Monday, March 7, 2011

Big Bend Adventures Day 5

We are gone from the Big Bend area and are waking up in the Executive Suite at Indian Lodge in the Fort Davis State Park. 
We didn't get a chance to hike here, and we had planned to attend a star party at the nearby McDonald Observatory located atop Mount Locke and Mount Fowlkes, but our time was running out in Texas.
We woke to another beautiful sunrise in West Texas.

 We had breakfast at the Indian Lodge then packed up once again. We all decided to visit the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center (their website ) about a 10 mile drive to the southeast. 

So it started off to be your typical nature center, the five of us toured the botanical gardens (20 acres) including some 165 species of trees, shrubs, and perennial forbs and a greenhouse containing about 200 species cacti / succulents,  interesting but flat with wide gravel paths.  A lot of work I'm sure.

Two of our group had to head back to catch their flight out of Midland, so we decided they would leave in the Mazda and we would continue to wander the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center. We said our good byes and two left for the Midland-Odessa airport.

As we got more into this place I realized it is well supported and dynamic, some nature centers get a little run down and have a lack of interest but that's not how it was at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center. At this point we hiked the Modesta Canyon Trail, and the Outside Loop Trail.  What a surprise we got on these trails, a canyon here, with water at the bottom,  lots of rocks, and a fairly challenging trail.  Very nice!

            The trail at Modesta Canyon
 We climbed up out of the canyon and rounded Lion’s Head.
We walked up to the highest point (how high is it, I don't know) at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center,  
Clayton’s Overlook.  Here we found an exhibit that opened in 2009, the exhibit focuses on the geology of the Davis Mountains.

Our Dynamic Landscape:
Geology, Culture, History   Exhibit
The View from Clayton’s Overlook

We got back to the nature center and had a snack, then toured the Chihuahuan Desert Mining Heritage Exhibit.
It invites visitors to explore the history of mining in a replica of a early 20th century mine. 

Wrapped along the western side of the nature center building was the Geological Timeline exhibit illustrating a story of oceans and volcanoes with rock samples.

We drove back through Fort Davis and had some lunch at, ah, um, the Stone Village Market?  Maybe that's not right, but the food was good and we sat outside to eat it.  We drove up highway 17, very scenic, it was about 170 miles back to Midland.  That was the 5th day of our trip.

The 6th and last day of our trip we toured Midland,  took Sabkha to the dog park, Andrew took us to KD’s Smokehouse for lunch, that  place has great food especially if you like meat, and I do like meat!  As we were sitting there eating we got a call that our American Airlines flight had been cancelled for the afternoon, (can they just cancel our flight!) it got straightened out and we took a later flight so more time at Andy's house. 
The guys messed around with the dirt bikes a bit, we packed up and headed to the airport.  Sad to say good bye.  What a fun and interesting vacation!  Thanks Andy! We had two flights home to Michigan.


Anonymous said...

That sunrise is so pretty! Really like the conclusion of the trip, sounds like much fun was had. :)

Anonymous said...

Your photos come alive with your narrative of your trip. "Interesting but flat..." could have described the exhibits you were seeing but then the view from the overlook - wow! The rocks look like they are marching off somewhere. How do you get mountains to look dynamic? You could teach photography, you know. M