After Big Bend National Park, we followed the Rio Grande through another stunning park, Big Bend Ranch State Park. This has terrific hoodoo rock formations and crazy canyons cut by the Rio Grande. We stopped for a short hike at a hoodoo trail.Next, we visited the famed town of Marfa. Sadly, we were underwhelmed. The 1830 courthouse is lovely and the Paisano Hotel (where the cast and crew of Giant stayed while filming the movie) is beautiful. It appears the town must live hard and fast Thursday through Sunday because almost everything is closed Monday through Wednesday with the exception of the JUDD Foundation’s limited tours, the bookstore and the hotels. We walked around and then continued to Fort Davis.Fort Davis is home to the McDonald Observatory and we arrived on a Star Party day. After a scenic drive swirling up 6,800 feet in altitude, we arrived at the visitor center. There is a telescope park, an amphitheater and an indoor exhibit area. The clouds were rolling in as the sun was setting and there was some lightning in the distance causing a little concern about the program.
Fortunately the clouds disappeared and we enjoyed a rockin’ star party. We moved between seven different telescopes each focused on a different star or constellation or planet. The astronomers gave us information about the different telescopes and the stars. As our eyes adjusted to the night sky we saw more and more stars. An added bonus…on our short walk up to the amphitheater we saw a group of wild javalina. It was too dark to get a clear photo (no flash photography allowed) but here is my fuzzy picture along with a photo from a public domain site.Sweet dreams await under a blanket of stars.