How can one county, the largest in our state, be so unknown to so many Texans?
Brewster County is home to Alpine, Sul Ross University and Big Bend National Park, and it’s all been calling the names of Matt and Cyndy Smith of Frisco since their first visit less than a year ago.
Matt and Cyndy have been friends for most of the past 20 years. She is an incredible graphics designer. We’ve worked together back when I did annual Texas Gardening Calendars and Neil Sperry Lone Star Gardening, the book the two of us along with editor Carolyn Skei did together.
I had talked enough about Big Bend National Park that Cyndy and Matt made the trip last May. They loved Alpine, the Davis Mountains and Fort Davis, and most especially Big Bend. So much so that they couldn’t wait to go back, and last week was their time.
Cyndy took a big batch of photos. I’m going to share only a few in the hopes that they’ll inspire you to do as she and Matt did. Go. See. Explore. Love your state.
Cyndy’s photos from Big Bend National Park…
Let’s head back to Alpine… Before we leave Brewster County entirely, I want Cyndy and Matt to take us back to Alpine. You may remember two weeks ago my mention of Hancock Hill and the fact that they would be climbing it to see “The Desk” that students from nearby Sul Ross University carried up there (1-1/2 miles) more than 40 years ago so that they could have a place of solitude to study and reflect.
Well, here is that desk. Slightly weather-worn over time. They brought their book and Cyndy decided to catch up on a chapter or two.
This part of Texas will win your heart. Just ask Matt and Cyndy.
On a personal note… It was 92 years ago that my mother and father, newlyweds Dr. Omer and Lois Sperry, moved from the University of Nebraska to Alpine, Texas, where he would develop the Department of Biology at Sul Ross State Teachers College.
Dad was elected Dean of Students all but one of their 16 or 17 years in Alpine. I was adopted as an infant in 1944, and we moved to College Station in 1946 where Dad co-founded the Range and Forestry Department at Texas A&M.
But the real irony in Cyndy’s photos and descriptions of their hikes has been that the trails Matt and Cyndy walked were merepaths that my dad took during the Depression as he researched the Plants of the Big Bend, the book that he published about the time I was born.
Dad traveled on gravel roads the 118 miles from Alpine to Big Bend every other weekend for a decade to collect the hundreds, perhaps thousands of unusual plants that grow in that unique place. One of Dad’s students, Dr. Barton Warnock took over when we left for College Station. Dr. Warnock did a hero’s task of continuing that work for his entire lifetime.