Sunday, March 9, 2014

I wanna be a cowboy, baby

I turned 32 last week. (Happy birthday to me!) I have reached the point in my life where I am largely responsible for buying myself birthday presents, and I did not shirk my responsibility to me. Season football tickets, knives (I'm a romantic), a great homemade dinner and of course red rocks. There's nothing like 10 miles under the Texas sky to make me feel, well, exhausted and dirty. Also really great. 

Palo Duro Canyon (it means hard wood) outside of Amarillo is an oasis of desert in the West Texas plains. Its most defining feature is The Lighthouse. 

I've been to a lighthouse or two in my day and while this is a great rock sculpture that towers over the surrounding environment, this one appeared to be missing a few things -- like a light. A house. A lighthouse keeper. And I feel like there's something else ...

My hike was a combination of four different trails. I saw a few runners (jealous! I'll be returning there with running shoes one of these days), a lot of bikers (it seems like a good place to go mountain biking, in that the vertical is way less scary than in other places I've been) and then a couple of hikers. And quite a few dogs. I missed Obscenity. (Can you miss a dog you haven't gotten yet?)

And, for all of you hiking purists who think there's no way hiking in West Texas can compare to other places, let me dissuade you of that. Who needs Wyoming when you can find a Teton here?

This is me on top of Palo Duro's Teton.

And yup, that's the Teton. It's not taken from a weird angle to make it legitimately small. It's about 30 feet in elevation and at the top is a bench. By that bench is a rock that says "Diane: 1956-2010. She loved this canyon." I totally want a rock like that with my name on it on the top of Angel's Landing. And on St. Gellert's Hill in Budapest. And in the Alps. And I want to be buried in this tiny, quaint cemetery on the Aran Islands in Ireland. And I want people to tell funny stories about me at my funeral and in my obituary, and I hope whoever gets my life insurance money uses it to travel the world. 

Also, I walked past this. I don't know how a pile of rocks makes rain, but if that's what it takes, I'll start piling them up.

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