March 12, 2013.
Third of Four-Part Series
Off to the destination to Chisos Mountains. To the west. Oh, There are many turn-offs to various unpaved roads along the way. I decided to make a short turn off onto Dugout Wells, about 20 miles away from Hot Springs while on it.
I arrived. I thought…“oh that’s it?” Uh, umm, okay. I decided to get out of my car anyway and off I went. I found the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail, a nice picnic area, and a sort of mini-oasis in the desert, thanks to the water pumped from the wells by an old-style windmill built here.
I took the liberty to research more information about this one (when I got back home from the 5-day road trip) and I found the interesting fact. This is not my picture I took – I got it off from internet. The captions is read what the photo was as mentioned as below:
“During the early 1900’s, Dugout Wells was home to the Green family. A sign on the trail read, “Green family home- near the windmill stood a ranching complex, a few houses, and the regions first school. The small frame schoolhouse inspired people of the area to call Dugout Wells a “cultural center of Big Bend”.
The National Park service has worked to prevent people from the damaging this well. They have the well sealed up but it is still operational. I can imagine the talk and activity that must have taken place in this very spot years ago. It was also once an active ranching community as well. I’m sure there was talking about the weather, happenings around in this small area, and even some gossiping about the people around this well. Gossiping, sure, that reminds me of the Little House on the Prairie. 😉
Ahem, okay, off to Chisos Mountains….
It took me about 16 miles to get there at the Chisos Mountains Lodge from Dugout Wells, passing Panther Junction, then turn left on Green Gulch. When I got out of my car, I felt some cold air. I realized that I stood on the 5,400 feet elevation lodge in the heart of Big Bend National Park. Coming from where I was driving from the Rio Grande Village, it was somewhere between 1500 to 2000 feet elevation. It’s nestled in the basin of the Chisos Mountains. I understand that it’s the the only lodging in the park. The highest point in the Chisos Mountain range is Emory Peak at 7,825 ft above sea level.
The Lodge has 72 rooms are non-smoking and are conveniently located near the dining facility, shopping in some stores, the visitor center, and many other park activities and points of interest. In keeping with the park’s natural authenticity and to preserve the lodge’s uniquely tranquil environment, our rooms do not have televisions or phones. While the basin area does not have cell phone coverage, free WiFi is available in most rooms as well as the restaurant, lounge, and patio areas. I haven’t checked it out but next time I come back, I will probably make some reservations of the room.
The Mountain View Restaurant provides the only full-service dining inside the park. The restaurant has a grand vista of the basin and surrounding peaks and is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I was hungry. I went there to order the salad but these waitresses/waiters avoided the service I requested. I waited for 20 minutes. The waitress was standing next to me, taking some orders from people, that was the same one who submitted me the menu. I waved and they still ignored me. I am not sure if they don’t know how to deal with a Deaf visitor here in the restaurant before but I was really disgusted at their lack of service. I left. I left a negative remark on Yelp. I wrote the compliant to the manager who was absent that day. (I got the reply two days later after I left the lodge, that he offered me a free meal next time I come back to visit the park. I still don’t know what kind of status or punishment on his employees. I’ll take that for a big chicken Cesar salad I’m so keen on. ) I went to the small grocery store called Basin Camp Store. The employees at the store was very friendly. I bought myself a coke and an egg sandwich. The egg sandwich turned out delish so I came back to get another. They also banned plastic bags there. Just the same in Austin.
Leaving for Santa Elena Canyons but…..I had to stop for THIS amazement!
There are lots of parking to hop off, but to be warned, it’s a road curve – be careful where you go across to the other side – to take the breathtaking view of Chisos Basin. The young man, might be a college student, stumbled over the rocks, didn’t pay attention to where he walked. The other people and I snickered at him. He got up and smiled at us, patting his knees off dirt. He had no injuries but I’m pretty sure that dented his ego a little bit. He should have been so glad I didn’t take a picture of him and post it on my site. 🙂
After leaving the overview, I drove down back to the road on the way to Santa Elena Canyons that is always my favorite.
You will see why….do not stop right here….click the next page.