Destination: Fort Davis, then Marfa
Mileage: ~195 miles + ~36 miles
Time: ~3 hours + ~.75 hours
Temperature: 60/94 (Low/High)
[This isn’t like the other posts, not many PROTips to give except to go to McDonald Observatory!]
We woke up that morning in El Paso struggling to leave. It felt homey, there was coffee ready for us, and Whataburger was comfortably around the corner. We kind of liked El Paso, but when we started driving into Davis Mountains, I was like, “El—what?” The Davis Mountains are beautiful, the weather was perfect, and I was playing Bon Iver in the car (obviously). Located in the Davis Mountains? The McDonald Observatory.
And…I didn’t tell Hannah that it was actually The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory, but she stood in awe of the massive telescopes (that were founded by some Longhorn and Penn State alum). [ICYMI: Hannah is actually a current Aggie. Why? Idk.]
These observatories are really impressive, and I wish that we could have gone through the [2-hour tour] that let you see the facilities. We did the self-guided tour, watched the crazy, cheesey outdated videos and wandered around where we were allowed. No burnt orange shirt or gear could make me feel more proud of the school I graduated from than this observatory. It might be more inspiring than the Tower!
Another-Me wondered if I should have studied aerospace engineering so that I could have access to resources like this…and then I reminded myself of all of the theories that my brain can’t grasp. I like stars, but I’m better with people. Another life, maybe.
After playing outside of the Davis Mountains and “star-gazing,” it was time to go to Marfa, and I didn’t know what to expect. You hear so much stuff about Marfa and you know what? Whatever you hear, it’s nothing compared to when you’re actually there. It’s Bizarro World.
Our people-watching list goes a little something like this:
- A boy with a pinwheel hat
- The mom-crew that wore tutu’s
- Jess and Ashley as we affectionately called them- the girls who rented separate trailers and have probably never been camping
- The bachelor party crew
- The retired crew who came for Marfa lights
- The very real vagabonds
- The hipsters (of course)
- The couple who probably share the same wardrobe and wore socks and sandals
- The lone artist man
- The longhorns ( I saw a ton of people who were repping UT. Figures.)
The Get Go Grocery in Marfa is cool, and I think the only grocery store around (?). It felt like Quickie Pickie in Austin sans a restaurant part and beer-on-tap (something I miss very much). That night, we grabbed a pack of Shiner Ruby Redbird, some chips & salsa, and headed back to camp. A campnight in Marfa seemed pretty tame… a ‘wild’ tabby cat to greet us in the next morning.