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Trip Reports The Trip Reports forum is for backpackers to share their actual (not links to) trip reports and/or journal entries for their wilderness backpacking and day-hiking trips. Please include photos and information regarding what worked (e.g. gear) and what didn't.

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Old 12-17-2006, 04:16 PM
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Neville Neville is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 21
A week in the mountains, the desert and the forest - Trip Report

The Mountains
Davis Mountains State Park - Fort Davis, TX

The Davis Mountains are nestled in between Guadalupe Mountains NP and Big Bend NP and offers
a nice escape from the flat lands of East Texas. I arrived late in the evening and pitched camp in one of the developed sites and decided to crash early. I awoke early the next morning and scouted out the nearby scenic highway before packing up and heading to the trailhead. The trail is only six or so miles in length but offers roughly 800 feet of elevation gain and some nice camping on an open ridge where clouds are more of the exception rather than the norm. After taking about two and a half hours to reach the top, I pitched camp and spent the rest of the day scouting the ridgeline. As dusk came about, I ploped myself down in my favorite backpacking easy chair and watched the sky blossom with billions of stars. I see now why they chose to
place a stellar observatory in this area.

Next morning I packed up and returned to the trailhead and spent the next day roaming around Fort Davis and the nearby McDonald observatory.

After the mountains, it was off to the desert. I headed east from the mountains and watched as the mighty rises slowly reduced themselves to rolling hills and finally a flat expanse that you could fit Connecticut into. I arrived in bustling town of Del Rio and plotted the next day's moves for Devil's River.

The Desert
Devil's River State Natural Area - Nowhere, TX

Indeed, in the middle of nowhere. The closest town is sixty-five miles away with about twenty-three of those miles spent on a dirt road filled with open range cattle and deer. As expected, I was the only one there. After setting up camp I hiked three or so miles down to the park's namesake; a spring-fed oasis in the middle of the parched landscape. If so desired, one can canoe down this river until it dumps into Lake Amistad along the Texas/Mexican border. I spent a few hours exploring the river before heading back to witness yet again another starry night with nary a soul in sight.

As with most deserts, the temps during the day were pretty high (upper 70s during the day) but then dropped as soon as the sun set. I awoke around seven in the morning to a temperature of 29 degrees, packed up, got back on the road and
headed for a thick pine forest east of Austin.

The Forest
Bastrop State Park - Bastrop, TX

The park covers a sizeable area of pines and hardwoods surrounded by the sprawl of Austin and it's suburbs. When the park was created in the 1930s, I guess that no one expected Austin to grow by half a million folks.

At any rate, my plan called for hiking and backcountry camping along an eight mile loop thorugh the dense forest but I was forced to cut the trip in half due to a prescribed burn that occured a week or so earlier. After hiking around four miles, I located the quasi-primative camping area and set up camp. Later in the day I came across a portion of the burn area, still smoldering from the earlier blaze, casually poked my head into the charred ruins for a brief spell and then headed back to camp for the night.

Not a bad way to use up the last week of vacation for 2006.
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Old 12-21-2006, 04:37 PM
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PaisleyDestroyer PaisleyDestroyer is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 25
I've been through that area a few years ago, before I got into hiking. It was very beautiful. I'm aiming to go back.
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