Into the Light [house]

The last full weekend of January 2020 was predicted to be in the mid-60s and sunny. The perfect winter day in the panhandle of Texas. This perfect weather combined with Llama’s traveling companions need to turn in their entries to the 2020 Palo Duro Photo Contest meant —— ROADTRIP!

Driving into Palo Duro State Park

Texas’ Grand Canyon

Hoping in the car and heading to Palo Duro is a short 2-hour drive from Llama’s home. The drive, straight up I27, is flat and straight and very brown at this time of winter. This uninteresting drive belies the beauty ahead.

Palo Duro Canyon SP is one of two in the area with the other being not far away, Caprock Canyon SP. Palo Duro Canyon is the 2nd largest canyon in the United States and perfect for llamas who love to climb. Heading out midmorning with the weather in the low 50s when Llama arrived at the park it was the perfect day to hike the Lighthouse.

The Lighthouse Trail is a 6-mile roundtrip hike that is rated moderate.

Hard to see, but Llama always reviews his trail map first.
Michael starting down the trail
Capitol Peak – The Lighthouse is on the other side
Llama and Karol starting on the trail

Most of the hike was relatively level trail with the scary part (that’s what Karol said) coming right at the Lighthouse.

Circling around the back of Capitol Peak

Well, Llama was very proud of his traveling campions. They pushed themselves, doing what the Boy Scout climbing ahead of them called a Cat 3 climb (hands, knees, and butts needed to go up and down) and didn’t fall down the cliff on the ascent or twist anything on the way down.

Llama LOVED it!

Our way back down and this was the easy part!

The Lighthouse is the iconic symbol of Palo Duro Canyon. The colors and layers are stunning. Today the weather climbed to about 62 degrees while they hiked and, shockingly for West Texas, there was no wind. It was the perfect day.

During their 6 miles Llama met other hikers, young and old, Red Raider fans, other Texans, a couple from Idaho, mountain bikers, and joggers. He even made friends with some other 4-legged hikers!

This is Ali & Burt. Aren’t they beautiful!

Palo Duro Canyon has lots of hikes, perfect for a day trip whatever your skill level. Llama was lucky as this was winter and the temperature was perfect. But even with that Llama is always careful to hydrate. Llama really gets stressed out when he sees fellow hikers out on trails with no water or one little bottle. He hopes they are just walking a part of trail but he worries. Heed the advice. Heat related illness can come on so rapidly.

Llama stopping to taken a drink from his Platypus Collapsible water bottle. Click here for info on the water bottle. Pretty cool. Though it was cool today, the Lighthouse trail is long and hydration is important. During the hotter times of the year it is recommended each hiker bring a gallon of water. Don’t forget water for your 4-legged friends too.

You can barely see the Lighthouse in the distance.
If heading all the way to the Lighthouse is not in your plans, this viewpoint at 1.5 miles is a great goal that is very doable and provides spectacular scenery.
At 2.5 miles you really start to feel like you have made it. Psych! Not yet. Still another .5 mile of trail, then the scramble up.
We made it up without falling off the edge. Why do we always seem to pick the risky option?
Worth it. ⛰

Finally, Llama is again so thank Karol totes her Cotopaxi daypack. It is a comfortable ride when he needs it and has the best logo. Llamas rule!

To see about ordering one of these backpacks you can click here. Llama likes their mission.