The trip was sponsored by The Barnhart Foundation, which was established to broaden the horizons of students in BISD.
These students began their journey by having lunch overlooking Seminole Canyon. A tour through the state park museum and a short hike into the canyon followed lunch. After a short drive, the students stopped in Langtry to visit the Judge Roy Bean Museum. They were treated to a film about the history of Judge Roy Bean and Langtry before touring the historic site.
The next leg of the trip was a long scenic drive into the Chisos Basin of Big Bend National Park for a gourmet supper at the Chisos Mountain Lodge. A short drive through the mountains at night led to the final destination of the night in Study Butte where the students went stargazing before heading to bed.
The group rushed through an early breakfast Friday morning before heading off to the Far Flung River Adventures for a bit of whitewater rafting down the Rio Grande. Students rowed their rafts and swam in the frigid water before taking a lunch break on the bank of the river.
After a few hours more of rafting and a water-fight with the sponsors, the water-drenched students were whisked away for a hike in Santa Elena Canyon. Supper was at the Starlight Theater and Restaurant in Terlingua near the Ghost Town where students experienced a bit of local flavor such as chicken fried antelope and an axis burger.
Saturday began with a trip to the Fort Davis area with a fun-filled trip to the Rattlesnake Museum. Snakes were on display from many regions of North and South America.
Next, students went to Fort Davis National Historical Site for a tour and a historical scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt was an exercise in teamwork and an interesting way to gain knowledge about the history of Fort Davis. Before leaving, the rangers at Fort Davis allowed the students to retire the flag that flies over parade grounds of the fort. They learned the proper folding and presentation of the flag from chaperone, State Park Ranger Steve Mertz of Goliad.
After a brief change into warmer clothes, students went up to the McDonald Observatory for supper at The Café, and a lesson on constellation mapping and star gazing with research quality telescopes. Students spent their final night of the trip sleeping in the historic Hotel Limpia.
On the trip home, students stopped at Balmorhea State Park where they swam in San Solomon’s Springs. Even on a brisk morning, the students enjoyed the constant 72-degree water while observing the natural aquatic wildlife below them. On the way back east, the group stopped and took a tour of the Sonora Caverns. Here students learned about the formation of the natural cavern and the many wonders below the surface of the Earth.
By the end of the trip, students were exhausted and ready to get back to their own beds and families. The trip was one they will never forget, thanks to the generosity of the Barnhart Foundation, the help of the sponsors, and the many wonderful things they experienced along the way.
This year’s group of West Texas Travelers sent a special thank you to Mrs. Darlene Conoly for such a well-planned trip, and to Patty Johnson for getting them there and back safely.