When I was planning the April 2019 trip to Texas and New Mexico, I decided the first place I’d visit was Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument in the Panhandle of Texas. The website said tours start some time in April. Rather vague, especially since I’m the kind of person who likes to have a plan. Well, I made my plan and hoped the tours would be available when I got there.
Turned out to be a lucky day. I got there on the first day that tours were being given. And there was a tour about to start. I had time to watch the movie in the visitor center before meeting the tour guide, Glendon.
I happened to be the only person on the tour. The tour before mine was 80 students from the local school system.
Glendon was a great guide. Really knows the history and geology of the quarry. Paleo-Indians quarried flint at Alibates 13,000 years ago, so there’s a lot of history. And, the flint is unique. According to the movie I saw, it’s agatized dolomite. Spearheads of this unique flint have been found in mammoth bones. Much later, between 1200 and 1450, a Plains Village group built structures at what is now Alibates.
Without a tour guide, the area would look like rolling hills, with some exposed rocks, and shallow depressions. According to Glendon, those depressions are the quarries. He pointed out how the quarriers would excavate relatively large pieces of flint and take them to another area to create spear and arrow heads and other tools.
Wildflowers were blooming, and Glendon had an impressive knowledge of the native plants, too. All around, it was a really nice stop. Couple hours tour, hiking about a mile and a half.
Alibates Flint Quarries is adjacent to Lake Meredith National Recreation Area. Lake Meredith is lake formed by a dam on the Canadian River. There are several campgrounds on the lake, so I spent the night on the shore of Lake Meredith. Since I didn’t need electricity or sewer and water hookups, camping was free — as well as scenic.