From Plains to Vistas – Palo Duro Adventure

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While on the way to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, a sense of excitement and curiosity overcame me. This would be my very first Jeep Jamboree event, and I didn’t know what to expect. It was also the 20th anniversary for Jeep Jamboree, founded by Mark A. Smith, which made the event even more exciting.

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The drive so far seemed somewhat boring to me; nothing but flat, grassy terrain that seemed to go on forever. However, the closer we came to the park, it was as if a canyon just seemed to appear out of thin air. Who would have ever guessed that after miles of flatland that a majestic, beautiful, and breathtaking sight would be awaiting us?

Palo Duro Canyon has often been referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Texas.” The multi-colored layers of rock and the canyon’s geological features make it similar in composition to that of the Grand Canyon. In addition, the size of the canyon makes it the second largest canyon in the continental United States behind, of course, the Grand Canyon.

The canyon was formed primarily by water erosion by the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River. The oldest layers of rock ore, Cloud Chief Gypsum, date back 250 million years ago. The most prominent layer of rock is the Quartermaster formation, which is seen with its red clay stone/sandstone and white layers of gypsum.

We arrived at the Canyon extremely early on the first day and after an 11.5 hour drive, we decided to pick out a good spot to set up our campsite instead of join the group for the first day’s trail ride. After a long day of driving, we thought it would be a good idea to catch some Z’s and to get plenty of rest for all of the fun and excitement that awaited us the next day.

Upon waking up the following day, we were eager to check out the amazing “Cowboy breakfast” that we had heard so much about. Frank and I had both heard of just how incredible these breakfasts are, and we weren’t disappointed by any means! Everyone is hard at work by the break of dawn preparing the pan-fried sausage and the incredible sourdough biscuits. Breakfast was made complete by the addition of scrambled eggs, gravy, orange juice and coffee.

The best part of the breakfast for me was the biscuits that the staff prepares by means of a Dutch oven. These biscuits set the standard, and I have yet to put another biscuit in my mouth that compares to the savory taste of those at the ranch.

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