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Palo Duro Canyon - My last stop in Texas (15)

Texas, oh Texas, the Lone Star state, you welcomed me with a full moon simmering on your sea. Now it's time to say goodbye, and the full moon is again above me with its magic lighting the canyon. You capture my heart Texas! I will forever have a special place in my heart for the beauty, the open land, and the endless horizons you provided. You let me feel free and bold!

It is a very foggy morning and I don't see much of my surroundings, however, I do hope it will change soon. Part of the enjoyment of a long drive is seeing new views. Luckily after an hour, the sun is out and the skies are casting a beautiful blue with fluffy clouds. My view is full of open land, trees, ranches, cows, and horses.

Interestingly, I feel sad saying goodbye to someone I just met, but the weekend with Suzanne was lovely, and I'm so glad I made an effort to come and meet her. Yummy! Suzanne packs a piece of her apple pie for the road. Thank YOU, Suzanne!

When I entered Hill Country, I noticed many dead trees along my travel. They capture my attention, and I am fascinated by their naked beauty. There is something about those trees that steel my heart. They are beautiful, even though they have no life to them anymore.

One thing about driving many hours is that you have plenty of time to be in your own head. I feel strongly attracted to those trees, and they are here to teach me a lesson. The lesson I take from them is the power in me to choose and see the beauty and good in life.

After eight hours of driving, I am exhausted. However, I have no reservations for the night, so I park at a truck stop in Lubbock to make my life simple. Although it is my first time trying this kind of accommodation, it is good enough for me tonight.

When I got to the gate of Palo Duro Canyon (the second-largest canyon in the United States), the ranger informed me that most of the park was closed for the hunting season.

My heart sank. I made Palo Duro Canyon one of my destinations after reading and seeing the beautiful pictures of the lighthouse (a famous rock formation in the park). I took a deep breath, my naked trees lesson helped me lift my disappointment, and I decided to make the best with what I had. Ten minutes later, when I got to the visitor center, I was told that the hunting season was ending in two days. Hallelujah! In the meantime, I hiked the CCC trail and enjoyed the view.

Since I'm tired from not having the best night's sleep, I find myself getting to my camping spot around 3:00 p.m. It is, so far, my favorite spot. The campground is situated at the bottom of the canyon, and my view is spectacular! I refresh myself with a hot shower, yoga, and reading. I sit down and write another poem.

Your absence is as deep as my horizon, endless mountains, skies, and clouds.

Your presence is as strong as the wild winds blowing between the canyon around me.

I feel your guidance through my challenges and my triumphs.

Your love is a gift I am so thirsty for.

It is a beautiful comfort to know you are out there still loving me.

You are still taking care of me, your child, your daughter.

The evening is approaching slowly, with the full moon resting between the ridge of the mountains. What a sight!

Knowing I might encounter freezing weather in the canyon, I purchased a heating blanket to plug into an outlet (my site has electricity and water). What a luxury!

I take my time in the morning. The cold temperature doesn't bother me anymore. Even though making coffee takes me about 15 minutes, it is a beautiful ceremony, and I swear the coffee tasted better! By noon the rain started, so no hiking today. Instead, I decided to check out the nearby town, Canyon. Canyon is the home of West Texas A&M University.

I found myself on the university campus heading to the library with my laptop hanging on my shoulder. Writing is very new to me. It started with the request to blog about my journey. I am still surprised by my own style and the ability to put words into a story. I found writing to be therapeutic. Even though it seems like I am writing to an audience, I am writing it to myself. It is my diary.

Having a kind neighbor with an RV next to you is a bonus. With Randy, I was able to refreeze my ice pack and my ice bottle, and have a pleasant conversation about life and relationships.

After dinner, I took a walk around the campground. I always like to go around and say hello to the other campers. Suddenly, a bird caught my eye. She was running on the ground, and all I needed to do was return to my childhood memories of watching cartoons. To know this was a roadrunner was very cool!

It's a beautiful day here. The sun is out and a light breeze is in the air. I am hiking to the lighthouse (a 6.5-mile round trip). The formations around me are so rich in texture and color, with layers of history telling me a story of patience and resilience. The sun is behind me, and I can hike without my sunglasses and truly experience the vibrant colors around me—beautiful earth-tone colors resting on the background of the blue skies.

Two women were hiking towards me just as I came down from the lighthouse. We said hello, and one of them turned to me and asked where my accent came from. That was Christina. When I mentioned I am from Israel, the conversation took us to a beautiful level of connection. All three of us felt an instant bond. The hike back with Wendy and Christina was another spiritual journey for me. When it was time to say goodbye, Wendy turned to me and said, "It was a divine appointment to meet you today." I felt the same way. Another beautiful day, another beautiful gift.

It is freezing this morning, and even my heating blanket is having a hard time giving me much-needed heat. It's time to pack the car again and hit the road. I am heading to New Mexico to spend a week in Santa Fe. I am planning to visit the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Taos Pueblo, Chimayo, Bandelier, and do local hikes. I visited Santa Fe two years ago, but it was just for a day. I wanted to come back and take my time.

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Dec 11, 2022

Gila, It was wonderful meeting you in Palo Duro Canyon. Safest of travels to you and have a great time in New Mexico! Maureen & Richard Simmons (Texas transplants from Pennsylvania & Colorado).

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