The state of Texas has close to a hundred state parks — 95 to be exact.
From Enchanted Rock to Mustang Island to Palo Duro Canyon, chances are you haven’t visited them all. But one Texas man can now say he has.
Dale Blasingame just wrapped visiting all state parks in Texas in just about one year. He is a lecturer at Texas State University in San Marcos and will soon be writing for Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.
After visiting Yellowstone and national parks in other states, Blasingame said a friend recommended he visit state parks. Soon he decided to do them all.
“I have kind of an addictive personality so it become a challenge,” he says.
Of all 95 parks, he said Palo Duro Canyon was his favorite and Goro Falls at Colorado is the prettiest section of any state park.
“You go on this really rocky, arid hike and then all of sudden you step into this – it looks like a rainforest,” he says. “You’ve got waterfalls and trees everywhere. It’s really hard to describe until you actually go there and see it.”
Blasingame fell in love on the trail, too – after hiking with a fellow camper and his dog one day, he adopted his dog, Lucy.
“It was just love at first sight,” he says. “We’ve been an unstoppable pair… she goes everywhere I go and she has this weird sixth sense of when we’re getting close to a park. I really cannot figure out how she does it.”
Looking back, Blasingame says this year of visiting parks helped him cope with stress and act on his love of nature. Now that he’s seen every corner of the state, he has a better understanding of the state where he was born and raised.
“I’ve seen the whole state and once you do that,” he says, “you get out of your comfort zone of just thinking of what Texas really is.”