West Texas is pretty bleak. From Kerrville we headed west on I10. Our route planning was for about six hours of driving plus a couple stops for lunch and driver changes. We have stopped at Fort Stockton before but heard about Balmorhea State Park from a couple folks. It is maybe an hour past Fort Stockton. I20 merges with I10 at Van Horn another hour past Balmorhea. Van Horn has a nasty reputation for being very unfriendly towards RVers. There are a couple of RV parks there and if that is where you are OK, but not in town. So we stopped at Balmorhea. And what is here? Water. It is the site of an enormous artesian well, San Solomon Springs, that has issued 15 million gallons of 72° water a day as far back as anyone remembers. That is right, 15 million gallons!
Before anyone did anything with the water it flooded a natural desert wetland called a cienega. Today the water flows through two smaller cienegas to Balmorhea Lake where it is stored and used for irrigation.
In 1934 the CCC was here building canals. They also built an enormous swimming pool.
The water was warm but it was in the 40s. No swimming for me.
They also built the park, a park manager’s house and a hotel. All are still in use today.
The motel reminded us of the Rustic Western Cabins on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Pretty basic but there for the visitors who come. The park person in the office said that it was quite busy in the summer. It was a nice place to stop and the campground was pretty much full.
This is an odd place out in the middle of West Texas where there isn’t much else. But water is what makes things happen.
Heading west again in the morning. El Paso is a challenging place to get through and on into New Mexico.
Susan and Roger
One thought on “Balmorhea State Park, Balmorhea TX February 13, 2017”
If you were that deep into West Texas, I hope you went to the McDonald Observatory. We thoroughly enjoyed their Star Party.