to the study of PaleoIndians and their lifeways!

What to See & Do this Month:

It’s not too late to still see some Fall foliage on the cottonwood and western soapberry in the park!  But hurry!  Here in a few short weeks or maybe even days, those leaves will be ready to fall off!

Ranger Recommendation:

Spend some time by Lake Theo to spot some of our friendly waterfowl!  It’s that time of the year where many ducks come to visit!  Take advantage of the wildlife viewing blind down by Dry Creek Lake.  You might even be fortunate enough to spot an eagle or two this time of the year!

Programs & Events:

November 3:  National Bison Day!

  • “Much Lovin’ From a Dutch Oven”, 2:00 p.m., Lake Theo Group Picnic Shelter
  • “The Texas State Bison Herd”, 7:00 p.m., Interpretive Amphitheater

November 10:

  • “Caprock Van Tour”, 10:00 a.m., Reservations Required.  Please call the park at (806)455-1492 to reserve your spot!
  • “Much Lovin’ From a Dutch Oven”, 2:00 p.m., Lake Theo Group Picnic Shelter

November 24:

  • “Caprock Van Tour”, 10:00 a.m., Reservations Required.  Please call the park at (806)455-1492 to reserve your spot!
  • “Much Lovin’ From a Dutch Oven”, 2:00 p.m., Lake Theo Group Picnic Shelter
  • “Native American Games”, 5:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion

Quote of the Month:

“Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

Pic of the Month:

This past weekend (November 3rd), was National Bison Day.  Students from the Bison Club from St. Thomas Aquinas came out to the park to celebrate the American Bison and specifically the Texas State Bison Herd.  It was a great day for these students as many of them hadn’t been to the park before and the Texas State Bison Herd were right there at the Visitor’s Center ready to greet them.  One hopeful goal for the students was to see a bison cow that the group named in honor of their school president during their trip.  It just so happened that bison cow “MAG” walked out along the roadside in front of the students as if to say, “We’re glad you’re here!”

Interpreter’s Corner:

Thanksgiving is coming upon us soon and of course, that brings to mind thankful thoughts.  On the rare occasion when I stop to collect my thoughts and then begin to recollect on past events in the park, I get a deep sense of appreciation.  So here are a couple of things that I’m thankful for:

I’m thankful for my job that allows me to be out in nature and do things that I enjoy.  I’m thankful for all of the different resources at Caprock Canyons State Park and the chance I have to help protect them.  Not only is Caprock a special place for visitors to do recreational activities and just be in nature, it’s also full of history, geology, flora, fauna, legacies, memories, the list can go on and on.  It inspires me every day.  But lastly, I’m thankful for my job that allows me to feel like I’ve actually done something good and worth working for…  Everytime I see the faces of visitors, students, and children with that “aha” or “wow” moment, I know it’s all been worth it!  If you need some time or a different change of pace for recollection or inspiration, Caprock is a great place to start.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!