Nestled up against Fort Davis, TX, the beautiful Davis Mountains provide a stunning an inspiring back drop to the little town of Fort Davis. For four days in late February I stayed at the Davis Mountains State Park and explored the area and Fort Davis.
These are not new environs to me: Fort Davis has always been a place I loved to visit (see previous post). I used to stay most often at the Indian Lodge in the park, a work of art constructed by the CCC during post-depression recovery. Fortunately, it’s been maintained close to as originally built by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and is a delightful place to stay. First photo gallery at the bottom of this post gives you some views of the park and lodge.
I stayed at a nice campsite central to the park and close to the two hiking trails I wanted to tackle this trip. Years ago I’d hiked from the fort in Fort Davis into the park, and I wanted to repeat that hike going the other way…but the intervening 20 years whispered to me “maybe something a little shorter, a little less strenuous.” So wisely I settled on the “stated” 3.4 mile hike on the old CCC trail built during construction of the Indian Lodge and park back in the ’30s.
As shown in the second photo gallery at the bottom of this post, it’s a hike with constant amazing views, which makes it hard to concentrate on where you’re walking, although the trail had lots of dropoffs you wouldn’t want to test, so I managed to take it all in yet avoid falling off the mountain. As the story my FitBit told, the distance far exceeded the trailhead poster. But in fairness, I did wander around a lot at the top and I suspect those poster distances are based on a crow’s life, not a hikers. Either that, or I have the FitBit ego mode enabled.
One of the wondrous things to do in this area is to travel the 75-mile scenic loop that starts and ends in Fort Davis, but winds through the mountains, past the McDonald Observatory, through the lower cattle ranch plains, and the true, flatter desert plains. The drive encompasses so many types of vegetation and vistas that the drive takes a good three hours to enjoy it all. The last photo gallery at the bottom of this post has photos from the scenic loop drive.
As I drove away from the Davis Mountains State Park on my way to Hueco Tanks State Park, my head was filled with memories of these four, short days and my long-term feelings about the soul of this place and how I’d feel living a slow, deliberate life a mile high here in the Davis Mountains. Hmmmm.