Just a Quiet Day Hiking at Stillwell

I have to make a correction – the Stillwell RV Park and Hallie’s museum is NOT in Alpine, TX – that is just where the PO Box is. This RV park is 6 miles north and east of the Big Bend main entryway, and 35 miles from the Panther Junction Visitor Center. I found out that the town of Alpine, where the nearest grocery store is located, is 23 west of Marathon. (I know some folks are looking at maps!)

Yesterday I took a long hike around the property. More than a hundred years ago the Stillwell family started ranching in this area. It is still owned by the family (great granddaughter, Kay) is the owner now and she has help from many volunteers who have been coming here for many years. Two of the volunteers (among many) are from Minnesota, and the wonderful entertainers Eldon and Ann Whitford (I think I got the last name correct) are from Michigan and have been coming here for practically their whole lives. Eldon’s real job is a representative for Gibson guitars. I will be coming back here to socialize! Here are some of the photos from today, starting with scenes from the trail, cacti and plants that I like, and one or two shots of the primitive campsites that dot the ranch.

s-1a-Stillwell Store and RV Park

s-1b

s-1c

s-2a-Red Prickly Pear Spines

s-2b

s-2c

The property is dotted with dozens of primitive campsites. I saw a man with a metal detector scanning the area around his site. Later I found out that there was a female artist living in a camper/pickup truck combo at another site.

s-2d-primitive campsites

The barb wire fence marks the property line of the Stillwell ranch.

s-2e-End of Property Line

s-2f-Grass Rocks Cactus

s-2g

s-2h

s-2i

s-2j

s-2k

When I returned from my 2-hour hike I met the couple staying in the Class A motorhome next to mine – Barb and Jerry from St. Louis. They just started full-timing in August and worked at the Balloon Fiesta, too! They went to the old-time country music entertainment in the Hallie’s Museum last night. Following is a photo of the museum at night and Ann and Eldon playing for us. Keith (one of the Minnesota volunteers) had a wonderful camp fire afterwards at his site. Most of us stayed until the fire was just embers and our behinds were frozen solid!

s-3a-Stillwell at night

s-3b-Eldon-Ann-Whitford Entertaining

It is Saturday morning and I am now moving into the park! More later. . .

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