Hello all...Just got back from a trip to Seminole Canyon and Fort Davis and Davis Mountains...from my previous post, fellow Casita
folks "JK" and "K&C" asked for a report....What a GREAT trip..left home(La Vernia, Texas) about 9:20 on Sunday 8 Nov.....This being my first real trip in my Casita
, I was a little nervous and cautious....about 10 miles into the trip it started raining....and at times came down in sheets....finally in Del Rio the clouds parted and the sun came through for a relaxing trip.... Highway 90 is a great Road...reminds me a little bit of Route 66. There are only 7 small towns between home and the Canyon. One town that I had been to before is Brackettville...it is where the John Wayne's "Alamo" was filmed...fact they set up a Western film location, including a small town and reproduction of the Alamo....has been the site of several hundred western films....if you have the time, have a visit....also a Rv park in town that looked pretty good...lt took about five and a half hours to get to the Canyon.....got there mid afternoon...Seminole Canyon is a state park...for 20 dollars you get electricity and water...they have a dump station and bathroom facilities, very clean. The campground sits on the highest point in the state park, so the views are 360 degrees across the Chihuahuan Desert landscape. You have distant canyon views. There are two loops with the bathhouse and the dump station in between. The back loop sits higher, but there are more power lines in the views. There is nothing but desert and state park all around. I stayed on the back(top) loop....what views and sunsets/sunrises....its magnificent.....the sky is pitch black, and the stars and constellations are as clear as it can get...WOW is all I can say...I sat out there....a Jack Daniels on the rocks...taking in the wonders of the sky.....it may be a barren landscape....but there was something majestic about this place...... went to bed and had the best sleep I've had in a long while...had a couple windows
open to get that crisp night air...I did have a ceramic heater that kicked on later in the night....got up the next morning about 6:30, had a cup of coffee and sat outside and took some photo's of the sunrise....I had wanted to take the guided tour of the "pictographs"...but they only do the tours Wednesday-Sunday 10 and 3.....so I decided to take a 6 mile roundtrip hike on the west side of the canyon. At the start of the trail they had another trail, to the east, that was a mile long taking you to the beginning of the canyon.....not too much to see when I reached the end of the trail....got back on the main trail.....their are two loops to take, I thought I'd take the eastern loop down and the Rio Grande River Trail back....great hike...though mostly scrub brush...and no sign of wildlife....saw one deer that looked at me and I thought he said " take me, I'll be a really great pet, just get me out of here".....when I got to the end of the trail, it was worth the hike...across the canyon where caves on the sides of the cliffs...with pictographs...and the canyon merged with the Rio Grande/Amistad Reservoir... drop off of 100-200 feet...so you have to be careful of where you're stepping...no guard rails.....talk about solitude..I didn't meet one other person......I really enjoyed the hike....got back, made lunch and decided to take a short trip to Landry...about 15 miles west...its a VERY small town, the attraction is the Judge Roy Bean Center....."the Law West of Pecos".....enjoyed the visit and toured around the area.....got back to my site close to dinner time, so I grilled up a salmon fillet, salad, and garlic bread...took some sunset photo's and than some reading...called it a nite...the stillness of the desert is a nice treat.....
Got up early, had my coffee, took a couple photo's of another GREAT sunrise, hitched up and left for Ft. Davis and Davis Mountains State Park.....another drive with few towns 196 miles....... arrived early afternoon..the campground sits down in a valley between two mountain ridges. Some sites have trees, some out in the open...but all are quiet, sites are full hookups to primitive.....Does have cable capability, no internet, only place with cell connectivity is up Skyline Drive...This state park was one of the earliest Civilian Conservation Corps projects in Texas.....the crowning achievement to me was the construction of Indian Lodge...great place, super views, good restaurant, with reasonable prices.....The Lodgewas built in the 1930s by the CCC in the Southwestern Native-American-style, to resemble a multi-level pueblo village.
After getting set up and I took a hike around the campground...lots of deer and javelins.....a variety of different sites, all laid out pretty nice....Then I drove up Skyline Drive, super views, 360 degrees, will come back up for both sunrise and sunset photo's....A person up there doing a painting
of the east vista...Decided to do Ft. Davis, which probably is the best remaining representation of a " frontier western fort"....the fort was established on the eastern side of the Davis Mts., in a box canyon...it was functional from 1854 until 1891....they continue to do a lot of preservation and restoration....its a self guided tour...for me the most memorable moment was their retreat parade sound program...very realistic...close your eyes and you think the parade is really happening.....got back, had dinner and went up Skyline Drive for some photo's....it got dark quickly and like Seminole Canyon, the sky was clear and covered with millions of stars....quite impressive.....got back to Ms Casita
, downloaded photo's and called it a nite.....
