On our West Texas Trail Walkers Volksmarch weekend, our second "walk" is the Comanche Trail. Bob wanted to run the 20k (12.4 mile) trail by himself as part of his marathon training. The Volksmarch flyer describes this as: "the more difficult 20k includes the Rock Garden Trail up to the rim and along the Rylander Fortress Cliff Trail." Uh, Bob, do you think you can run that? The brochure also says: "Safety: PLEASE DO NOT HIKE ALONE." [Emphasis theirs.] So I made an agreement to hike the whole 20k with him. [NOTE: We did NOT run!]
Saturday morning was cool, but not cold. When we arrived at the Volksmarch start point at Chinaberry Day Use area we decided not to take coats. (Wise decision!) We had a backpack with six 16.9 fl. oz. bottles, two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grapes, and whole grain chips. (I had wanted to take two more bottles of water, but Bob decided to leave them in the car.)
At the start point, we found out mountain bikers were having an event on the same trails we would be on this weekend. Yikes! That is not a good mix: slow walkers and fast mountain bikers. Thankfully, this was not a big issue today.
The air was clear and we started our climb up the Comanche Trail. The trail climbed steadily, leveled out for a bit, then had a series of ups and downs. Looking out over the canyon as we climbed and watching the sun creep down the canyon walls made for a beautiful start to our day. We were fresh and energetic. This was new territory for us.
|Starting to get panoramic views from the trail|
|Colorful strata - each color from a different time period|
|Palo Duro Canyon from Comanche Trail|
|Our view as we get closer to the top|
|A flat part of Comanche Trail|
|View of Palo Duro Canyon|
|North end of Rylander Fortress Cliff|
|Rylander Fortress Cliff - We hiked the top from one end |
to the other and back again
|Part of our trail looks like it had been washed out recently|
|Overlooking the canyon colors|
|Early, still happy, still some shade|
|Me starting to be tired|
|Switchbacks up and up|
|Bob on the edge of the cliff|
|Proof I was there. Squinting with the sun in my eyes!|
|Still feeling pretty good.|
|Trail to south end of Rylander Fortress -|
|Bob enjoying the view before we head back.|
|Looking down at Mesquite Camp and |
Equestrian Camp Areas
|The views were gorgeous|
|Living on the edge|
|Precariously positioned. I won't sit on this one!|
|Too hot. I couldn't keep up with Bob.|
You would think going down the trail would be downhill. Not so on this trail. It kept going up and down, up and down, up and down. We were exhausted. At this point we were stopping to rest and drink water frequently (maybe every 500'). I ate a few grapes which gave a little burst of energy, but not enough.
We weren't the only ones suffering. Quite a number of people did the 20k (12.4 mile) Volksmarch. Many were experiencing the same difficulties we were as they stopped and sat in any shade they could find, even if it was on the ground in the midst of weeds and cacti.
|Mother Nature's adolescent sculpture|
|Bob heading down|
|No shade on the trail most of the way down|
Anyway, with all of our stops to rest and drink water, the total time for our 20k was seven hours... seven hours in the heat of the day doing strenuous hiking. We started our journey at 8:40 a.m. and finished about 3:30 p.m.
While the hike was beautiful, it was also very hard. One time was enough for me!! Bob beat me back to the finish point and collapsed on the grass. I could barely walk. Both feet had big blisters. All I wanted to do was get to the truck and change into clean, dry socks and comfortable tennis shoes. Then I wanted a big meal!
The Trading Post in Palo Duro Canyon had combo meals with fries and a drink. Bob stayed in the truck with the air conditioner on while I went in to get lunch. We each had a turkey sandwich, fries and Dr. Pepper. I felt so much better after consuming carbs, protein, fat and sugar!
We had just enough time to go back to Ft. Amarillo RV Resort, shower, change clothes, and make it back to the West Texas Trail Walkers banquet at West Texas A&M University Alumni Hall at 7:00 p.m. The dinner was "A Tour of Italy" which included two pastas, two sauces, two meats, salad, and Key Lime pie. We scarfed it all down and listened to the West Texas Trail Walkers conduct their annual meeting.
Then we went back to the RV and collapsed for the night. Tomorrow, the 10k Lighthouse Trail.
Travel Bug out.