Zzickle's Trip(s) to
Copper Breaks State Park

October 2020

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2020 was a bit of a nightmare, as I'm sure we all remember, and by autumn I was desperately in need of a break for my mental health. I needed to get out of the city and I really wanted to be able to do some stargazing, but I also didn't want to travel by plane or stay in hotels because... social distancing. So I looked into state parks that weren't too far away and that had minimal light pollution, and decided to go to Copper Breaks State Park for a one-night camping adventure.

I bought a special stargazing camp chair and then drove up to Sanger on the 17th to borrow a tent and some other camping stuff from my parents. This would be my first camping trip in 20 years and my first ever solo camping trip.

Mid-morning on Oct 19, I left home, headed west and arrived shortly after lunch. I set up my tent and then hiked 2 trails that afternoon before stargazing that evening.

~ Home Sweet Home ~
plenty of room inside for an air mattress, camp table and chair.

Short trail to park headquarters

Rocky Ledges Loop

view of Pease River

Juniper Ridges Nature Trail


info sign on trail
Permian sea tide ripples next to sign

Stargazing that night: When researching where to go for this trip, I found a site online that forecasts stargazing potential at various locations (cleardarksky.com) so I was fairly hopeful that viewing would be good.

Okay, nature, bring on the stars! It was indeed a wonderfully clear night! Dark enough to see the Milky Way, a couple small shooting stars, and of course Mars was rather obvious in its red brightness. It didn't beat stargazing in the Outback, but very little does.

Oct 20

After packing up the campsite, I drove up to the windmill parking area and headed out toward Chris' Link and then down to the Rocky Ledges Loop that I hiked yesterday, where I stopped for lunch. It started out very overcast and chilly but cleared up and warmed up after lunch.

splash of color

Chris' Link

Bull Canyon Trail to River Run

Calosoma beetle

red ants

red ant highway


I didn't see much wildlife. Lots of birds, a few beetles... and LOTS of red ants. Oh, and a lot of coyote scat. I could hear the coyotes all around from the tent grounds overnight.

I ate lunch at the base of Rocky Ledges Loop, which I'd hiked the day before. I did the two more strenuous hikes (Rocky Ledges & Juniper Ridges) on day one, and the longer but easier trails (Bull Canyon, River Run & Chris' Link) the second day. After lunch I retraced my steps back toward Bull Canyon.

Bull Canyon Trail Long Loop

north end of canyon
Sign for Bull Canyon at end of Chris' Link
Back through the arid plains on Chris' Link to where I'd parked

According to my Fitbit I hiked 7.85 miles today. My feet are tired. Time to head back to bright lights big city.

After a 3.5 hr drive back home, I got some Olive Garden takeaway and indulged in a hot bath. And some naproxen, lol.

I came back in March 2023 with my dad. Didn't really take any photos, since it was basically the same terrain, but I did send one to a friend on our morning hike of the Juniper Ridges Nature Trail.

10:17am, 38° F

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