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The Thundering Herd-December 2018

Last month of the year and it’s already flying by fast!  Here’s a look at what the month of November looked like at Caprock Canyons.

On November 3rd we celebrated National Bison Day.  Yes, bison actually have their very own day!  We had several different interpretive programs in celebration of the icon of the prairie and we shared the story of our amazing herd with park visitors.  And, as I always say, those bison must know how special they truly are since they were everywhere in perfect view for visitors.  We also had some special visitors who traveled from the Dallas area to view the bison and celebrate them with us.  Students from the bison club of St. Thomas Aquinas in Dallas, Texas came to the park to learn more about the Texas State Bison Herd whom they have been helping to raise money and awareness for in the past several years.  These students raised money to purchase some game cameras for the park to help document the wildlife and to help determine the effectiveness of the park’s restoration project.  They will again be helping with another project in the near future.  They have certainly helped to raise awareness about the Texas State Bison Herd and even wear shirts with the motto, “Spread the word, help the herd!”  They were really hoping to catch a glimpse of a bison cow aptly named “Magee” who they named in honor of their school president.  And wouldn’t you know it!  While on a tour through the park, “Magee” walked right up on the road toward the park van as if to say, “here I am!”  You might have read about this story on our last blog post.  But, it’s just too good not to share again!

The last “Constellations in the Canyons” program of the year took place on November 10th with a good turnout of visitors.  Volunteer Art Schneider, his wife Jean, and a few other astronomy volunteers brought out their large telescopes to interpret the dark night skies of Caprock Canyons.  November is a great month to view the night sky and it certainly didn’t disappoint!  We look forward to the next one to be scheduled soon for the coming months of 2019!

The first ever “Valley of Tears Gravel Grind” race took place the third weekend in November.  This bike race occurred on portions of the Caprock Canyons Trailway and surrounding areas of Quitaque.  The race consisted of a 40 mile and 70 mile route.

Another first for the park was hosting the Fall Regional Interpreter’s Meeting.  These meetings gather together interpreters and other park employees who participate in interpretation from parks within our region.  During the meetings interpretation ideas, programs, and pertinent information is shared between friends and co-workers with the shared goal of creating effective programming that will help further connect the visitor with nature.  During the meeting, we were fortunate to get to share our love of the park with our region.

With over 100 cars going over our car counter on Thanksgiving day and the number of visitor contacts we had over the Thanksgiving weekend, we believe this past Thanksgiving to be a record breaker.  It certainly reminded us of what we are truly thankful for here at Caprock Canyons.  And that is being a part of something greater than ourselves…  Taking care of nature and sharing it with others.

November was also Native American Heritage Month.  A very fitting time of the year to remember and be thankful for the Native Americans who helped shape our past and who are now a very important part of our future.  Perhaps some of the first interpreters, they remind us to value the resources of nature and most importantly to think closely about how we are connected to that nature and the world around us.

What to See & Do This Month:

Go trout fishing!  It’s that time again to go fishing for Rainbow trout in Lake Theo!  Sometime in mid December, Lake Theo will be stocked with approximately 1,500 Rainbow trout.  There is no minimum length limit.  Daily bag limit is 5 trout.  And remember, you don’t have to have a fishing license to fish in any Texas State Park!  Easy to catch and tasty table fare make the Rainbow trout a great early Christmas present experience for the angler in your family!  So, don’t miss out!

Programs & Events:

Due to decreased visitation in the winter months, Caprock Canyons State Park will not have any weekend programs for the months of December, January, or February.  One exception is our “First Day Hike” which will take place on January 1st.  Put your best foot forward in the New Year with us!  We are certainly available for outreach programs including programs for school groups (we will travel to you) and civic groups and organizations.  Just give us a call at (806)455-1492.

January 1st, 2019

  • “First Day Hike”, 2:00 p.m., Meet at the South Prong Parking Lot

Quote of the Month:

“At Christmas play and make good cheer, for Christmas comes but once a year.”  ~Thomas Tusser

Pic of the Month:

We certainly thought for a minute that it was Christmas around here already!  On November 13th we saw the first snowfall and it was an early one!  A couple of inches of snow had melted away by the next day in this pic to reveal a beautiful red dirt landscape with a contrast of white snow.

Our Regional Interpretive Specialist happened to be in the park to witness the spectacular sight as the snow began to fall.  Annie Hepp captured video and this iconic picture of the bison enjoying the snow.  It was her first time seeing the bison in the snow and her pictures and video made their rounds throughout the social media world receiving almost 5,000 shares!

Interpreter’s Corner:

All the gift giving spirit on the horizon made me realize that I now enjoy giving gifts rather than receiving them.  Then, that bit of personal insight got me to thinking about the park and how visitors are “hooked” the first time they visit it.  After that first time, you just keep coming back every time you get the chance.  You find yourself sharing that special experience you had there with others.  That special place…  Talking it up.  Even to total strangers.  You feel a strange sense of self-worth and accomplishment from doing it.  That’s ok.  I’ve finally come to realize that the natural things that make Caprock Canyons State Park what it is today, are those gifts that just keep on giving.  While that may sound like a total cliché, it really is the truth.  I think that’s why nature photos and natural places are shared so often on social media sites such as Facebook, just like the bison post above was shared so many times.  It’s why Instagram hashtags of naturephotography has almost 53 million posts.  And, it’s why people keep coming back.  As human beings, we need those natural things to keep coming back to and to experience.  Will you give the gift that keeps on giving and share Caprock Canyons State Park with your friends?  Let’s make 2019 a record year!