If you asked most people where you would find a lighthouse the answer would be simple, by a large body of water with a rocky shore. If you ask a person from the Texas Panhandle, you might get a very different response. This is due to the fact that there is a lighthouse in the middle of a canyon. Yes, you just read that right in a canyon, Palo Duro Canyon State Park to be exact.
Palo Duro Canyon is home to the second largest canyon in the United States and is located just outside of the city of Canyon, Texas. This magnificent landform was created primarily by water erosion from the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River flowing through it. Many of the incredible landforms within the canyon, however, were created by wind. This includes the famous Lighthouse rock formation.
I was teaching Sara how to use a DSLR camera rather than her point-and-shoot, so we decided to spend one Saturday morning hiking and taking pictures in the canyon with her parents. We made sure we had all of the supplies that we would need, snacks, water (lots of water since it would get hot!), sunscreen, and of course the cameras. The hike out to the Lighthouse formation is about a six mile round trip walk, and we were moseying along taking our sweet time. We would occasionally stop to take pictures of a cactus, lizards, tarantulas, and the ever present remarkable red and white sedimentary rock layers surrounding us. The end of the Lighthouse trail is a challenge because you have to climb over boulders, but once you get to the top the view is absolutely unbelievable.
I had seen many pictures of the Lighthouse from a low vantage point; I wanted to see if I could get a picture from a higher view. So I decided to climb to the top of a neighboring landmark to get a better view. Getting up the landmark was not a problem, and I got the shot I was looking for but getting down proved to be a little more difficult. Thankfully both myself and the camera survived the descent. After getting down I thought both Sara and her mother were going to kill me for climbing so high! If you look closely at the picture you can see them sitting on a little wooden bench. I couldn’t wait to get home to look at my pictures so the return trip was quite a bit faster. I love this picture because you can see not only the Lighthouse but other parts of the canyon as well in the background.
The Lighthouse will always hold a special place in my heart as it is the location where I would later propose with a ringpop to my wife Sara!