Camping In Palo Duro Canyon

Mara and I camped in Palo Duro Canyon on July 24th for one night, our first camping trip since Wobbles was born and first night with Wobbles staying with grandparents. Mara wanted to capture audio for a new play that Cry Havoc is doing and the canyon is a perfect spot for that.

The weather really cooperated and was cooler than lots of July days might have been. We even got a little bit of rain when we first got to the camping site. We were in the Sagebrush camping area in site 118. On the website, it said it was the last one available for the night we were there. Upon arrival, there were lots of empty spots so I assume they are throttling the people they allow in because of COVID.

The campsite was a pretty good one. It was as far away from the bathrooms as possible which is actually good as that limits your noise and disturbances from that. It had a level spot for setting up up a tent, even though Sagebrush is predominantly an RV section because of the electric and water. After 4 years of not setting up a tent, we got the tent up with almost no trouble. The park has clearly been getting some of the bond money from the 2018 election. Our area had all new gazebos over the picnic tables and they were building some fancy glamping yurts about 300 yards behind our campsite.e They aren’t on the map yet but 2 of them are done and had occupants while we were there.

Getting the air mattress set up was another story. We had gotten a new one for Christmas 2019 from my parents but had never inflated it. It turned out to be mostly made for house guests as it had a wall plug as the main way to inflate it. We didn’t have the backup battery operated pump so we laid it out by the truck, plugged it in to the electric tower there. When filled, it looked like a small air balloon. It even has a backboard sort of thing to keep pillows from falling off the back. Luckily, we had brought the big tent and were able to carry it over and somehow managed to work it in.

Once all that was taken care of, we went out for reconnaissance on recording spots. The audio equipment that she has is incredibly sensitive. It can pick up car traffic and planes overhead so we were looking for remote. The first place we went was up the Rock Garden Trail. We hiked in about half a mile and set up in a semi shady place on the trail. We got some good recording including that of a lizard in a nearby bush that on tape sounds like a dinosaur stomping around.

That night, we went to the Equestrian area which turned out to be perfect. We found a grove of cottonwood trees about a half mile to set up chairs in. She recorded for about 2 hours while I read. Right at sunset, a flock of wild turkeys came in to roost for the night in the trees around us. It’s always fun seeing the big birds fly up to roost.

We returned somewhat early the next morning to the same place. The turkeys had already come down so we missed that. Returning to camp, we made a little breakfast and just enjoyed being outdoors before the sun got too hot. About 8:30, another small flock of turkeys came through hunting grasshoppers around the mesquite trees. They were no more than 20 ft from us which was cool. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of them.

By 10 AM, it was already 90 degrees and time to break camp. Overall, it was a good trip though I’m ready for cooler weather for our next camping trip. We are probably inheriting an RV soon and that will be a radical change in our ability to go camping.

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