It’s President’s Day so Dave had the day off work, a blessing for the kids too as they were able to enjoy a 3-day weekend – not the 6-day weekend their friends were reaching the end of – but still better than nothing!
I had discovered a neat off-road track to a cool-sounding trail at the Visitor Center the day before, so we headed to the Grapevine Hills Road, bumping along at a speedy 20mph for about half an hour. Dave loved it; I was somewhat relieved to arrive at the trailhead! We really felt as though we were in the middle of nowhere, hiking along the sandy part of the trail for ¾ of a mile. The last ¼ mile took us up, climbing across and up the rocks – the absolute best part of the trail according to the children; it was a lot of fun. The trail officially ended at the balanced rock – another rock which was precariously balanced across two others, looking as though it could be easily pushed off but of course, was immovable!
We sat overlooking the mountains, eating lunch and chatting with a couple who’d also just hiked up: Ellie & John. They travel down south for the winter with their horses, staying at different ranches. It was so interesting hearing about their travels. After a while, the kids wanted to climb further up on the rocks, it looked somewhat daunting but of course, they were not deterred in any way! John went up with them and over the rim, they all swore they saw a mountain lion in the distance.
Dave climbed up to assist the little ones with the descent. Everyone was quite surprised that there was any material left on Nathan’s trousers when he reached the balanced rock point as he pretty much slid the whole way down on his bott!
On the hike back, Jake spent a long time chatting with John and Caitlin with Ellie. It really is wonderful to see how well the kids interact and can chat with adults. We enjoyed their company and followed their ‘freight liner’ (semi) back along the road.
On the way back to the campground, we drove down to the Hot Springs. If we thought the other track was bumpy, the Hot Springs trail was bumpy and extremely narrow with a drop-off, that felt a lot worse than it was – thankfully it was also short! It was a beautiful day and the trail to the hot springs area was easy. It took us past steep mountain sides with pictographs and petroglyphs on the walls, along with multitudes of swallow nests tucked under the overhangs.
The actual hot springs are within the foundations of the bathhouse built in the early 1900’s. People would come from all over to experience the healing properties of the springs, there was a whole community living in this area, complete with a small store, hard to believe given how desolate it is. Huge floods of the Rio Grande in 1932 washed the bathhouse down river, leaving only the foundations, which remain in place today.
It was very cool to sit in the hot springs, watching the Rio Grande River flow along right beside us. 10ft across the river was Mexico, so, although we won’t make it across the border into Mexico this year, we can at least say that we’ve seen it very clearly!
States visited: 49!
visited 49 states (98%)
Create your own visited map of The United States
Miles driven so far -
LOOP 1 (Aug 2009 - Aug 2010): 29,000
LOOP 2 (May - August 2012): 10,800
Highest altitude with camper: 11,158ft (I-70, CO)