Sunday, December 18, 2011

Balmorrhea, rhymes with diarrhea, State Park

Sorry for the blogging break. 'Tis been a tad busy around here......

For the past way too long I have been sharing with you some of the random awesomeness that can be found here in the nothing. From mountain lions and smelly javelina, to screaming husbands and sand sledding, there has been a lot of interesting things to share with you.

Here is one more. Only one more and then we will (finally!) be done with this vacation that really only took us 6 days to complete.

Next we will look at Balmorrhea State Park.

After sledding very, very slowly down the sand dunes at Monahans Sand Hills State Park, we drove back to our camper in Fort Davis, stopping at this oasis along the way.

Balmorrhea State Park is easy to miss. In fact, we had driven right past it earlier in the day on the way to the sand dunes and we hadn't even noticed it. It's just a tiny speck of interesting.

Truly, there is really only one thing interesting at Balmorrhea and it is this man-made, spring-fed swimming pool that is open year round. It is truly a marvel. There are three connected sections through which 22-28 million gallons of water pass through each day. The pool holds 3 1/2 million gallons of water and has a "deep end" of 25 feet. (A standard Olympic size pool holds 660,430 gallons.)

There is a shallow end that gently slopes down to the center circular part of the pool that has a depth of 25 feet. The water is a brisk 71-73 degrees year round, and because the pool water is untreated fresh spring water, there is a really healthy moss and algae population in the shallow end. The idea was great, but really, it was kinda gross.

The other section coming off of the center is also 25' deep and sports a 3 meter diving board on the end. There are plenty of fresh water catfish, sucker fish, and smaller fish to look at if you snorkel or scuba dive in the pool. It's a tad unnerving jumping off of the diving board and wondering if you're going to smack into a catfish.

Between the center and deep sections of the pool was a short diving board. Paige was the only one brave enough to jump in, though with her floaty ring securely attached to her tummy. Although she swims like a fish, she really didn't want to feet-smack one either.

Of course Jerry, the big giant child-man, enjoyed the diving boards, too. Here he is doing a back flip. I bet he scared the living poop out of those suspecting fish below! Poor things, there they are just minding their own business eating the muck along the walls and rocky bottom of the pool and FaBLOOOOHEY! In comes a giant beast of a man! Can fish have a heart attacks?

We had intended on staying to swim for an hour or so but only ended up staying for thirty minutes. As you can see, the kids were cold to the core, and from the look of Josh's yawning face, we were all pretty tired from the sand-capades we had enjoyed previously.

We, like most parents, tried to enforce mandatory fun, but as a loving mother you can only watch your kids shiver and turn blue for so long before it's time to pack it in.

Overall it was a fun place to play. But maybe on a warmer day. And with a fishing spear. I wouldn't mind some fresh catfish for dinner......