We were soooo glad to be somewhere else after a month-long stay in Big Bend. Don’t get me wrong. We loved Big Bend, but a month just about anyplace is too long for us. Davis Mountains State Park outside of Fort Davis, TX was just the change we needed. A little bit cooler and glorious trees!
Davis Mountains State Park
We’re learning a thing or two about full-timing RVing. One of them is that we need to pick some places for wintering that aren’t quite so remote for long periods of time. As you recall, for cell service, church and groceries, we had to drive 50 miles one way from Lajitas. That was quite an investment, so we only did it once a week. Well, it turns out that Davis Mountains State Park is in a valley and you can get cell service only if you drive to one of the overlooks. The good news is that is only a few miles up the steep hill and we can at least do that every day during our two week stay.
A little windy and cold sometimes, but there is indeed cell service and we can use our hot spot at the overlook. Our place for dueling computers.
The views from Skyline Drive are pretty good, so we really don’t mind making the trek each day.
There’s hiking at the park, too, giving us our first glimpse of the McDonald Observatory. That’s the main draw for this area which is home to some of the darkest skies in the country.
Way off in the distance you can see the research telescope domes on top of Mt. Locke
And the close up. These domes are at the observatory about 13 miles away from the state park.
The researchers host “star parties” several times a week and we were able to attend the “Twilight Party” and the “Star Party”. At the Twilight party, we saw a superb demonstration of the phases of the moon and learned about the moon’s surface geology. The Star Party was a great follow up with seven different telescopes set up to see both far and close moon views, the Orion Nebula and a few other star clusters. And yet, I can still only identify the constellation Orion without help.
The Davis Mountains
The 75 mile scenic loop drive gave us a great view of the surrounding Davis Mountains made from rhyolite lava lows 35 million years ago. These rocks look so different than what we saw in Big Bend.
This is a good representation of the column-like formations and is a backdrop behind the real fort in Fort Davis.
A few more shots from our hikes around the park.
Dog Bowl In The Desert
The park also had two bird viewing areas. They put out seed and something that looked like peanut butter twice a day to attract the throngs of birds. I enjoyed looking through the window views, but found out we had the best views of all right from Lucy’s front windows. Jackson’s dog bowl was a favorite spot for all different kinds of birds. Put out a water bowl in the desert and they will come.
I think this guy is a Scrub Jay and he’s about to be ousted from the preferred water perch by this bully. Yes, I think the Acorn Woodpeckers are pretty, but they are kinda mean to the other birds.
These two seemed to be getting along pretty well. The other bully? That would be the brilliant red cardinal. All the other birds came and went without squabbling until woodpeckers or cardinals came on the scene. And when it was time to leave, we picked up the bowl only to find a nice little ring of bird droppings in the shape of the water bowl. Hopefully those birds will find another watering hole now that we’ve departed.
Two weeks was more than enough time here, but I did manage to get my teeth cleaned and I got a great haircut from Flora. Of course we couldn’t do any of this in Fort Davis. Nope, all that civilized stuff required a drive 30 miles back down the road to Alpine. Also the place for laundry. So, let this be a lesson to us. Next year, we’re spending our winter downtime in a tad bigger place where we can be on the grid the entire time, and enjoy a few amenities close by.
Next up – our last stop in Texas at Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site. See you on the way!