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Oct 28 2021
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 Guides 187
 Routes 829
 Photos 9,801
 Triplogs 662

69 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
North and South Prong Loop, TX 
North and South Prong Loop, TX
 
Hiking avatar Oct 28 2021
markthurman53Triplogs 662
Hiking10.67 Miles 1,296 AEG
Hiking10.67 Miles   5 Hrs   52 Mns   2.07 mph
1,296 ft AEG      43 Mns Break
 
We closed out October with a hike in Caprock Canyon along the North and South Prongs of the Little red River. We did this hike in a clockwise direction doing the uphill climb to Haynes Ridge first, Fern Cave then down the North Prong, returning on the South Prong. Good views over Caprock Canyon State Park from Haynes Ridge. The trails were all in god condition with no one on them except two park rangers who were looking for a horse that had run off after bucking its rider. The walks along the North and South Prongs with its red cliffs and layers of Gypsum and limestone were fascinating. On this trip the creeks were dry with an exception of a slow trickle at fern cave.

There were only a couple of cars at the park all day so it was fairly empty. The weather was in the low 60's but with a strong breeze especially on the ridge. Lots of buffalo, the herds appeared to have grown since I was here last.
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Oct 04 2019
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 Guides 187
 Routes 829
 Photos 9,801
 Triplogs 662

69 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Cap Rock Canyon Loop, TX 
Cap Rock Canyon Loop, TX
 
Hiking avatar Oct 04 2019
markthurman53Triplogs 662
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.
Flora
Flora [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Blazing star
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Oct 01 2019
avatar

 Guides 187
 Routes 829
 Photos 9,801
 Triplogs 662

69 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
North and South Prong Loop, TX 
North and South Prong Loop, TX
 
Hiking avatar Oct 01 2019
markthurman53Triplogs 662
Hiking7.70 Miles 955 AEG
Hiking7.70 Miles   4 Hrs   11 Mns   2.44 mph
955 ft AEG   1 Hour   2 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
Partners none no partners
South and North Prong Loop

I have been in Texas the last two weeks near Lubbock and was going stark raving crazy because there isn’t anything around that even resembles a mountain. With a little research I found Caprock Canyon State Park. This is very much like Palo Duro State Park in that it is along the western edge of the Llano Estacado. This is an uplifted area that encompasses eastern New Mexico and Northwest Texas. The Spanish called it “Hay Sierras debajo de los llanos” - There are mountains below the plains. It has the word mountain in it and that is good enough for me, I am desperate. This park about 90 miles from Lubbock is within a day’s striking distance and has about 30 miles of trails.

The first days hike was with a friend from Lubbock who could navigate the back roads to get me there. We decided on a loop hike along the Upper South Prong and Upper North Prong of the Little Red River for an 8 mile loop hike. We didn’t know it but there are 3 what they call challenging hikes in this park and we picked two of them. I didn’t think they were all that challenging but they did get your heart rate up. The area sort of reminds me of a mini Sedona without all of the tourist, busy town and traffic; actually I guess it was nothing like Sedona except for the red rock cliffs. The day was overcast so even though it was rather humid by Tucson standards it was pleasant.

The rock formations were quite interesting, red sand/mudstone with white gypsum bands cutting through them horizontally with an occasional diagonal one for variation. On this hike we did come across 1 lone buffalo in the upper south prong canyon. After leaving South Prong Canyon and crossing over John Haynes Ridge we headed down the Upper North Prong Canyon with a stop at Fern Cave. Actually more like a cove, covered in ferns as the name implies. There is a water fall that comes down over the cove but when we were there it wasn’t flowing, would be neat to see that. We continued down the North Prong with more interesting rock formations and returned to our starting point along the North prong Spur Trail. Really nice hike and I got my fix at least until I can come back on my own in two days to finish up some of the trails we didn’t get to today.
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average hiking speed 2.47 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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