Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Number 68: Monahans Sandhills State Park

Back on December 27th (Wow, time flies) Breck and I visited Monahans Sandhills State Park.  It was very different than any of the others we have visited before.  So many we go to have lots of trees and hiking and usually a lake or river.  Located in a dune field, Monahans really had none of that .


That was not unexpected since it is in a very arid area of Texas.  That said, I don't mean to imply we did not have a great experience there.  On arrival we were met by a ranger that asked us if we wanted to see a Javelina.  Well, of course!


Unfortunately he had been attacked by some wild animal and was very grumpy from his pain.  The ranger closed off the area to keep people away so they could decide how to proceed.  I have since seen a lot more Javelina but this guy was special.



The dunes are the main draw.  You can rent a sled at the Visitor's Center and hike the dunes to take a ride.


Make no mistake.  The hike up is not an easy one.  The sand is very deep and loose and is not easy to walk in.   



We skipped this activity because we had a lot more driving ahead of us on this day and the thought of doing that with our clothes filled with sand was not appealing.  As it was our shoes and socks needed emptying after exploring the dunes.


At first glance you might assume that not much could or would live out there.  No real water source to speak of and not much shade.  But if you looked closely there was evidence of animal life everywhere.



We even saw a few birds out in the scrub like this Say's Phoebe, Loggerhead Shrikes, Meadowlarks, a Red-tailed Hawk and finches.


There were plenty of House Finches, but a tree (tall bush really) near the Visitor's Center filled with Lesser Goldfinches stole the show for me.



After leaving the park we decided to drive through the town of Monahans.   It's a small town with several very old hotels built along the railroad tracks.  This one begged to be photographed.  The Sunset Motel at sunset.


We also spotted this curious coyote along the tracks as we headed back toward Midland for the night choosing to pass on a room at the Sunset.


Getting this park was nice since it helped finish off a park of Texas that is a long way from home for us.  But it wasn't the last one we saw on this trip.  Next up, Big Spring State Park.