Freeway Free in Texas: Rustic Comfort in the Back of Beyond
We continue south from I-10, down through the Davis mountains, which look like someone had taken sections of Bryce Canyon and coated them with dark brown cocoa powder. We turn off onto an even smaller road before Ft. Davis, wind slowly (20 mph speed limit) through the campgrounds in Davis Mountains State Park, and dead-end into the parking lot at Indian Lodge.
Indian Lodge is a blindingly white adobe rustic lodge built by those ubiquitous Civilian Conservation Corps guys, with wooden shutters, twig ceilings, rough decorations chopped out by hatchets, and a swimming pool.
Our room sports two queen sized beds, a spacious handicapped-equipped bathroom, and very unreliable phone and net service. The Lodge includes a charming lobby with two big fireplaces, an outdoor patio with hanging porch swings and another fireplace and a fountain, a small upstairs lounge, and a gift shop (naturally).
A trail leads off from the parking lot, so we put on boots, grab sticks, and off we go, altitude, loose rocks, and elevation gain be hanged! We make it about half a mile up the trail before stopping to look at the Lodge below and deciding we had done enough.
We think of diving into the pool, but it is only March and the pool is sun-warmed – the temperature of the water is in the low 50’s. But wasn’t that a hot tub next to the pool? Nope, that’s a kiddie wading pool. Being shallow, it is just a bit warmer than the main pool and quite refreshing to our feet.
We picnic on the patio with hummus and veggies, sardines and crackers, grapes and pears, and sparkling water. Then we add some cozy clothes and head up the mountain on a road full of hairpin turns to the observation platform at the end of the road. The sun has set, and as ambient light decreased, we see STARS! Orion at his best, red Betelgeuse, Antares, and both dippers, plus a cloudy belt we think was the Milky Way. We will have more star dates in future nights; the Big Bend area is supposed to be one of the least light-polluted sites in the lower 48. After ooh-ing and aah-ing, we carefully make our way back down to our cozy room, blessing those hard-working CCC boys as we sink into sleep.