Friday, March 21, 2014

3/18 Balmorhea State Park, West Texas Oasis

I entered Texas today, and thought a picture of this was interesting:

Actually, driving along I-10 in Texas is pretty boring.  Most of it looks exactly like this, and you can drive hundreds of miles with it looking exactly the same.  Nice part is that the freeways are smooth, mostly empty, with a speed limit of 80 MPH, at least once you got past the mess around El Paso.

I did get off the freeway for the last 20 miles to the campground I had reservations at.  More of the same.  No traffic at all.

I was able to stop right in the middle of the road to take a photo of this interesting little chapel.  There are a lot of old windmills, falling down houses, and other buildings that go back to the 1800s.

This house was really pretty substantial, being made of rock with a tin roof.

Interesting little building, but what is a dive shop doing in the desert? 

Balmorhea is an interesting place.  There is NOTHING around this area, but more of that same dry Texas scenery and this state park. 

The reason for the state park is San Solomon Springs.  It is a natural spring with 33 million gallons of water flowing out of it each day.  The water is ancient and flows underground out of mountains 20 miles away.  A quick Google search found this site that has more explanation:

Way back in the 1930s, the CCC dug out the springs and built this large pool.  They left the bottom with natural rocks.  Unlike most pools, this was has a lot of fish and is up to 25' deep.  In fact, snorkeling or scuba diving are very popular here. 
The water leaves the spring and is used for agriculture in the area.  Pretty good current.

Don't know if you can see them, but there are a lot of little fish swimming here.

Surprisingly nice campground and picnic areas.  Actually, I have been here before, way back in 2012.

Not very many people around the little nearby town, but it is supposed to be busy during the hot summer.  I thought this little restaurant was cute with the cowboys out front.

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