The gift of time – Davis Mountains State Park

Man plans. God laughs.  -Yiddish proverb

When Joan and I received the gift of time, we made plans. Plans of where we’d camp, hike, backpack, and travel.

The first week went as planned.

However, we noticed on the weather forecast that we could very well expect 80+ MPH winds on the ridges for our planned backpacking trip to Guadalupe Mountains National Park. And it looked like a snowstorm could hit the right area of where we’d be traveling further north. I do not mind playing in the snow at all. Driving? Not so much.

So we decided to alter our plans, spend two days hiking/camping at the Davis Mountains State Park (DMSP), and then proceed from there to make our next steps.

Two hours north of the main entrance of Big Bend, DMSP itself features some interesting hikes where the desert meets the grasslands before the higher mountain areas. Some resources describe the Davis Mountains in aggregate as Texas’ Sky Islands. And it seems an apt description because not only are the mountains higher up, but it’s also because it is some rare public land in Texas.

You can see the historical if unfortunately named,” Indian Lodge not far from the camping area in the distance.

DMSP is also a night sky park, and though fewer than 3000 acres in size, there’s not much around it, so the area seems vaster with a mixture of ranches, conservation areas, and other public lands nearby. Naturally, the night sky makes for some superb viewing due to its isolation. There’s even a nearby observatory ordinarily open to the public.

We did not learn about some of these areas until after our visit or had limited days open to the public, but that’s just another reason to visit again.

Once parked, we did not drive for over two days and could also hike right from the campsite. 

There’s something about parking and not driving for two solid days that’s immensely satisfying.

The nightly hot showers, included, seemed decadent compared to the previous week.

At night we even spotted a javelina. Of course, I did not have my camera handy!

Here’s a photo from Wikipedia instead!
By Wing-Chi Poon – Own work by uploader; at Cottonwood Campground, Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4394434

After two enjoyable days of this state park, we packed up, grabbed breakfast in the small village of Ft. Davis, and then visited the American Civil War and frontier-era Ft. Davis itself, where the famous 10th Cavalry, aka The Buffalo Soldiers, were once posted.

Though not a hiking park per se, the grounds of Ft. Davis do have trails that lead to the nearby state park. If we had stayed the third day, it would make a logical way to extend our time in this area.

We walked the grounds, enjoyed the preserved buildings, and could see the work in progress of other facilities—an enjoyable pit stop before we continued our way further north.

Not the post-Big Bend trip we planned. But still a delightful and restful stop for two days.

Northward!

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