At Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the campground is actually the same as the hiking trail parking lot. We stayed for 2 nights and relied on our camper batteries and propane heater. Thankfully there was a bathroom nearby.
When we arrived on the first night my Brother, Dad, and I went on a hike called The Devil’s Hall. My mom didn’t come with because dogs aren’t allowed so she stayed with Gunner. On the Devil’s Hall trail we had to do a little bit of rock climbing on a dry riverbed to get to the beautiful Devil’s Hall.
The next day we went to Carlsbad Cavern where we hiked a few miles down the natural entrance to the cave system. I liked seeing the endless pit because it really looked like it went on forever. I also really liked seeing an old ladder that went down another seemingly bottomless pit. https://youtu.be/jkpLz6tfUSY
This morning we woke up to see a large group of CBP Special Operations Officers getting ready to train on El Capitan. These guys were probably from Fort Bliss, their headquarters. They had a bunch of climbing gear on so I bet they were either going to be rappelling or climbing up the hill. That was pretty exciting for us guys so that was a great start to our day.
Back when we went to the George Bush #41 Presidential Library, a volunteer at the front door had our ears for about 15 minutes, telling us all the things we needed to do in SW Texas. He gave us so much great information about the area, he really gave us some knock-out tips!
One of the things he told us about that I had no idea of was the Davis Mountains, Fort Davis and The McDonald Observatory “Star Party”. We actually stayed at the Davis Mountain State Park, a park that was built mostly by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) in the 1930’s. Woody and I went to a ranger program about the CCC and it was very interesting, and there are super similar structures to State Parks on the North Shore of Lake Superior that we’ve seen. Except for a lodge in the park that was built, in the adobe – flat roof style of the south. It looked so cool in the park. Currently under some renovations, it would be awesome to stay at the lodge some time!
We took a fun 4-mile hike in the mountains one morning, starting right from our campsite. It was steep and rocky but with beautiful views. Gunner loved it all, it was like being on top of the world.
Later that day I dropped the guys and Gunner off at the top of one of the mountains. I was able to drive down the mountain, but the boys were able to hike down into Fort Davis National Monument. I met them at the Fort, and it was great walking around the renovated buildings, imagining how it was in the past. This was a main fort where Buffalo Soldiers were stationed. It was right on the historic El Paso to San Antonio road, and was actually never attacked. Woody has completed the Junior Ranger program at every national park/monument we’ve been at now. It’s a great way for him to learn even more history about a certain place, and he enjoyed taking the oath at the end as well.
We made it back in time for the boys to attend a ranger program about snakes. Jesse and I didn’t make it. We actually don’t talk about snakes in this family much. They said something about touching the snakes and we made them take a bath and promise not to repeat it again😊< span style=”color: #000000; font-family: Calibri”>That night, we attended the “Star Party” that everyone around here talks about. The University of Texas at Austin has had an amazing McDonald Observatory here in the mountains of nowhere for about 100 years now. And only about twice a year is the sky too cloudy to see stars. Well guess which night we arrived on!?!? Yep- a cloudy one! They had plenty of other things to talk to us about, they boys are just calling it a nighttime science class and we learned about constellations, color spectrums when it comes to solid, gas and liquid forms of light, and we were able to go out and see one of their big telescopes. But not their big big big ones(they have 3 of those, like 4 story high ones, 109” diameter telescope ones!) But still, it was very interesting. All 4 of us have come to the conclusion that we know nothing about stars, and probably won’t be taking up constellations as a hobby any time soon, but we enjoy looking at bright stars in the night sky anyway!<<<<
We started the day off with a dip into the hot springs on the banks of the Rio Grande. The natural hot springs were very warm but because it was a warm day I enjoyed quick dip in the cool Rio Grande as well. After that, we drove to the border crossing/Port of Entry where two rangers gave us information about things we can and can’t do/buy in Mexico.
When we made it to the river there was a man in a rowboat that brought us across the river. After that, we got a ride on a burro to town. When we got to town we saw many people lining the street all selling bags, coozies, and wire sculptures. There were two restaurants, one on either street. We ended up going to the one on the south side which was named Boquillas restaurant.
For lunch we had tacos, tamales, and enchiladas. This was my first time having tamales and I can say that I will definitely have them again. We walked down more streets where we saw the school, clinic, and the many solar panels provided in part by the UN. Woody did his blog out on the balcony of another restaurant that provided a great view.
When we were about to leave we saw a Mexican Army Humvee come rolling through the town. Woody and I both thought that was super cool. We found a house that sold snacks and other food. We bought a bunch of candy and my favorite one by far was the soft chili tamarind candy. Our burro ride back was fun and when we got back to the U.S. side, at the Port of Entry there was a machine with a camera and a telephone that we used to call immigration officials in El Paso. I had a lot of fun during my first time in Mexico.(AT)