Davis Mountains of Texas - March 24 - April 2, 2021
Well, here we are in 2021 and still dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic. There is still a lot of uncertainty, even with the successful rollout of the vaccines. Fortunately, we were able to get our Pfizer vaccines in February, and by late March, we are supposed to be 95% immune to the existing virus versions. We are still socially distancing, wearing masks and using hand sanitizer in any situation that puts us close to other people. Fortunately, in west Texas, it is not hard to stay away from people.
We are still thankful that we didn't sell our 5th wheel trailer last spring and are able to travel relatively safely in our bubble and enjoy some of the country within a reasonable drive from the Houston area. This time, we went to the Davis Mountains in far west Texas. We have been to the area several times since we got our trailer, and it is always a unique experience. The Davis Mountains have several peaks, and the highest is Mount Livermore at 8,383 feet. The altitude of the Fort Davis area is about 5,000 feet.
The weather in central and west Texas during the spring is very unpredictable, but the one thing you can be sure of is that the wind is going to be blowing - sometimes very strongly.
[Wednesday] We left home about 9:30am and drove west on IH-10. We arrived at our first stop - Junction - at about 3:30pm. We camped at 10/83 RV Park in site #55. It is a nice park located on the edge of the North Llano River. We ate supper and the weather was nice, so we walked a couple of loops around the park.
Unfortunately, around 9:30pm the weather took a turn for the worse. Tornado warnings sounded from a loud horn close to the park, and there was a terrific hail storm that arrived shortly thereafter and lasted about 45 minutes, until 10:45pm. The storm then abruptly stopped. Then about 15 minutes later we got wind, heavy rain, and more hail. Inside the plastic box, the hail sounded really bad. We peaked outside and it looked like it could have been quarter sized, but it was very dark outside. Fortunately, next morning, a check of the truck didn't show any damage. Welcome to central Texas!!
Click on the photos to enlarge them.
[Thursday] This morning the sky was clear and you would never know that there was a storm last night. We spent the morning in the trailer. After lunch, we drove south to the tiny ghost town of Telegraph, which is now just a closed store. The town never had a telegraph; it was given its name because telegraph poles had been cut from trees in a canyon near there during the 1850s. The store dates from 1890-1900.
We drove around the little town of Junction on our way back to the park. The majority of the town is a sad collection of dilapidated homes, with yards full of junk on dirt streets. It didn't offer much to look at. The downtown Kimble County Courthouse was an old style, but we didn't attempt to go inside to see if it retained any of it's old features inside.
[Friday] Today we drove south to South Llano River State Park for the day. We took our lunch and arrived in the park at 9:30am. We started out at the Juniper Bird Blind. There were lots of birds there, and some we don't see at home. After a while, we walked across to the Acorn Blind, where we saw some birds that were not at the Juniper blind.
We ate lunch in the truck. After lunch, we hiked up the Overlook Trail to the top of the 200 foot hill. After that, we drove to the park entrance and walked to the Agarita Bird Blind, where there were lots of birds. We had an interesting chat with one of the park volunteers that is responsible for feeding the birds at the blinds each day. We left the park at 3:30pm and stopped at the grocery store on the way back to the trailer.
[Saturday] Today we took IH-10 and TX-17 further west and south to Davis Mountains RV Park, a mile north of Fort Davis. We camped in site #5. It was a long drive. We left Junction about 9:30am and arrived in Fort Davis at 4:30pm. We watched our Saturday night church service streaming on our phone, and then watched some of the Houston Symphony streaming until technical problems on their end messed up the performance. About sundown, the wind started blowing strong and gusty. It shook the trailer with 40-50mph wind gusts into the night. It was calm by dawn. The altitude of our campground was 4800ft, so the weather is cool in the day and cold (30's) at night.
[Sunday] This morning we watched our Bible Study Class and the 11:00am Worship Service on streaming from our church. After lunch we drove around Fort Davis and looked at the houses and businesses. There were some nice houses and some that needed a little fixing up! The Jeff Davis County Courthouse is very beautiful. It would have been nice to see inside. Theere is also several hotels and lodges in downtown. The Victorian-style Hotel Limpia was built in 1912, and is on our bucket list to come spend a few nights when it is safe.
We then drove north on TX-17 for about 10 miles and took pictures of the bright green trees contrasted against the dark rocks of the mountains. We saw them on the way down to Fort Davis, but couldn't stop then because we were pulling the trailer.
[Monday] This morning we took an empty propane bottle to a building supply store in Fort Davis and filled it. We stopped at the grocery to pick up a few things on the way back to the trailer. We then drove to the Fort Davis National Historic Site and looked at all the old restored buildings that were open. The fort was a key post in the defense system of west Texas from 1854 to 1891. It is one of the best remaining examples of a frontier military post. Most of the buildings are not restored, but the ones that are have been furnished as they would have been during their use.
We returned to the trailer about 12:30pm for lunch. After lunch, we drove to Davis Mountains State Park. We drove the Skyline Drive in the park and stopped at the scenic overlooks.
We drove to the Indian Lodge and looked around and talked to the lady in the office. She said that reservations were booked up for six months. The original portion of the Indian Lodge was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. This historic 39-unit park lodge has a swimming pool, a meeting room, and the Black Bear Restaurant. Located in the Davis Mountains State Park.
We drove through all the campgrounds and returned to the trailer by 4:00pm.
[Tuesday] This morning we drove to Davis Mountains State Park and hiked on the Montezuma Quail Trail that is a 1-mile loop up the side of the mountain. It is very challenging at the start and the finish. On the way back to the trailer, we stopped at the grocery store and picked up a few things.
After lunch, we drove south of Fort Davis a few miles to the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute. They have an amazing collection of plants that are native to the semi-arid conditions of the Trans-Pecos. We walked through the gardens and the cactus museum collection. It is an excellent way to get up close to a lot of plants with stickers, without getting stuck.
Afterwards, we drove to the institute's bird blind. We saw two birds that we have never seen before. One was the Phainopepla (a flycatcher) and the other was the Cassin's Finch. It was a nice blind and worth the stop.
[Wednesday] This morning we drove the Fort Davis Scenic Loop. It follows TX-166 and TX-118 for about a 75 mile loop aruond a portion of the Davis Mountains. We saw pronghorn antelope and javelina, in addition to the horses and cows on the ranches bordering the highway. The temperature was in the 40's and the wind was strong.
[Thursday] Today we left Fort Davis and drove back east on IH-10 to Junction. We stayed in the same site as before at the 10/83 RV Park. We left Fort Davis about 9:30am and got to Junction about 4:00pm. On the way, we had to deal with a strong southeast wind that made pulling the trailer not so pleasant.
[Friday] Today, we continued our drive eastward on IH-10 to Richmond. We had to drive all day again and got back home about 3:30pm. To avoid some inbound construction on IH-10 west of Houston, we left IH-10 at Columbus and went south on TX-71 to US-90 Alt., then on home. The trip was uneventful, which is good.
This draws to a close our brief trip to the Davis Mountains of west Texas. We hope you enjoyed the photos and brief descriptions of our activities. God willing, join us again soon for another travel adventure.
Goodbye for now,
Lawson & Kay
If you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from death, you will be saved. For it is by our faith that we are put right with God; it is by our confession that we are saved. (Romans 10:9-10 GNT)