** 2019 Proposed Trip **
This is a revised date (April 15 [Mon] - April 19 [Fri], 2019). If you want to sign up for the 2018 trip, see the Senderismo Meetup group's event post: https://www.meetup.com/Senderismo-En-Espanol-E-Ingles-Hiking-In-English-Spanish/events/246729140/
See the following Google Doc for important info: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14aZYfpgofsf3loF2w8oe8C1bBldHVycwcwbkjAcOoR8/edit?usp=sharing (will be updated as needed).
Palo Duro Canyon (https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/palo-duro-canyon) has been described as "The Grand Canyon of Texas," and is the second largest canyon in the US behind the aforementioned Grand Canyon. This trip will take place during the first week of April 2018 (spring break for the school district where I work). Activities might include backpacking, car camping with day trips, car camping with day bike trips, or backpacking, or a combination of the above.
Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway (https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/caprock-canyons) is nearby, and it features a 64 mile rail trail that can be used for cycling.
Palo Duro Canyon is about a 7 hour drive one way from Las Cruces/El Paso and about a 4.5 hour one drive from Albuquerque. I will be travelling from Columbia, SC which takes about 20 hours, or two long days of driving. Group Size: 8 - 12 seems manageable, although this is subject to adjustment. I may cross-list this trip with the Carolina Outdoors Society (https://www.meetup.com/Outdoors-Carolina-Society/) to set up a carpool coming from SC.
The weekends (March 31 and April and April 7 and 8) will most likely be travel days.
Costs: There are camping permit fees and park entrance fees. If these are group based, then cost will be divided among group members. Holders of Texas State Parks and there guests get in for free (see https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/park-information/passes/#texas-state-parks-pass). Cost of gas will be shared among members of carpools. More details can be provided once group size and departure location are determined.
Difficulty: This will be an easy to moderate difficulty trip. I don't foresee it being a week-long backpacking trip, with more day hikes/excursions instead. If you have been to Palo Duro or Caprock Canyons before, please post your suggestions.
Palo Duro Canyon is somewhere I wanted to go when I was in grad school at NMSU and a member of the Jornada Hiking Club, but never had the chance. This spring looks like as good of time as any to check it off the list!