West Texas Plains Experience
July 6-9, 2022
Physical Demand: Intermediate - several miles of walking over relatively level ground of sand, grass, and gravel. Higher heat/ temperatures make these hikes potentially more difficult. Longer hours of laying prone on the ground.
Traveling north from Lubbock, the Llano Estacado plateau and its vastness surround visitors. The flatness and wide expanse is only amplified as the urban center disappears in the rearview mirror, giving way to open byways dotted with tiny towns that look as if they are frozen in time. And that is how this adventure begins.
The northern Texas high plains are home to a fascinating variety of wildlife and in certain places, geology. We will be visiting the heart of this region, where the "buffalo" really do still roam. At just over 15,000 acres, Caprock Canyon is one of the largest state parks in Texas. The managers here have been spending decades trying to restore the grassland prairie ecosystem back to its original splendor. Home to the last remaining pure (no domestic cattle genes) herd of North American Plains Bison, we will photograph not only wildlife but history as well. Beside the bison, the restoration of the grasslands has meant the reintroduction of black-tailed prairie dogs. These industrious rodents form towns that over 150 other species have been known to associate with, including the charismatic western burrowing owl.
These three species, along with the topography of the area will be the focus of our adventure, however, there is always the chance of seeing the following species as well: mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorn, coyotes, bobcats, grey foxes, raccoons, armadillos, jackrabbits, rattlesnakes, tarantulas, and roadrunners.
Related article: Scouting Wildlife in the High Plains of Texas