Palo Duro is the second largest canyon in the United States, after the "Grand" one of course, and although there is no comparison between the two, it is pretty great compared to the flatness of Amarillo. When we arrived, we stopped at one of the scenic lookouts to admire the view and meet up with the rest of our group. Davey has no memories of our time in Utah surrounded by mountains, so this was pretty amazing to him. He was excited that we were going to go "down into the deep" for our hike.
Overlooking the canyon with his friend Jaxon
View from the Visitor's Center. We only stopped in to use the restroom, but next time we'll give ourselves a little more time to look at some of the displays.
Our group decided we were going to hike the "little cave," which is something I never would have found on my own. It's not on the map and the trail was not marked. I'm so glad I was able to find friends to go with! It was a easy hike to the cave, although Davey took awhile to work up the courage to walk without holding on to my hand. He hasn't done much hiking and the uneven ground and sand made him nervous. All the red rocks were beautiful and it almost felt like we were in Southern Utah instead of Texas.
Our group had 9 kids and 4 adults. Here are the 6 "big" kids and then we had 3 babies in packs.
I didn't take any photos while we were climbing through the caves because I needed to use my phone as a flashlight and it was hard work moving through with Charlie on my front, and dragging Davey. We made it though! The photo below was after emerging from the longest tunnel section. The cave was an upward climb, so after we reached the top we went back down on the surface of the hill. There was lots of loose rock and Davey kept slipping. I was holding him, so he never fell, but it made him a bit panicky and at one point he refused to keep moving. Thankfully there was another mom there that wasn't carrying a baby, and she was able to take him and guide him to the bottom. Strength in numbers!!
Davey was very happy when he reached the bottom, as was I. Carrying 20 pounds of Charlie was starting to get tiring!
After our hike we let the boys run around and throw rocks. Davey had a fantastic time, but I eventually had to pull him away so we could hike back to the car to eat lunch before heading home.
One last view before leaving - I'm glad we finally made the trip out there. I can't wait to go back!