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The Thundering Herd- March 2021

Despite the unprecedented winter conditions much of the state saw in late February, nature’s conditions are shaping up with a new spring in its step! Spring is just around the corner and already we’re beginning to see some milder temperatures. Some of the first wildflowers will soon be sounding the call of Spring with their brilliantly colored blooms.

We’ve been extremely busy with numerous events both unforeseen and some anticipated. Park staff has been busy readying the park for our busy season with Spring Break right around the corner. However, nothing could really prepare us all for the winter storm that affected much of Texas and certainly warrants a mention in the record books! As surely many of you indeed experienced, below freezing temperatures compiled with snow and ice caused many dangerous conditions and utility failures across the state. In anticipation of this winter storm, park staff took the necessary steps to winterize the infrastructure of the park as much as possible, but our due diligence was simply no match for mother nature. When conditions had improved after the storm, the park had to contend with a complete water outage due to damage to the park’s water treatment facility and storage tank. Park staff have been diligently working to remedy the situation to uphold health and safety standards for the reopening of the park. Currently, plans are to reopen the park for day use on Tuesday, March 2nd. Reopening for camping is planned for Wednesday, March 3rd. Due to the nature of these repairs, the closure of the park was necessary to uphold health and safety standards and to allow for the safe repairs of various park facilities. Caprock Canyons State Park has been blessed with the support and patience of our park visitors and supporters and we are truly grateful. We are also grateful that despite the complete water outage, no one in our immediate park family or in our community was adversely affected in health and well-being by the winter storm. While some indeed suffered from the effects of water or electricity loss, we can honestly say that we are fortunate. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers continue to go out for those who were and continue to suffer the ill effects of the storm.

Our annual bison working lifted our spirits and again we were reminded that there’s always something good… a positive… in all areas of life. During our annual bison working, members of the Texas State Bison Herd are given an overall well-check. The positive- each and every member came away with a good bill of health. Another aspect to the annual bison working is to determine the health of the herd through pregnancy checks of all mature female bison for the coming year. The positive result- Most all bison cows (female bison) of the age of 3 or older were indeed carrying the next generation of the official herd of the state of Texas. This good news in addition to the well checks, vaccinations, and ear tags given to the new calves that were born the previous year gave us all a renewed sense of hope and even encouragement to continue on with the important job we’ve been entrusted to do. And even if currently, that job is to repair water leaks caused by mother nature, we’re empowered knowing what our job’s are for and why we continue striving to protect the valuable resources mother nature also freely gives.

Here’s some pictures from this year’s Bison Working:

Due to health and safety, Caprock Canyons State Park is still encouraging visitors to make reservations in advance of their arrival for both day use and overnight camping. At this time, reservations can be secured as far in advance as 5 months. The park normally reaches full capacity limits so please don’t wait! Secure your reservations as soon as possible.

Programs & Events:

While in person programming has not yet resumed, there are still various self-guided activities and programs available in the park to do for your Spring Break visit. Here’s some ideas:

  • The park offers a Junior Ranger Activity book. Just ask for this booklet available in the Visitor’s Center. Kids complete the number of activities for their age and then receive an official Junior Ranger badge!

Programs offered specifically during Spring Break (March 8th-March 20):

  • Fancy a good mystery? Grab a CSI (Canyon Scene Investigation) booklet and go on a mystery scavenger hunt in the park to solve the case of the “Mysterious Disappearance of the Missing Fawn”!

Ranger Recommendation:

Here at Caprock Canyons State Park, Spring weather is amazing but it certainly has a spring in it’s step so to speak with the wind. Windy conditions often present themselves during the Spring so if you’re planning on camping or picnicking in the park, come prepared for some windy gusts! Securely fasten down your tent by bringing along some additional tie downs and consider the direction of the wind when selecting the placement direction of your tent in your campsite. When picnicking, consider bringing easily served food in heavy containers instead of the items in their original packages which are often light weight and are easily blown away in the wind. Remember to package up your trash and dispose of them in park trash receptacles shielded from the wind.

Quote of the Month:

“We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.” ~William Hazlett

Pic of the Month:

Not many of our seasoned park employees here at Caprock Canyons have seen a completely frozen Lake Theo but that’s just what we were witness to during the frigid conditions of this most recent winter storm!

Lake Theo completely frozen with a thick layer of ice and snow!

Interpreter’s Corner:

Have you ever “seen” or had an insight into something that was the total opposite of how someone else perceived it? Probably one of the most amazing aspects to nature is it’s ability to meet each and every individual person right where they are in life. No matter what circumstance you find yourself in, nature always has something insightful to say. Sometimes though, we’re too quick to hear it. One of our jobs here at Caprock Canyons State Park is to help visitors listen to it so that they can receive the message. We can’t tell it what to say though. Only nature knows what you need. But, we can help you to hear it. First of all, you’ll need a connection. Go ahead and plug your connection in by getting outside and immersing yourself in nature. Think about how each individual aspect of nature relates to your own circumstances and your own life. Then, you’re going to need to listen…Intentionally. You can’t listen intently by having distractions so put your focus on the moment. I guarantee you’ll hear something far more important than you ever thought possible! You can’t see the wind… (Well, I guess you might say it’s possible in West Texas!) You can’t really “see” the wind, but just like nature, you can certainly hear it and feel it. So, the next time you’re here at Caprock Canyons State Park during the Spring and are conscious of its blustering winds, remember to listen to nature’s own personal message to you!

Happy Trails!