Next morning got up before dawn to take the 77 mile scenic loop...to me that's a most do trip....I did it twice..chasing the "light" for both morning and evening shots..it was a great trip...I stopped every other minute..ha...a lot of great sites....plus the McDonald Observatory....easy pull offs and picnic area.....several mtns...highest peak is Mt. Livermore at 8382 ft., Sawtooth is 7718 ft., and the rest around 7000+ ft. What a great variety of stuff to see.....got back, had a light
lunch and did the Montezuma Quail Trail...3 mile hike, does have elevation.....below is a summary of the 4 main trails:
Four GREAT Hikes in the Davis Mountains State Park
Primitive Area Trail
Use: hiking, mountain biking, equestrian, primitive camping
This 6.2-mile trail system rises in elevation from the banks of Limpia Creek (4900’) to a high ridge top (5700’), offering spectacular views of the surrounding Davis Mountains and, on clear days, the Chinati Mountains over 60 miles to the south. Primitive campsites are available for all trail users, including equestrians.
Old Fort Trail
From the trailhead at the park’s Interpretive Center (5010’), this 3-mile trail joins into a 1.5 mile trail leading into Fort Davis National Historic Site. The trail follows a craggy canyon before breaking out onto a rolling grassland (5510’) that roughly parallels scenic Skyline Drive. Hikers can enjoy bird’s eye views of Fort Davis and the surrounding Davis Mountains.
Skyline Drive Mountain Bike Trail
Use: mountain biking and hiking
This 3.25-mile loop trail was designed with mountain bikers in mind, but hikers are welcome as well. Starting in the park’s campground, the trail joins with the original route of Skyline Drive, hand-built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933. Elevations range from 4932’ to 5300’ on this undulating trail, which offers prime views of the Limpia Canyon riparian corridor.
Montezuma Quail Trail
With four access points (Indian Lodge, campground, park headquarters, and playground), this 3-mile trail system ranges in elevation from 5120’ to 5600’. Hikers can enjoy ridge top views of the state park and lodge in addition to surrounding ranchland and McDonald Observatory. Careful observers may see the Montezuma Quail, a Davis Mountains specialty.
That evening did another trip on the 77 mile scenic loop...more photo ops....started back after the sun set....numerous coyotes crossing the road....did get a good scare.....driving around 45 MPH and before I knew it there where 6 or so cows in my lane...it was dark enough where you couldn't seem them until you where right on top of them....fortunate that I was able to swerve to the left and avoid them....the area is "free range"...I just never saw cows stopped in the middle of the road......got back to my "home"...down loaded photos.....had a glass off wine under the stars....a great way to end a SUPER day. This morning I took a short hike and then went up the McDonald Observatory...they open at 10AM...gave me time to look around and take some photos...the have about 6 or 7 telescopes..to include the largest mirror telescope in the world...they have 4 different show/tours...I opted for the daytime show which includes solar
viewing, slideshow, and tour of two telescopes....the entire show/tour lasts from 11:00-1:30 and was very informative....if you enjoy Astronomy, then this is a "must do"...one note, bring a jacket as they keep the temperture at 40 degrees in the first observatory.....the rest of the day I spent sightseeing the towns of Marfa and Alpine...both interesting in their own right...Alpine is home to the main campus of Sul Ross State University
...the town has sort of a '60's feel......Marfa is famous for The Marfa lights
or the Marfa ghost lights
are unexplained lights
(known as "ghost lights
") usually seen near U.S. Route 67
on Mitchell Flat east of Marfa
. I did not go back that nite as I wanted more photos before the sun went down....they do have a viewing area...pretty impressive....that evening I went back up to Skyline Drive for some photo ops.....got back and packed for my trip home.....could have easily spent another week here to do indepth exploring....... The Casita performed great with only a couple of issues.....I'm going to call Victor this week...I'll post the issues after talking to Victor......Saw 2 Casita's at the park...one was just coming in as I was leaving for the first scenic tour...I stopped said hello...it was a 13 ft...the second one looked like a 17 ft. that I saw the morning I was leaving....to early to knock on their door ..I did meet a Bigfoot
owner...and I apologize to him as his name escapes me....short term memory is "short"..ha....had a great visit, he invited me to next years Bluebonnet Rally
which I hope to get to....sorry I didn't get over to talk more...kept leaving before 1st light
and didn't call it a day till after lights
out..... I apologize for the length of this posting.....I do get carried away....sometimes. Happy to answer any questions...I'm thinking of doing a trip before Christmas..maybe to Big Bend, Texas....The Casita did good and is all I had hoped for...will have photo's posted on my web site in about 7-10 days. www.texasreflectionsphotography.com