Road Trip 2015: The Great Awakening (in the Davis Mountains)

January 4, 2015 § 1 Comment

Operation Sunrise was a success:

The lodge that we are staying at offers complimentary coffee 5- 7 AM, so I had motivation to roll out of bed at 6 o’clock in the morning, stuff myself into two dozen fuzzy layers, and go snag some caffeine.  We asked for a good sunrise spot, and the lady at the reception advised us the Quail Trail, which starts at the parking lot.  She also said that it was steep and probably not the best trail to hike with ice and snow all around.

So, naturally, we put lids on our cups, grabbed some flashlights, and began the ascent in the dark.  As we reached the first hilltop, we could see the sun starting to reach its light over the land, coloring everything in pastel hues:


It was amazing, to see white plains stretching ahead of you, every blade of grass wrapped in a thick layer of ice, and the glow of the invisible sun slowly taking over.


It was also very windy; a constant hum of nature’s wind chimes.  It seemed alive, the wind.  (and it devoured us!).  Coming up to the highest hilltop, we were greeted by the sun itself peaking over the horizon.  What perfect timing!


And then everything began to melt and awaken; ice to water to air.  Trees began raining, and grass grew taller as the ice melted, and birds started reappearing, and it felt as if we were watching the first day of the world.

After the most satisfying breakfast that I had in weeks (eggs and meats and biscuits taste so much better after a two-hour pre-dawn hike!), the only logical procession was to go tackle the other hiking trail in the park: the Skyline Trail.SkylineHike
It was beautiful, and felt exactly how a hike in West Texas should feel like: like you are in the middle of nowhere.

It was sunny and beautiful, yet bitterly windy on all of the hilltops.  And in the distance, you could see fields of frost, with cool, blue mountains breaking up the horizon line.


I loved every single step.

And every spiky palm tree.

And every gnarly tree.


And every cliff.


After two hikes, it was time to devour all of the cookies and chocolates that were available in the office lobby, re-bundle up, and head out to the McDonald Observatory.  Driving alongside the sunset, we had the sun on one side and the moon on the other to keep us company.  The colors here are amazing in the sky:

At the observatory, we learned all about the constellations (I feel so inspired to lug out all of my Greek mythology books again), and then looked through a bunch of telescopes at stars and the moon and other space stuff.  My toes were utterly frozen by the end of the night, and my nose was like an icicle, but it was completely worth it.  There are few things in the world that make you feel as small as… things from out of this world.




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