I’m still incredulous that in our first two years in Texas, nobody had told us about this place. Standing there looking at it, I wanted to hike down with just my camera and a couple bottles of water. The next time I’m there, that’s exactly what I’ll do.
A little side trip on the way home from New Mexico, Palo Duro Canyon was touted as the nation’s second-largest. That’s a little misleading, because neither its depth nor its breadth took my breath. It was my fault for imagining Grand Canyon Lite. Like its larger cousin, however, it featured rich colors that span the eons.
This was a scouting trip, and it warranted a return. The most distinctive feature of the canyon, Lighthouse Rock, juts higher than 300 feet into the air. Sadly for us, it’s a 3-mile hike one way and we didn’t have time for it.
At one of the many tiny towns were traversed on our trek home, a vintage Mobil gas station caught my eye. As I snapped pictures of it, a rusted Chevrolet Caprice Classic skidded to a gravelly stop nearby. A man, mid-thirties with long, greasy, dark brown hair jumped up from the driver’s seat and yelled to me over the top of the car.
“Looks pretty good, huh?”
“Yeah, it’s cool,” I said. I put my camera back up to my face and snapped another frame.
“I painted it myself. I’m not finished yet. They’re in my way still with the sidewalk work.”
“Well, it looks great so far,” I said.
“Do you have a pen or something so I can write down my name and number? You got any painting needs done?”
“Well, actually, we’re headed home to the Dallas area. Just passing through.”
“Oh, okay.” He got back behind the wheel and shut his door, then drove away kicking up the same gravel he’d pushed into a pile when he stopped.
“Weird,” I muttered, thinking maybe it was time to get back into the minivan with Shannon and Ben.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, just the way we like it.
Thanks, everybody, for following along.