I remember our first time driving to Fort Davis to camp in Davis Mountains State Park. It was during the Holidays in December of 2002. The air was brisk. It was winter with a bit of left over fall. West of Fort Stockton on Interstate 10, we drove South on State Highway 17 past the springs at Balmorhea and into the mountains over Wild Rose Pass. The rugged beauty of the mountains, lush and green compared to the dry desolate desert in and around Fort Stockton made an impression. We couldn’t believe that such a beautiful alpine area existed in Texas.
Then it got better. Down the other side of the pass toward Fort Davis. At the North end of Fort Davis, before the National Historic Site, we turned right onto State Highway 118 for the three mile drive to Davis Mountains State Park. We drove with Limpia Creek on our right, lined with native cotton wood and pecan, steep jagged basalt mountains to our left to the park entrance. Turning in we saw a ring of mountains around this peaceful valley beyond the ranger station. We have been fans of this park ever since.
I write all this straight from clear, dear and happy memories. I find the park magical. Living in San Antonio, I don’t get many opportunities for White Christmases. Our first stay in the park had a light dusting of snow close enough to Christmas day that I felt quite satisfied. Regardless of the season, arriving at the park on the first day of my stay gives me that sense of wonder and yes, it is still magical every single time.
We have visited this park more times than any other park and stayed in this park more nights than any other park. Fourteen visits and 79 nights.
Thursday was the day we changed parks. We drove from Big Bend National Park to Davis Mountains State Park outside Fort Davis, Texas with a stop in Alpine to pick up a new battery.
These views always make me think that I’ve gone back in time to the Old Wild West. Wide flat valleys punctuated with rugged mountains, steep canyons and otherwise wild landscapes. The Fort Davis National Historic Site, adjacent to Davis Mountains State Park, is the old Fort Davis, a holdover from 19th century Indian wars. The park and the historic site together have amazing hiking trails where you can literally hike over mountains giving unobstructed views of surrounding mountain peaks.
This is our fifteenth time camping in this park. I’m still awestruck coming into this park.
We were assigned a campsite we hadn’t been in before. This campsite is in the cul-de-sac and is a turnaround point for all large vehicles. We initially thought the site would be horrid but it turned out to be pretty decent after we set our camp up.
This is how the campsite looked like from the street. The tents in the background are on the other side of a dry creek bed in another campground area.
We did buy a battery in Alpine and the plan worked well despite the fact that I left the tools and the parts needed to reinstall the battery on top of the engine where they stayed (thankfully) while we drove the two hours on Texas 118, a country two-lane highway, to our destination. The Jeep is now back to normal and the panic feeling is a distant memory.