Heaven for Hikers, Bikers and Birders beneath the Spanish Skirts

Ok, first, “Spanish Skirts” is a reference to the conical, flared rock and soil formations at the bottom of the Palo Duro Canyon (alluvial fans). Easy to visualize what is meant when you actually see them, right?

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We had another wonderful 8.4-mile hike on the GSL Trail today. Since I have been ITCHING to get down into the intense red earth, I was delighted to discover that the entire path ran on soft red clay. Such a treat for the eyes to get up close and ogle the rock formations, and since the earthen path was so soft, it was like hiking on foam rubber!

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GSL is a multi-use trail, so we had ample opportunities to cross paths with bikers, joggers, birders and other hikers. Since we have hiked 7 of the last 8 days, it was a relief to have the entire trail running mostly on level ground and not at elevation. Time for a rest from the climbing! We’ve clocked nearly 50 miles, much of it with substantial climbs in elevation.

The Palo Duro Canyon runs much further than the borders of the park. We wanted to drive somewhere that was not on park property, to stop at road cuts and collect interesting rocks.

Ranger Jeff pointed us in the direction of Farm Road 207, so we took off after lunch for prospecting. Got a lovely cross-section of specimens, including dark red claystone and satin spar gypsum. Yay!! Our granddaughter is gonna love them, to say nothing of our rock-hounding friends!

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