March 9, 2013 – arriving at 12:30 pm
I left the Tractor Ranch, then turned left on I-127 southbound towards Palo Duro Canyon State Park. I was soooo stoked, seeing the canyon for the first time since the last time I visited during summer 1997, spending time with my new girlfriend, Kris and her kids who lived in Amarillo then.
I passed the church that was located on the right side, continuing my drive until that caught my eye from the back road on the front view mirror . I had to do it! click, click….
The Cross – reflected from Rear-view mirror
I arrived at the headquarters. It was a busy afternoon for these three rangers for many campers to request camping. One particular Ranger did a few glances at me from the desk. I thought maybe I was pretty quiet and patient, standing in the corner near the wall, waiting. But it was not only her, but some campers watched and giggled. The Ranger finally whispered at her fellow employee, they giggled, still glancing at me. I was puzzled, then I finally jerked my head, gesturing “what’s up?” The Ranger came to me, trying to speak to me. After my explanation to her that I was Deaf, she pulled out pen and paper, wrote it down, showed me the pad, saying “I love your thingy…(her finger pointing at my head)…ah, they were talking about THIS! I was absentmindedly still wearing my “thingy…” Now that was funny!
I was glad I could able to amuse them with that silly “thingy” whatever they called it. We went on having me to register for the camping that night, still the ranger glanced at my “thingy”. I giggled softly. I got the Texas Parks and Wildlife Passport card for $3 so I could have some discounts there or any park in Texas. They assigned me at the Fortress Cliff Camp Area. My tent assignment was number 39. I went outside of the headquarters, there was a Longhorn eating some hay! I was amazed by his size and the horns. I took a few pictures of him.
When I got there, it was not too far from where the rest rooms were at. The showers, all right, were there …however, it was boarded up. Sigh... I needed a shower so bad! There was one more plus access: I was not too far from the Lighthouse Trail where the rangers recommended me to check it out. Okay, back to my original, desperate focus: where were the showers located at?? I checked its map and I found one. I had to hop in my car and went there. It was at Mesquite Camp Area where there were a lot of RV’s and it was about 2 miles long from where I stayed at. I checked the restroom. Yes, there were two shower stalls and no one were occupied. Yes!
I immediately hauled my bag out of the trunk and ran inside, getting the shower stall to myself. It was a success. It was still cold outside but to my surprise, it was warm inside! When the hot water touched my skin, I let it out, “ahhhhh, it felt so goooood!” I stayed there for one hour and 45 minutes, dressed up and felt so fresh. I came out of the shower stall, still no one were inside of the restroom. Good, glad I was not selfish after all, having a shower all to myself for almost 2 hours.
Back to my camping site, it was still very windy, I opted out setting up a tent. I knew I couldn’t do it by myself against the heavy winds. It was close to 3 p.m. I ate my lunchables and water while I was uploading pictures from all morning long, visiting three different ranches and the nice pair of legs. I fell asleep inside the car…..pretty HARD!
Waking up at 6 pm, my eyes were all blurred, looked at my watch. Oh gawk! The three hours already passed. I thought, I must not miss the sunset! The uploading was finished long ago. I hopped back in the front seat and drove to the Lighthouse parking lot. I grabbed my camera, gopro and I got out as fast as I could. There were still some light. Good, good!
I didn’t take a 6 mile hike. I didn’t have enough time. It was very windy, still dealing with at least 40 mph gusts and about 60 degrees, warmer than the ranches I visited earlier. I thought the sun would go down around 6:30 pm, no, it didn’t until 7:45 pm. It was not daylight savings time yet but it acted like this. I waited and waited, very shivering, my teeth chattering, and my hand clenching the pole stay still against the wood post. It was hard. When the sunset, the temperature went down to 45 degrees when I quit. The sunset was quite, pretty close, to the Lighthouse on the top of the cliff. A guy who passed by where I stood by waiting for the sunset go down, he muttered something, I signaled my hand to my ear, then my hand “cutting” my neck then he probably thought it was some winds hindering my hearing, he came real close to me, trying to speak through my ear. I stopped him from getting real close, then I signed to him THAT I CAN’T HEAR, then I mouthed I’ M DEAF! He finally realized that I was Deaf. He then gestured some …a twirl …up in air….rattle (clutching his hand to shake)….he had two fingers on his teeth…fangs….I thought oh fuck!! A rattlesnake! “Where, where, WHERE?!” I animated wildly!! He held my arm, trying to tell me to calm down. He pointed his finger towards the bushes..then he said something ..far…far…over…..it was like 10-15 feet away from us. Shit! I thought I’d better get my ass out of here immediately…he nodded his head, yeah, yeah! I assembled my gopro back in my bag. I looked up and realized that the guy disappeared, leaving me alone …already. Sheesh… I think he was as scared shit as me. It was close getting into the dark. I followed the path where I was walking from, realized there were few different hike trails…dang…..good thing I had a flashlight in my bag. I froze, didn’t know where I went, waved my flashlight in the air, hoping somebody saw it. I was amazed how the stars showed up. I felt like my finger could touch a star really close. Within 5-10 minutes passing by, sure enough, the male ranger came with a smile on his face. It was a HUGE relief on my face. He led me to the parking lot. I was glad the rattlesnake was nowhere nearby as the ranger told me however he heard a few snakes hissing about 10 feet away from us. I hopped in my car, having serious goosebumps all over my spine.
Back to my site, it was pretty much in pitch dark and it was hard to see the “next door” tent neighbors over there. I fell asleep about at 9:30 pm, blanket over my head. It was about 30 degrees, still with heavy winds. I felt some shaking all night long through while I slept. My feet were freezing. I finally opened some hand warmers and shook them until they activated to be getting warmer. I put them inside my socks…and it helped a lot!
I woke up in the morning around six when the sun shined upon us. I saw some tents struggling to stay still, some gone (probably fed up with the cold and winds) , and some stuck halfway around the tent poles or pillars. Wow. Okay, things were intact around me. I went around looking at the cliffs, took some photos (really took 3- minutes between hopping out and jumping back in car) and drove around the Park Road 5 almost all over the canyon…..damn heavy winds and cold still. I was itching to get out and drive on my way to Roswell, New Mexico. I left the canyon about at 10:30 am…
The morning was very breathtaking when I was on the road for Roswell, New Mexico.
I spent $15 for the overnight tent camping, $31.43 on gas and $ 6.37 for drinks and candy. The total was $37.80 for the whole day visiting 3 different ranches, one attraction and one state park on that day.
The YAKTRAX hand warmers is from Sport Authority and it will stay warm for 8 hours, for your hands but yeah it worked for my feet also. There are toe warmers too…next time I will try them. All you can do is to open them from the plastic wrapper, shake them until its activated and then you can stuff it in your pockets or gloves. Like a glow stick.
11450 State Highway Park Road 5, Canyon, Texas