West Texas Road Trip Part 2 | Marfa Photographer

This is the second part of a blog post about my trip to West Texas, back in November. If you missed the first part, you can check it out here

Since we were down in West Texas, we wanted to explore more than just Big Bend so we planned a day to stay in Marfa. I stumbled across El Cosmico a few months ago and as soon as I saw photos, I knew that I had to stay at this spot. It’s a bit of a hippie hotel experience and the option to stay in a teepee is my idea of camping!  

On the way from Alpine to Marfa we decided to check out Fort Davis Mountains State Park. I’d heard that there was some nice hiking here as well and since it was on the way, we gave ourselves a few hours to hike here. The terrain was steeper and rougher than the trail we hiked in Big Bend and as someone really afraid of heights it was nerve wracking, but we did it! And though the views were not as majestic as those in Big Bend, they were very impressive. The terrian is so different, just an hour away from the park. It felt more like the Texas desert. From the peak you can see into Mexico and the mountain ranges further south, which is pretty cool! The Indian Lodge that serves as lodging in the park is just beautiful, it would be so fun to come back and stay there and to go to the McDonald Observatory as well.

After the hike, we drove the scenic loop through the mountains and it was impressive. I really could have stopped every 10 minutes to take photos. The mountains were giant rocks jutting out of the earth and below them cattle grazed in brush and trees. The landscape varied from flat desert, to trees with fall colors, to towering rocky mountains. During that one hour drive I think we saw maybe 3 other cars on the road. Safe to say the only people living out here are cattle ranchers and true Texas cowboys. Unfortunately, our pleasant drive was interrupted by a car sick Louis (no photos of that, fortunately). But, by the time we made it to Marfa he seemed to be feeling much much better and after some intensive cleaning we checked into our little teepee.

I absolutely loved staying at El Cosmico and I can’t wait to do it again! I will say fall/winter is not the best time to stay if you hate the cold. It was pretty cold and the bathrooms (and showers) are all outdoors, so, yeah - I froze. Fortunately, the teepee is heated with a propane fire, so we were cozy while we slept! We sat outside the teepee, while Louis slept and enjoyed some wine & the beautiful night sky. Even with the town of Marfa close by, there were so many stars to see!  

On our way out of Marfa we made a pitstop to see the Prada store. If you aren't familiar with this, its a real sized Prada store front out in the middle of nowhere. Literally, NOWHERE. But, we were all the way in West Texas, so we figured, we had to. It was quiet something to see a store sitting on the side of this empty road, just a few miles from the Mexican border! Teresa and I had to have a little photo-op, of course! 

The drive back to Dallas was a long trip, but totally worth it! I am just enamored with West Texas and I can’t wait to go back! As a photographer, its just a dream location to shoot, so I’ve been fantasizing about styled shoots out in the desert or maybe even shooting a Marfa wedding!

Check out my favorite shots below. I shot a little film while I was there as well! Can you tell which ones are film? 

West Texas Road Trip Part 1 | Alpine Texas | Big Bend Photography

It’s been a CRAZY 2 months around here! Since mid-October it’s been one thing after another and bang - here we are - the first week of Advent! This week the insanity continues as we pack up our apartment for a move across town, but before I get busy with all of that, I wanted to share photos of our trip to West Texas. I have so many pics to share that I’ll splitting this up into two posts, so check back next week for the second part!

The first week of November, Tommy, Louis, Teresa (Tommy’s sister), and I piled into the car and drove 7 hours to Alpine, Texas, to do some hiking in Big Bend National Park. I’ve been looking forward to this trip since we found out we were moving to Texas. I’d seen photos of the area and I was just dieing to see the mountains and the desert of the Southwest, because I’ve never been any further west than the Dallas area.

The drive down to Alpine was so easy! It was a little boring at the end there, with long stretches of empty roads, absolutely no cell service and only one radio station, but we made it! We stayed in an adorable little cottage in Alpine, which I highly recommend and headed out to Big Bend the next day for a bit of hiking. The drive to the park was a bit long from Alpine, but it’s one of the closest civilized towns. Next time, we will plan a little further ahead and stay at the lodge in the park, so that we have more time for hiking.

We chose the Lost Mine Trail as the hike for the day, as it promised the great views and wasn’t too long. With Tommy carrying Louis on his back, we wanted to be sure that it wasn’t too long of a hike. The trail is uphill, but easy terrain. There was the possibility of seeing mountain lions, bears, and tarantulas, but we were lucky to not come across any of those! The weather was chilly and foggy when we started out, but occasionally the clouds would break a bit and we could see bits of mountains in the distance.

When we arrived at the peak the clouds started to break up enough for us to see the amazing views surrounding us. The terrain is just magical, especially with the light just peeking out from behind the clouds. It was hard to believe that this exists in the state that we now call home.

We’d hoped to hike the Santa Elena Canyon as well, but we didn’t give ourselves enough time for that day. But we will definitely be back. Hopefully in the spring, when the weather is warmer and clearer. This is a destination that I could return to time and time again! 

After Alpine, we headed to Marfa, but I’ll have to save that and those photos for another blog post!

Return to home | Louisiana Travel Photography

When I left Louisiana to go to college, I never dreamed that I would have gone 7 YEARS without returning home. Can you believe that? 7 years? I grew up in a small, small town in southern Louisiana and left the state twice as a child - once to go to Orange, Texas, to visit my Dad while he worked a temporary job there and once to go to the beach in Pensacola, Florida. That’s it. Until I was 18 and drove up to Ohio for college. Here I am many years later, only 6 hours from home. Six hours seems like a lot to most people, but that’s a breeze when you’ve been living 18+ hours away for 13 years. Of course, as soon as we arrived in Dallas we started talking about when we’d make our first trip back. We didn’t waste too much time. We took a weekend at the beginning of May to head down and visit my family.

The weather was gorgeous and we spent much of the time outside. It easy to remember that I grew up in the middle of nowhere (cable and internet aren’t even an option, that’s how middle of nowhere), but being there was weird. After living in downtown Raleigh, Brooklyn, and now Dallas, being in an expansive natural place with lots of wide open, uninhabited space takes some adjustment. My favorite part was the quiet. Listening to all the bugs and birds and sitting in green grass. It’s been too long since I’ve done that.

We had a chance to visit my grandparents. It was so great to see them and see how well they are, despite the fact that they are up in age and live very remotely and simply. They took us out to show us their fruit trees and flowers. I am so glad they were able to meet Louis and that I have a photo of us all together.

After church on Sunday,  we visited Jefferson Island, which is a plantation home and garden about 10 minutes from where I grew up. Everything was so green and still in bloom and we had a great time following the peacocks around and exploring the gardens. The nature that I grew up with and always found so boring, is now exotic and so beautiful to me.

I’ve had these photos ready for awhile, and it’s taking me much too long to blog this! Especially, since we’ll be heading back there this weekend. I'm looking forward to more visits home and sharing this piece of me.

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