Caprock Canyon State Park is located in the vastness that is the Texas panhandle, the nearest town being Quitaque (pronounced; kitty-quay) a mere 3 miles away with its one street “downtown” area. Caprock was where we called home for the last full hitch of TAT’s six month season. It was, to me, by far the most beautiful state park we visited and we went to some pretty stellar parks. Our goal for this hitch was to slow down the amount of erosion on the Haynes Ridge trail by doing rock work, or installing rock features as steps and waterbars.
This was, I think, everybody’s first time doing rock work, and I for one, had a blast doing it! It was frustrating and time consuming, but very worth it in the end. Gus, Ian and myself focused the entirety of the hitch building at fairly nice sized retaining wall where part of the trail washed out and was becoming unsafe. This meant we had to get very large rocks (small boulders) from one area of the trail to our work site and to do so we enlisted the help of, our soon to be good friend, Mr. Grip Hoist! The grip hoist was how we were, slowly but surely, able to move our biggest rocks with ease. The rest of the crew was focused on building check steps, waterbars and a most excellent staircase.
While at Caprock we were able to see some awesome views from atop the canyon ridge we were working and a ton of beautiful wildlife. Caprock is home to Texas’ official bison herd, with somewhere around 130 bison that are allowed to roam freely over a large section of the park. Among bison we also saw, prairie dogs, road runners, coyotes, jack rabbits and even Texas’ state reptile the horned lizard!
Another highlight was being able to stay in a small house during the hitch which was a huge blessing because of the crazy weather we experienced. For most of the hitch it was sunny and about 85 degrees but not for all of it unfortunately. Mother Nature decided to throw us some curve balls in the form of hail, thunderstorms with very high speed winds and tornados just over 10 miles from camp. But when all was said and done with the crazy weather we saw some spectacular rainbows! One morning was even laden with heavy fog. So heavy that we couldn’t see the valley from on the canyon ridge at all. It gave the canyon a very eerie feeling and felt like we were up in the clouds.
Overall, this was my favorite hitch and one I’ll remember forever. I highly recommend visiting this park and getting to experience the bison and the canyons! And if you do, hopefully you will be luckier than we were with weather!
By: Jacob M.