West Texas // Marfa, Big Bend, and Davis Mountains (with Southern New Mexico)

I stole the idea of a holiday show off post from Kate over at BooksAreMyFavouriteAndBest. I find it interesting to learn what fellow readers do in their off time (though I wish I’d taken more scenic photos in addition to family photos). We recently took a trip to West Texas and while I debated about posting about, I decided to go with it. This blog is about more than just books, no? We drove. I wish I could say I love a good road trip, and in theory, I do. They seem so fun, but the reality of a road trip in this particular part of the United States is that they can be very, very boring. It’s flat, desolate, hot, and dry. You go many, many miles without a single point of interest and, quite honestly, I find that sort of desolation a little creepy (ahem, New Mexico). We left Denver at the beginning of a snow storm and headed south, so that was a bonus. The first destination of the trip was Las Vegas, NM. It was a cute little town where No Country for Old Men was filmed. We found a hot spring that was quite lovely.
Las Vegas Hot SpingsDSC_0320

Our next destination was the White Sands National Monument, 16 miles southwest of Alamogordo, New Mexico. This part of the trip was by far the most fraught, which is not to say it was particularly dramatic, but it did have the most issues. About two hours outside of the monument, we blew a tire about 30 miles north of Carrizozo, NM, which meant nothing, as there are no services in Carrizozo. We put on the spare and drove the two+ hours on our little tire to the closest tire shop. My children and I hung out at a McDonald’s, while my husband stayed at the shop. They had ice cream, I had air conditioning. Sort of a win. It’s worth noting that we left Las Vegas that morning and it was 25 degrees, when we stepped out in Alamogordo, it was 88. After the tires were replaced, we visited White Sands and went sledding. The landscape there is absolutely gorgeous, but truly a little bizarre too. Our unexpected delay cut our time there short and after about two hours we drove east into Texas.

White SandsThe first stop was Davis Mountains State Park. It’s incredibly rural, but there is an observatory. We went to something called a star party, which I highly recommend if you ever find yourself out that way. It’s a chance to “enjoy night sky constellation tours and views of celestial objects through a number of telescopes”. We stayed at the Indian Lodge within the park. It was late and we set up the kids in the room before going back to get our stuff. In the five minutes we were gone; a skunk found our car and camped out. We did not get the rest of our stuff that night.
DSC_0380But the next day was a new start, with solid tires and a happy, smell free skunk that went his own way. It also was the part I was looking forward to most – Big Bend National Park. While we were there, we hiked to the Window and the Santa Elena Canyon (so beautiful). We drove the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and stopped at several of the shops/stations. We stayed in Fort Davis, which is the closest town. The last day was spent exploring Marfa and driving to Balmorhea State Park, which is the world’s largest spring fed swimming pool. It’s a bit slimy and it is filled with fish, so it’s an interesting experience. You can swim, snorkel, or scuba dive. Most importantly, the water stays warm year round.
Ross Maxwell Scenic DriveThe Window TrailheadSanta ElenaWe stayed in Marfa that night, at El Cosmico, in a tiny, hot pink trailer named “Little Pinky”. It was surprisingly comfortable. We headed out the next morning and arrived in Denver that night.Prada and Little PinkyHow has your traveling been this year? Any plans? If so, may there be no tire blow outs or skunks.

7 thoughts on “West Texas // Marfa, Big Bend, and Davis Mountains (with Southern New Mexico)

  1. I love your photos! I’m with you on road trips — there are definitely fun parts, but spending days driving across endless deserts in a stuffy car is not the most stimulating thing in the world. That star party sounds wonderful, though!


  2. I missed this post when you did it, but I have been to all those places in West Texas. We have property in Fort Davis, up in the mountains, we have been out to the Window and Santa Elena Canyon. It’s a great area. Did you stop at ghost towns in either Terinlingua or Study Butte?


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