Sunday, November 1, 2015

Davis Mountain State Park & Balmorrhea State Park

In mid-September, Shawn and I took a road trip to Tucson, Arizona to visit my grandparents. It's a road trip, so that naturally means you have to drive places you normally wouldn't (or at least that's my theory). Based on coworkers' recommendations, we spent a few days in Davis Mountains State Park.

Davis Mountains State park is adjacent to Fort Davis National Historic Site.  If you plan to visit Davis Mountains, keep in mind that Indian Lodge is a popular place to visit so you may need reservations which you can schedule by calling the Texas Parks and Wildlife main office.  Other places listed here include Balmorrhea State Park and McDonald Observatory.

In the middle of the trail, there's a twisty-looking stick thing.  That, dear readers, is a rattlesnake in the middle of eating a rat.  I don't know what type of rattlesnake, but it was definitely a rattlesnake.  We saw this guy on our way out of the backpacking portion of our trip.

Me, drawing a picture on our Backpacking portion of the trip.

A hummingbird at a feeder in the Bird Blind area of Davis Mountains State Park.

Lesser gold finches

Inside the Indian Lodge

In the courtyard outside the Black Bear restaurant

Awesome agave

Cochineal scale on a cactus.  Yes, I made sure.

Little Toad buddy on a step.

Blue sky in the window

A view from the back parking lot

A view from the trail run that Shawn and I did when we first got to Davis Mountains.  The backpacking area is on the ridge on the other side of the road.

A view of Indian Lodge from the trail run

Rocks and the trail on the hike over to Old Fort Davis

One of the CCC built structures in Davis Mountains

Hiking to Fort Davis

More hiking through Flash Flood Alley

Our first view of Fort Davis.  The row of officers' houses runs north/south on Magnetic north, while the old foundations (which you can see to the right) run north/south on True north.

A view of the hospital at Fort Davis

A wagon at Fort Davis (the commissary is just to the right)

Heading out on our backpacking adventure

One of my pictures I drew while backpacking

Sunset during our backpacking trip

Hiking out in the morning.  You may have noticed that Shawn always goes first in our photos - that is because when we were backpacking in Washington, it became pretty obvious that I am oblivious to snakes when I almost stepped on a rattlesnake.

Hiking out from backpacking

Balmorrhea State Park.  After hiking out during our backpacking, we decided to drive the 45 minutes to Balmorrhea to go for a swim.  Balmorrhea was also a CCC location and everything was built by the crew.

"Come on in, the water's fine!" so says the man who has no problem swimming at Barton Springs.  He said he thinks Balmorrhea is a few degrees warmer.

Fish.  There was also a large turtle swimming around in the springs.  I almost lost my shit over it.

A view from one end of the pool.

Our room at Indian Lodge.  We only stayed one night in the lodge, but damn the room was cool.

Another view of the courtyard area.

A view of the Indian Lodge swimming pool looking toward the entrance of the park.

Yucca against a white wall.

A view from one of the lower areas of Indian Lodge

The night we stayed at Indian Lodge was the night that we had tickets for the McDonald Observatory's Star Party. We arrived around sunset, and then had to kill some time until it was dark enough for the tour to start.  Caroline at Shovel-Ready Garden went to the Big telescope viewing the following night.  If you are going to be in the area during one of their Star Parties or telescope viewings, be sure to attend.

A view of the native plant area at McDonald - this looks much better in person and obviously my cell phone camera is just crappy at capturing it at night...

Sunset at McDonald

Indian Lodge light outside our room

Garter Snake.  We also saw a tarantula (the first wild one for either of us) but it was when we didn't have our cell phones, so no picture, no proof.  Thankfully Shawn had his cell phone at the time when we saw the rattlesnake.

The area had received enough rain for the ocotillo to all have leaves.  It was actually very strange and it made me want to grow one even though I know they don't have leaves most of the year.


Rock rose said...

What a great trip with some fine photography to capture our that great state park. Love west Texas and its scenery. Did you sleep in a tent on your backpacking trip. You looked as though you were carrying the equipment for a night out.

katina said...

Jenny -

Yes, we carried a tent and our sleeping bags out (along with all the other stuff needed for a night on a mountain). I gotta say, the older I get, the less into backpacking I am. I still really like car camping, but the backpacking on this trip did me in...of course we had hiked 6 miles in the morning and then another 4 for getting out to the campsite for the backpacking portion, so it may have just been that we did too many miles that day and that's why I didn't enjoy it very much.

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