Caprock Canyon, Palo Duro Canyon, Capulin Volcano and on to Denver


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May 20th 2013
Published: May 26th 2013
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AndieAndieAndie

Andie is keeping me company
May 19 - Snyder to Caprock Canyon and Palo Duro Canyon - It had finally cooled off when I got down into the canyon at Caprock Canyons State Park but it was still hot and humid when I came back out and very windy on the drive from Caprock Canyon to Palo Duro Canyon although it cooled down again in Palo Duro canyon. I had been fighting heavy winds ever since I left Snyder. They made for a very difficult drive and I had to keep a good grip on the steering wheel to keep from getting blown off the road. It was also still oppressively hot and humid.

A campsite with water and electricity in Palo Duro Canyon was $24. I stayed at the Mesquite Campground which was the deepest into the canyon and to my mind had the best view. The sites there were spacious as well.

May 20 - After staying overnight at Palo Duro Canyon I got up early while it was still cool and drove onwards towards Raton, New Mexico on Hwy 87 via Dumas and Dalhart. Dumas has a MacDonalds for Wifi. They had some bigger tables in the kiddie playground section that had electrical plugs so I sat in that section and at first there were no kids but then some people came in with one and he of course was the kind who had to holler to his parents every 15 seconds……sigh. One of these days I will remember to bring in my earphones.

I also got some money from the Bank of America ATM in Dumas as they don’t have any BOA’s in Colorado for some strange reason.

On the way to Raton as I climbed up out of the plains it got cooler finally and by the time I got to the rest area west of Grenville, New Mexico it had finally cooled down to a tolerable level. This rest area would have been a good place to overnight as the state of New Mexico allows 24 hours parking. It had nice well maintained restrooms and a large parking area for RV’s.

After taking a lengthy break at the rest area west of Grenville I continued on to Capulin Volcano National Monument. I had intended to walk around the rim of the extinct volcano which was only a mile walk but I hadn’t taken into account the altitude adjustment I would have had to make first. College Station, Texas is 333 ft above sea level. The parking lot at the monument visitor center was 7242 ft. There is a 2 mile drive around the volcano cone to near the top that is very scenic but on a very narrow road with no guard rails or turnouts. The parking lot at the end of the road is 7900 ft. From there I had hike to the summit at 8182 ft. I started out on the very steep trail but after 3 stops to get my breath back I had only made it about 300 yards. So I decided it wasn’t worth the very real possibility of dropping dead of a heart attack and hiked back down to the parking lot. I figure I can try again on the way back when I will have had a month or so to adjust to the higher altitudes.

After I toured the volcano I continued on to Raton and over the Raton Pass. Gas prices had increased dramatically from $3.29 a gallon in central Texas to $3.89 in Raton, New Mexico. After going over the Raton pass I stopped in the MacDonalds in Trinidad, Colorado. I got a Sr coffee and got on the internet to check out a few things and send a few emails out.

I had intended on overnighting at the SuperWalmart in Trinidad and then ease in for the last 200 miles on Tuesday but could not resist the temptation to finish the long drive.

So I continued on to Denver and arrived there about 8:30 PM. I was very tired and just unloaded what I needed for the night, visited with my nephew a bit and then went to bed.

I had arrived in Denver Monday night after a 377 mile drive the last day from Palo Duro Canyon in Texas.

The next morning I unloaded the truck and pretty much invested the day in regrouping and refitting. Then I explored the local area Tuesday and Wednesday and drew a map showing where the SuperWalmart, Sam’s, MacDonalds, good pizza places and Mexican food restaurants etc. were located. I also did a lot of homework on figuring out where I want to go on my next trip which will be out of Denver.


Additional photos below
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I figured this was far enoughI figured this was far enough
I figured this was far enough

At Capulin Volcano I got this high from the parking lot but decided not to go any further until I had adjusted to the altitude a bit.


26th May 2013

I'll make sure you don't have to exercise too much when you get here Wednesday...
as we are at 8500 ft. I'm looking forward to our visit!
28th May 2013

Wandering around western Colorado
I apologize but Friday I took off for a 3 day trip but now that I am out wandering around again I keep seeing things just down the road I want to visit while I am out here so I probably won't get back to Denver till next week. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. My internet and cell service is intermittent at best since I am camping in the mountains most of the time. There is still much to see and do.

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