Davis Mountains State Park
We arrived at Davis Mountains State Park on Sunday afternoon about 2pm, after a six hour drive from South Llano River State Park in Junction, Texas. When we arrived, the weather was sunny, very warm and dry. The appearance of the trees, shrubs and grass indicated that this country doesn't get much rain.
The park is located 5 miles from Fort Davis, 26 miles from Marfa, 29 miles from Alpine, and about 140 miles from Big Bend National Park.
When we checked into the park, the rangers informed us that there was a wildfire, about 50% contained, 13 miles away. The rangers didn't seem too concerned about the fire reaching the park, so we didn't get alarmed.
We set up our travel trailer at site number 13. It was one of the better sites that wasn't already occupied. The picnic table was in a nice shady spot under a small oak tree. This state park has full hookup sites with sewer, water, electric and cable. We thought it was funny that we couldn't get phone service or internet, but we could get cable. :-)
When we parked our trailer, I was focused more on where the sewer, water and electric connections were. After leveling, lowering the stabilizer jacks, and essentially setting up everything but the cable, we noticed that the cable hookup was not anywhere near the other connections and my cable was about 10 feet too short.
Rather than moving the trailer, I was lucky enough to find a longer cable at a hardware store in Fort Davis, about 5 miles away from the park. Lesson learned: know where all of your connections are before disconnecting from your tow vehicle.
During the day, the park was hot and dry, but in the early evening hours the temperature cooled a little and it was nice to be outside. We watched the sun set and relaxed after a long day...
The next morning we decided to take an early hike up the Skyline Drive Trail. The first mile was easy and took us through a small canyon. After we went through the canyon, the trail began to ascend and follow along the same path as Skyline Drive. Knowing we could see this scenery from our vehicle, we decided to head back to camp and try a different trail.
While hiking on the Skyline Drive Trail, there was plenty of evidence of the damage caused by the enormous wildfire of 2011 that burned over 350,000 acres in west Texas.
The Montezuma quail trail was only .8 miles long, but seemed much longer. The first part of the hike took us up the steepest part of the trail to the top of a ridge that overlooked the park. The switchbacks and narrow trail wasn't too difficult, but we stopped frequently to get our bearings and take in the view.
Every afternoon a small band of javelinas would make their way through the park. One day, just one javelina came into the park (the photo below). After one of our hikes, we saw evidence that one or more javelinas went through our campsite and tried to break into one of our plastic gallons of drinking water.
On our way to the Montezuma Quail Trail, we stopped by the bird viewing area. It isn't much of a shelter, but it was an excellent place to view the various birds we saw in the park and particularly the Montezuma Quail.
One of the most memorable parts of our trip to Davis Mountains State Park was the many species of birds that we saw. The most interesting was the Montezuma Quail. Their unique markings make them a site to see when visiting the park.
A gentleman back at the campground told us they come out in the evenings (at the end of May, that is) around 8:00 p.m. Well, they were right on time. You could almost set your watch by their arrival.
Some of the other birds that we saw from the bird viewing area are shown below. I was able to photograph most of these birds in about 15 minutes.
Most of the birds that we saw in the viewing area were attracted to the suet made by one of the park hosts. Before we left the park, I made sure that I got his recipe.
- 3 parts cornmeal
- 1 part peanut butter
- 1 part shortening
- 1 part flour
After our visit at Davis Mountains State Park, we headed for Big Bend National Park. It wasn't too far away, but was much warmer and lower in elevation.