Shortstop: Balmorhea State Park, TX

Long before the Spanish and European explorers ever came to what is now thought of as the Big Bend country of Texas the native Americans depended on this oasis created by the artesian springs of this vicinity. This is dry country and these springs, now called San Solomon Springs, offer welcome relief and surprising life in the desert. Farmers have used the spring water for irrigation since the 1850’s and in 1938 a large V-shaped pool was formed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. After driving nearly 200 miles from El Paso across high, dry desert, this state park remains a welcome oasis for travelers and a popular swimming hole for the locals and – get this – a place for scuba divers to use their gear in the 25 foot deep pool out here in this dry, dry country. Bahmorhea State Park offers water/electric campsites as well as rental cottages. Many of the campsites are pull through and all have covered shelters. My Verizon phone had pretty good 4G and real strong 3G. We enjoyed a swim in the pool with it’s crystal clear waters which remain a consistent 72-76 degrees year round – this just a short stroll from our campsite. Thousands of small fish surrounded us. The pool has a few small catfish and turtles as well. We also saw a fairly large snakeskin on the sidewalk by the pool. Didn’t see the snake though – no complaints about that. In addition to the spring we enjoyed wonderful star-lit skies at night. The Milky Way is in plain view here on the desert plains of West Texas. We had a curious roadrunner (beep-beep) checking out our campsite during the day and, yes, we heard the call of coyotes at night. My only complaints are the lack of sewer hookups in the campground and bathrooms that need some updating and TLC. I’m sure that this state park will be on our itinerary on future trips across west Texas on I10.

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