Fort Leaton was in more disrepair than on our last visit. The ranger told us the recent rain had beef terrible for the adobe. It was being repaired but lots more to do.
Depending on the time of day and the light, the adobe structures and walls can look different and very dramatic.
It isn’t really a ghost town any longer. There are at least two homes being restored.
The Clark Hotel Culbertson County Historical Museum was interesting. Van Horn is the site of the Blue Origin rocket test site.
We spent the night at the El Capitan in Van Horn.
We spent the day hiking in Guadalupe National Park. The Visitors Center was a disappointment. The staff was not friendly or helpful. One of the bathrooms had a stopped up, feces full, overflowing toilet, and over 40 minutes after reporting it to the staff, the restroom was still open and the problem had not been addressed. The exhibit tags were worn and illegible in places and one of the fossil exhibits was incorrectly labeled. The hikes were amazing but the trails were not well-marked.
The photos here are from the visitor center and the nature trail. The caverns are spectacular but most professional photos found online will be far better than the ones we took. We will post some of ours later.
We pulled into Monahans Sandhills SP in late afternoon. The dunes are amazing! There is an inactive pump jack in the picnic loop.
Walking around the campground we saw a distinctive camper we had seen at S. Llano SP at the beginning of our trip. We walked over to chat and they remembered us, too. Interestingly, they had for many years lived in a town near us in MA, so we enjoyed some reminiscing.
On our morning walk through the dunes we met a herpetologist from Texas Tech, who was checking traps she had set for dunes sagebrush lizards. The lizards have a very tiny range encompassing a small portion of New Mexico and only four counties in Texas. For her Masters thesis she was attempting to capture the lizards’ DNA from the sand through a chemical process. If a lizard entered her trap, she would collect sand from the trap to analyze in the lab and extract dna to prove the lizard had been there.
We talked about snakes and lizards for a while, then packed up and headed on to San Angelo.
We’re back on familiar territory at San Angelo State Park. We stay here several times a year. Normally we stay in the southern part of the park but there is also the northern part separate from the south with a separate entrance. We haven’t stayed in the north for years. It’s very nice here, and very secure and very secluded. In fact, we are the only people within view. There’s a large equestrian event with a lot of campers and horses but they’re in a separate loop and we can’t even see them or me normally hear them. The park is huge there’s at least 50 miles of trails here and lots of wildlife. There is an Army Corps of Engineers lake or Reservoir I guess for San Angelo, and some smaller streams but most of them are dry right now. The one downside to staying here are all the little goat head stickers that get stuck in your shoes and your socks on your pants everywhere and they’re sharp and they’re not a pleasant thing so people with dogs should take a great deal of care because these things are everywhere.
Most of our Texas parks have been kept up. This one has lacked attention to critical maintenance issues for years. As a result, the facilities are in poor condition. A park attendant told us they are having serious problems filling open positions.
We spend one more night here, then we go onto inks Lake State Park by Buchanan by Buchanan dam. Then we’re on the way home.
We stopped in the small town of Eden to visit the Fall Fest and listen to the Texmaniacs, a traditional Conjunto band.
Over the years we have watched the slow restoration and renovation of the Seaquest Mansion and yet we have never managed to get there for a tour of the inside. One day….
We got a site at the last minute due to a cancellation. The park is huge, with over 300 campsites and some cabins. It was very crowded. We were lucky to get one of only two sites in the center of a loop, so we had privacy and space.
Tomorrow we will be home.