Freeway Free in Texas: A Distillation of the Desert
If you are going to spend time in the desert, it’s best to know what you may be seeing, smelling, and getting stuck onto. The Chihuahua Desert Research Institute and Botanical Gardens, about 10 miles east of Ft. Davis, provide a convenient and comprehensive introduction.
The site includes a pretty little visitors center, surrounded by very well laid out gardens highlighting desert plants by family (e.g. verbena, rose, oak, beech) explained with a very informative brochure. (who knew that mangoes and blueberries are both part of the verbena family?)
At the end of a winding trail through the gardens is a greenhouse full of exotic cacti. Some are potted on benches, others set into a lovely mini-garden at the end of the greenhouse.
The very charming lady at the visitor’s center explained a couple of short hikes available starting from the center, but just the 1 mile circuit of the garden on our second day at altitude was enough. We took our brochure and photos back to peruse over lunch, to prepare us for the morrow’s ventures further into the Back of Beyond.