After several days of rain in San Antonio that made us feel like we were back in Seattle, we were ready to move on in search of sun. A huge cold front coming down from Canada was projected to bring cold weather to most of the US. We debated heading back to Padre Island, but ultimately decided to head west. By driving for 3 days straight we could reach Tucson, which was not slated to be affected by the cold front.
Usually about 4 hours in the car is our limit, but we spent 7 hours on I-10 heading back across Texas to Balmorhea State Park. We passed right by this park on our way from Monahans to Davis Mountains about 6 weeks ago. It turned out to be nicer than we expected. If we weren’t trying to stay ahead of the weather we would have spent another day or two relaxing here.
The park is at the site of a natural spring and desert wetlands. Long ago the warm spring waters were diverted into a giant pool (the picture shows less than half of it). Even though it was chilly we saw a couple taking a swim. More recently the park reconstructed the wetlands and the water flows from the pool to a couple of restored pond areas. We saw catfish in the stream and a turtle in the wetland.
The next morning we were back in the car for 5 hours. At least we made it out of Texas and into New Mexico.
Our stopping point was Rockhound State Park which surprised us by being both smaller and nicer than expected. Again we would have enjoyed a few more days here. We could have hiked the trails and gone searching for some of the cool geodes displayed at the visitor center.
On our third day we spent 4 hours driving to the west side of Tucson. In the Tucson Mountains is a county park, Gilbert Ray, which is beautiful. But more on that next time. For now we’re happy to be done with all that driving and settled in one spot for a bit.