Posts Tagged ‘Fort Davis TX’

February 23, 2013

Oh, the places you can find when you’re on your way to somewhere else! Somewhere else, this time, is Big Bend National Park, the last of the major National Parks west of the Mississippi for us to visit. Since the 1990s, many more sites have become national parks or monuments and I don’t think we’ve hit nearly all of those, but of the traditional ones, I think this is it. Maybe I should check a list before saying that. I will when somebody across the room isn’t sucking up the wifi and I’ll report next time.

Anyhoo…as my beloved aunt used to say…we decided to take I-10 as far as Kent, Texas (look hard…it’s there) then take a winding road marked as a scenic highway down to Alpine where the campground directory assured us there was a place to stay. But the navigator was driving and the erstwhile driver wasn’t navigating and we missed the turn. So on we went another thirty miles to an equally forgettable wide spot in the road and turned off on another scenic highway. Immediately we began going through black mountains with tall columns of rock jutting up most everywhere. I’m assuming these are very old volcanoes, worn down to their cores or else vast fields of lava badly eroded. Will I ever learn enough geology to know even a little of what I’m looking at??

We drove some 30 miles on this road and decided to see what the state park campground near Fort Davis looked like. Aha! A lovely wooded canyon, a high peak with impressive switchbacks with a sign proclaiming it “skyline drive”, and hookups for a reasonable price. The incredible, unexpected, most wonderful feature was wifi at the tiny interpretive center which happens to be no more than 100 yards from our campsite. What more could we ask for? No cell service, but who cares? (For my eastern readers, “canyon” out here doesn’t necessarily mean something of grand proportions. This particular “canyon” would probably be a “hollow” in Virginia.)

We set up the trailer and jumped back in the truck to make it to the top of skyline drive for the sunset. We have crossed the line into the Central Time Zone and we are farther south than we were in Arizona and New Mexico, so sunset isn’t until almost 7 pm here. But dusk doesn’t linger as it does farther north. One thing we’ve noticed in traveling is that people are usually aware that in Alaska and the far north, the sun doesn’t set in the middle of summer. But those same people don’t seem to realize that the phenomenon doesn’t just suddenly appear in Alaska. It is a gradual progression. Darkness comes quickly after sunset in the south; it lingers longer the farther north you go. And of course the time zones really mess you up going east or west. They are an arbitrary arrangement for convenience sake. On this trip we’ve become more aware of the time of sunset since every few minutes’ increase in daylight gives us more time to explore. Knowing the time of local sunset is important when you’re driving desert roads of uncertain condition. But I digress.

We watched the sunset, were intrigued by the little town of Fort Davis in the near distance at the bottom of the hill, and decided we’d have to do some local exploring with the light of a new day.


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