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Palo Duro Canyon State Park

The road stretched ahead, seemingly endless, much like the horizon over the Gulf of Mexico. I had two young companions, aged 6 and 8, full of excitement for the adventure that lay ahead. They weren’t just kids on a road trip; they were explorers, eager for adventure and joy. Their enthusiasm brought back my own love for travel, ignited by their infectious spirit.

With their bright, curious eyes leading the way, we set off on our grand adventure – two young hearts filled with the spirit of youth. Our destination? Seven national parks, across deserts and mountains, where we painted our journey with experiences. Each stop a new story, every mountain called with new adventure, every hot spring we dipped into added to our shared tale.

Our journey unfolded like a dance – a spontaneous waltz with the world around us, guided not by plans but by our hearts’ longing for the unexplored. The road became our muse, a song of ever-rolling exploration.

We said our farewells to Galveston, the shoreline quietly bidding adieu as we hit the road in our trusty 2017 Toyota Tacoma – a modern vessel for our voyage of discovery. With each turn of the wheel, our excitement surged, for the road held promises of the yet-to-be-discovered.

Our compass pointed us to Durango, a name on the map whispered like a secret by the wind itself. Our destination was more than a place; it was a dream etched into reality.

Our first stop brought us to Palo Duro Canyon, a natural wonder with its pink-hued sandstone cliffs and vast vistas. This Texan canyon, the second-largest in the United States, stretched from Amarillo to Dallas, offering breathtaking sights and inviting trails. Under the July sun, bugs buzzed around persistently, a reminder of the season’s heat.

On one of our hikes, a trek to Lighthouse Rock extended for about 5 miles, longer than we’d planned. The trail wound through captivating landscapes, showcasing nature’s artistry. It was during this adventure that an extraordinary encounter unfolded.

Amidst our journey, a remarkable moment took center stage. As if choreographed by the spirit of adventure, we came face to face with a tarantula on our path – a curious, eight-legged guardian. This gentle creature allowed us to pass, leaving us with an extra thread of wonder woven into our expedition. This unexpected encounter became a pivotal highlight of our escapade.