We left Big Bend via the scenic river road (FM 170) through Big Bend Ranch State Park. The river road is known for its sweeping vistas. It follows the Rio Grande River to Presidio so Mexico was within our sight most of the way.
We spent one night in Marfa to see the Marfa lights. The Marfa lights are an unexplained phenomena, source less lights that dance on the horizon looking towards the Chinati Mountains. They were first seen in 1883 and cannot be located. We were lucky enough that the sky was clear and we did get to see the lights!
Marfa is also known for it’s minimalist art. It is famously known for Prada Marfa, a permanently installed sculpture that resembles a Prada store located in the middle of nowhere. It contains actual Prada pieces from the 2005 collection.
Driving around this quirky little town, we stumbled upon Big Bend Coffee Roasters. Noted on TripAdvisor as one of the top things to do in Marfa, Big Bend Coffee Roasters is a small, independent coffee roaster. It sells its coffee mostly to coffee shops and direct to consumers. They offer tours by appointment. Even though we just walked in, the owner graciously gave us a tour of the small shop and explained his coffee roasting philosophy to us.
Our final stop was Balmorhea State Park. Balmorhea SP is known for the 3.5 million gallon freshwater swimming pool. Built by the CCC between 1936 – 1941, the pool is built around the San Soloman Springs. It has a constant flow rate of up to 28 million gallons of water so no chlorination is required. Craig and Adele swam in the pool but I did not due to the overwhelming (for me) amount of fish in the water!
Balmorhea is located near the Davis Mountains which is home to the McDonald Observatory. The observatory hosts star parties on Friday and Saturday nights. The star parties usually sell out but we were able to get tickets for Saturday night. Unfortunately, the sky was not cooperating and was overcast. Instead of stargazing, the observatory hosted several live talks and we were able to learn about the smaller dome telescopes.
Our final day was spent hiking in Davis Mountains State Park. Davis Mountains SP is a CCC developed park and is located next to the Fort Davis historical site. Within the park is the 39 room Indian Lodge of which 16 rooms were built by the CCC.
With that, we say farewell to our beloved home state and hello to the Land of Enchantment. New Mexico here we come!