A weekend in Amarillo with family to refresh.

I find it hard at home to relax because my brain will not shut off, and I’m constantly thinking about what I should be doing: work on this project, do this on the computer, write this, clean that… etc.  Similarly, on a destination vacation my ADD kicks in more and I want to accomplish and see everything in the new area I’m in.  My parent’s house is one of the only places that I find myself sitting for more than 10 minutes at a time and not thinking about my work life.  Although, while there, I may not sit still for too long, my agenda is much different than at home: hang out with the horses, play with my nephews, visit with friends, try and get to the canyon, and of course spend some time with my parents.  This past weekend I managed to accomplish it all! Even snuck in some home video watching, and wow was I a cute, crazy kid.

My parents live in Amarillo.  Home of wind storms, high plains, open fields, prairie dogs, American kestrels, my grad school days, and Palo Duro Canyon State Park.  If you are traveling through Amarillo it’s worth the 20 mile drive south of downtown Amarillo to the second largest canyon in the U.S.  Take a hike, camp, zipline, horseback ride, or just drive through to see the amazing scenery.  I’m always so suprised by the number of people I meet that have been to Amarillo but have bypassed Palo Duro Canyon.  All I can say is… GO!

We managed to make it back to the canyon this weekend and did a little hiking with the youngsters.  Much different than my grad school days of spending all day and all night in the canyon conducting research on mesocarnivores.  Those days included things like riding big bear (the 4-wheeler) deep into the canyon to set/check traps in my bikini, boots, and snake chaps in the summer and trudging through the snow in way too many layers in the winter.  Those were the days.  I miss those days but love enjoying the canyon in any capacity, even the leisurely hike we took this past Saturday.

Lucky me.  While in Amarillo, I always have the opportunity to go horseback riding.  My mom is an amazing horse trainer with two of her own horses.  I love getting there, brushing off Apache, and hopping on bareback to ride around.  This weekend the kids were just as ready to hop on!  I was so impressed with Apache and his love of children.  My best friend, stopped by with her two kids one day while I was out riding around.  Apache, who can be quite the spirited horse, melted when he saw the kids.  He put his nose to the ground and kept it there, while they built up their courage to pet him.  The kids loved meeting him up close and their smiles were huge.  Apache was so gentle with the kids and you could see he was smiling too.  Next, while riding bareback I brought each kid up to ride with me.  Apache, became the perfect little 16-hand pony, taking care to walk slow and steady so they didn’t fall off.  He just loves people, especially kids and my mom.

What a lucky gal I am to have some awesome parents to visit!

I am also lucky to have made a little bit of time for my second dad, my graduate advisor Ray.  He is working on an awesome project with a friend, Jessie, to make wildlife films to educate and inspire people to appreciate wildlife.  Their website is Texas Wild.  For the past few years they have been out in the field, working late nights and early mornings to capture beautiful video and images of native wildlife.  They are now putting together videos for the local news, PBS, and just finished a video entered into National Geographic’s Wild to Inspire Competition.  Take a peek at their video, it features a Texas endangered species!

Now that I am back in the land of less wind, I am ready to dive back in.  But also ready to keep things moving forward for 2014.  Looking forward to taking chances and making things happen.  🙂




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