To the Mountains

Davis Mountains State Park
Nights: 4
Hikes & Bikes: a few low key walks and rides around the campground
Bug Bites: 0 🙂

As we got near Davis Mountains State Park we realized that we haven’t seen mountains since we left Montana. It felt good to be in the mountains again, although these mountains are much different from those in the Northwest. Here the hillsides are covered with mesquite, yucca, agave and cactus.

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Harvard agaves bloom once every 20-50 years and then die leaving these sculptural stalks that can reach 20 feet in the air.

This is a place full of history. Not only is this another park build by the Civilian Conservation Corps, nearby Fort Davis National Historic Site does a great job of telling the story of life in a late 1800s era fort.

We took the skyline drive to see the remains of CCC structures and the views. We also strolled through the lodge they built that is still in use.

We spent a couple of hours walking through the fort. All of the structures are original and many are furnished. We walked through everything from the commander’s house to the hospital to the commissary.

I found it interesting that the army recruited the best doctors in the country and gave them the latest equipment. Still this is the 1800s were talking about so their grasp of disease and the human body was limited. They favored things like blood letting to remove the “poisons” in the blood that were causing illness and didn’t understand how germs were spread so didn’t wash their hands or implements as they moved from one patient to another.

We happened to be here on Halloween and the rangers led a zombie hike and one of the campground hosts donned a mask for the day. Wish I had got a pic of that. For us it was a quiet holiday—no trick or treaters in sight unless you count the deer at the bird feeders.

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Our big excitement was getting our ballots via General Delivery mail (thank you Jolynn!) and being able to cast our votes. I also pulled out the tiny crockpot I packed and made a version of the Chicken Tortilla Soup I used to make back home. It was torture to smell it cooking all day and have to wait to dig in. I think next time I’ll make it on a day we’re out hiking.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
serves 2

Mix together in a 1 quart crock pot:

3/4 cup Pace mild chunky salsa
3/4 cup chicken broth
12 oz. bottle V-8 juice
2 tsp. mild taco seasoning
1 boneless skinless chicken breast (raw)
1/2 c. canned black beans (rinsed and drained)

Turn on high for 6-8 hours. It should be gently simmering. Adjust to low if your crockpot is hotter. Remove chicken breast. Shred with 2 forks and return to crock pot. Stir.

Serve with tortilla chips (Chuck likes to crush his in the bottom of his bowl and ladle the soup on top), sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.

This recipe is pretty forgiving so put more or less of things to your liking. I think next time I’ll put in 2 chicken breasts and save the second one to make chicken enchiladas the next day. Yum!

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