March 11, 2015

A Gem of a State Park

Davis Mountains State Park continued to be our home while Tim and I worked at Fort Davis National Historic Site.  The park is only four miles away and is one of the best state parks in Texas.  Not only did we have a fabulous campsite with full hookups, including cable, but we also had lots of trees and privacy.  I don’t think we could have found a better site for us.

The Davis Mountains are an oasis in the desert that is west Texas, and the state park is the crown jewel.  Davis Mountains State Park was mostly built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and was one of the earliest CCC projects in Texas.  The CCC constructed a five-mile scenic road, known as Skyline Drive, to the ridgetop where it seems that one can see forever.  A stone lookout shelter at the top includes a picture window that frames one of the stunning views.
Panoramic View from Skyline Drive

The View Goes On Forever

Stone Shelter Built by the CCC

Looking Through the Picture Window at the Stone Shelter

The CCC was also responsible for the construction of Indian Lodge in 1933.  Located on a hillside within the park, Indian Lodge complements its natural surroundings.  In designing the lodge, the architects were clearly influenced by Native American pueblo villages, and construction materials included handmade adobe blocks, local pine and river cane. Although the pueblo-style design of the lodge is perhaps more suited to New Mexico than to Texas, Indian Lodge is still a beautiful building and a wonderful addition to the park. 

Indian Lodge as Seen from Skyline Drive

Pueblo-Style Architecture at Indian Lodge

We were fortunate that the weather was mostly good while we were at Davis Mountains.  Our first free weekend was delightful, and we enjoyed the park as well as the nearby towns.  We did get a bit of a shock one morning when we awoke to a winter wonderland.  The amount of snow we received was a bit unexpected, but it melted quickly and made for great photos.

Winter Wonderland at Davis Mountains State Park

We were really looking forward to spending a final weekend at the park after completing our two-week project at Fort Davis.  Unfortunately, it was not to be since all campsites were reserved.  We had forgotten it was Presidents’ Day weekend, as well as Valentine’s Day.  Apparently, that’s a big camping weekend in Texas.

Final Sunset through the Trees at Davis Mountains

We reluctantly left Davis Mountains State Park and made our way to Van Horn.  We drove through Valentine, Texas, on Valentine’s Day, but could not even find a good spot for a photo opportunity.  Valentine is past its prime.

Heading Down from Davis Mountains

Tim and I stopped at the Van Horn KOA for what we thought would be a one-night stopover.  We kept extending our visit, however, and ended up staying for three nights.  It turned out we needed a little R&R after working non-stop for two weeks.  We’re not exactly used to this full-time work thing!  Although the KOA was not the prettiest of parks, it fit the bill and was fine for what we needed.  Our favorite amenity was the on-site café where we enjoyed breakfast and dinner a few times.  Even Kitty had fun exploring the campground.

Ride 'em Kitty!

Unusual Weather Station at Van Horn

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