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Canyon Rim Trail - Caprock
2 Photosets

2019-10-04  
2019-10-04  
mini location map2019-10-04
3 by photographer avatarmarkthurman53
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Cap Rock Canyon Loop, TX 
Cap Rock Canyon Loop, TX
 
Hiking avatar Oct 04 2019
markthurman53
Hiking16.59 Miles 1,707 AEG
Hiking16.59 Miles   7 Hrs   1 Min   2.89 mph
1,707 ft AEG   1 Hour   16 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Caprock Canyon Loop

I traveled back up to Caprock canyon State Park on my own this time to hit some of the trails I didn’t get to the last time I was here. Today’s hike would be one big loop hike that would encompass as many trails as made sense. I managed to string together almost all the trails but there were sections of a few trails I couldn’t get in. I will save them for the next time I’m in Lubbock. This hike turned out to be a respectable 17 miles with 2000 feet AEG.

I arrived at the park by 10:30 (sun doesn’t come up till just past 8:00 here) and it was foggy. Started out at the top on the Caprocks and took the Canyon Rim Trail down to the Little Red River. There might have been some good views here but all I saw was fog. The good news was it was slowly lifting, the bad news is the sun came out and it was muggy. At the Little Red River I headed back up a Mesa on the Mesa Trail. This Mesa was only about 200 feet high so it was a rather pleasant hike up and I had 2 miles to do it in, that’s hardly up hill at all. There are not a lot of views along the Mesa Trail but at times you do get a glimpse of the Southeast portion of the park. The vegetation on the mesa is fairly thick with juniper and at times visibility is just 10 yards. When I was on this trail on the upper part of the Mesa I ran into what I thought were just two buffalo, then two more and before long I realized I was in the middle of about 20 buffalo. They were quite docile but I knew it could be quite dangerous if they spooked, not because they are vicious but because 2000 pounds of beef on the hoof running scared is not something you want to be in the way of. It is kind of like being in the crosswalk when the light turns green.

From the Mesa trail I got onto the Lower North Prong Trail which was a pleasant walk along North Prong Creek. It had been raining here the last few days so the creek had a little water flowing in spots but it was very muddy. The walk along the creek was quite interesting with the red rock crisscrossed by gypsum and a thick layer of some kind of calcium carbonate rock that had the appearance of marble. Might have been dolomite but I could not find anything on the internet as to what it was. From the Lower North Prong trail I got back on the Upper North Prong that I was on a few days earlier, past Fern cave and back up on top of John Haynes Ridge. Haynes Ridge is a really neat trail. The walk along the John Haynes ridge is really flat for about 2 miles with one small section where you drop about 100 feet. At the two mile point you come to John Haynes Vista. By now the sun was out and the views along this ridge were spectacular. The sun enhanced the red rocks of the Llano Estacado to the north and south as far as you can see (which is not as far as you can see in Arizona). From the vista point the trail drops 500 feet in .4 miles. The lower portion of this trail is very steep and rocky but the footing is good, a lot of rock scrambling. I believe I would rather descend this portion of the trail than ascend it.

From the John Haynes Trail I would follow the North Prong Spur Trail to the Lower South Prong Trail and cut over to the Eagles Peak Trail. On the South Prong Trail I ran into another buffalo. I decided to wait for it to get off the trail but as it did another one was right behind it, then another and another. I thought enough of that; it was like waiting for a long slow train at a railroad crossing. I headed off to the left in the brush and as I got along side them I clapped my hands and hollered like a cowboy and they all took off running. They not only look like cattle but they respond like cattle. I didn't realize it at the time but there was a car along the road that parallels this trail and they were taking pictures as the Buffalo paraded single file across the road then all of a sudden as I spooked the buffalo they all took off on to the road and that car was surrounded by about a dozen buffalo. I don't think the people in the car knew what happened. The Eagles Peak Trail is kind of a sleeper with the exception of the natural arch that passes under the trail. Once at the end of the Eagles Peak Trail it was just a couple tenths of a mile back to where I started.

This was a fun hike in a different type of environment. When I get back to Lubbock I will have to come back to finish up what I didn’t get to do today.
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