Friday, August 26, 2011

Trip Report: Davis Mountains State Park

Since moving back to West Texas, Donna and I have been looking forward to camping in the Davis Mountains at Davis Mountains State Park. Years ago, when our daughter was not yet in school, we used to go to the Davis Mountains to tent camp. We always talked about coming back one day when we had a travel trailer. That day has finally come.

Davis Mountains State Park consists of 2,708.9 acres in the Davis Mountains, which is the most extensive mountain range in Texas. The elevation ranges from 5,000 to 6,000 feet, which makes for a pleasant summer climate. During our stay, the daily highs were in the low 90s and the nightly lows were in the low 60s. After baking in 105 degree weather for the past 3 months, this felt great.

After setting up our trailer, we drove around the park to see how much it had changed since our last visit there in the early 1990s. It looked relatively unchanged. One of our favorite areas of the park is Skyline Drive, the roadway which goes to the summit of the highest point in the park. From here, views of the surrounding countryside are outstanding.

Below are a series of pictures taken from our perch atop Skyline Drive.

Our trailer in red circle. Large structure at top is Indian Lodge, the historic hotel built in pueblo fashion by the CCC in the early 1930s. Campground is located along Keesey Creek.

Same picture as above, but showing greater vista and how the park is located in a valley.

Highway 118 weaving north along Limpia Creek.

I've always liked how light and shadows play against a mountain background.

True West Texas high plateau ranch country. Looking south towards Marfa and Alpine. Structure in right center is massive greenhouse where Ft. Davis hot house tomatoes are grown.

Rocky canyon in foreground. Mitre Peak in center distance. Looking towards Alpine.

Mountain vista

Mount Locke with domes in center. Another observatory on Mount Fowlkes towards the right.

Park entrance in center off Highway 118
We enjoyed viewing quite a bit of wildlife during our trip. Almost daily, a mule deer (doe) wandered through or near our campsite, as did a group of javelinas. Unfortunately, we were also visited by several skunks. Although we did not get sprayed, fear of being sprayed as well as rabies drove us inside the trailer whenever these varmints approached. We also saw a badger and a coyote, as well as some other mule deer.

Over the next several days -- as time allows -- I'll post entries for Ft. Davis National Historic Site, McDonald Observatory, and the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute.

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