Mountain and Basins Road Trip

By: Rylee, Anna Marie, Haley, Rithick and Jill

Midland (The starting Point)

We started our long journey in the city of Midland which is located in the Great Plains but our adventure would start when we got to the Mountain and Basins. While we are making our way through the region we will see the great national monuments that are The Big Bend National Park and Guadalupe Peak. Then we will visit the major cities, Fort Stockton and El Paso but along the way we will get to observe The Rio Grande River and the Pecos River. Well lets get going!

MILES: Midland to Fort stockton= 105 miles, Fort Stockton to Big Bend= 99.2, Big Bend to El Paso= 289 miles, El Paso to Guadalupe Peak= 111 miles, Guadalupe Peak to Midland= 195 miles (799.2 miles in total)

Big Bend National Park

This is a place in far West Texas where the night skies are very dark and there are canyons in ancient limestone. There are hundreds of bird species in this desert area. The diversity of species is the best in the country. This place is also rich in history. Native people lived in/or passed through this area for more than thousands of years. There presence is evidenced from pictographs and archaeological sites. This magical place is called Big Bend National Park.

Guadalupe Peak

The Guadalupe Peak is the highest peak in Texas. You usually enter with a car into the park and then hike the trails. You can drive them to if you want. If you go to Guadalupe Peak it is 90 miles closer to Big Bend than El Paso is. There is also an airport close to it. The entry fee to this national park is five dollars per person for adults 16 years of age and older and is good for seven days. You can bring your dog on campgrounds and very little trails. Dogs are not allowed on most trails.

Rio Grande River

The Rio Grande River is 1,896 miles long holding the record of the fourth longest river in the United States. This river has been used as a boundary between Mexico and the U.S since 1848. It rises in high mountains then continues to flow at high elevation. The river cuts through the middle of Mexico then makes its way into Texas stopping in El Paso. IN New Mexico the river goes through the Rio Grande Rift. About 3 million years ago water drained from San Juan mountains in Colorado forming the river that takes apart New Mexico and eventually the west and southwest boundary and the Texas-Mexico border, before emptying into into the Gulf of Mexico. It's quite the sight to see!

Pecos River

The Pecos River runs through New Mexico and Texas, but it enters the mountain and basins region just to the East. The river flows Southeast creating many boundaries. Those many boundaries include Loving and Reeves, Reeves and Ward, Ward and Pecos, Pecos and Crane, Pecos and Crockett, and Crockett and Terrell counties. Then the long river enters Val Verde County at the northwestern corner. Then the Pecos River makes it’s way into it’s mouth, The Rio Grande River. In addition to being a boundary for so many Counties the river serves as a boundary for most of the mountains and the arid region of Texas. From all this information the main thing you're probably getting is that this river is very big, well it is! The river adds up to be 926 miles long! It might not be as long as the Rio Grande River but its a beautiful sight to see and a great place to catch some fish.

Arid: (of land or a climate) having little or no rain; too dry or barren to support vegetation.

El Paso

Next we're off to El Paso! El Paso has the population of 862,632 people, the majority of the people there are hispanic the minority being African American. There are so many exciting things to visit in this vibrant city. A great place to visit here Lucchese Boots, this is a family owned company that has been around since 1883 producing their own cowboy boots. Another great place to visit is the Zin Valle Vineyards, located in Mesilla valley is a family owned winery produces a world class wines! Now go on done to El Paso and buy some boots and see how they make some wine!

Fort Stockton

Fort Stockton is another place that we are visiting on our journey through the mountain and basins region. This city is in Pecos County and has a population of 8,283 people. Within the Fort Stockton population the race that is a majority is Caucasian with the minority being African American. A great place to visit here is Historic Fort Stockton which is towards the east of town. Here you can visit three original buildings from The Officers' Row (one being a private residence), the original limestone Guard House, two mens barracks and kitchens, and the original parade ground.

Barrack- provide (soldiers) with accommodations in a building or set of buildings.


The first Europeans in all probability were Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca and his three companions, survivors of an unsuccessful Spanish expedition to Florida, who passed through the El Paso area in 1535- 1536, although their exact route is debated by historians. Several years later, in 1540–42, an expedition under Francisco Vázquez de Coronado explored an enormous amount of territory now known as the American Southwest. The first party of Spaniards that certainly saw the Pass of the North was the Rodríguez-Sánchez expedition of 1581; its arrival marked the beginning of 400 years of history in the El Paso area.So in conclusion not many Europeans traveled to this area but a lot of the Spanish people did.

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Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

Jumano Tribe

The Jumano was a very big tribe that lived along the Rio Grande River. They lived in permanent homes made of wood and adobe bricks (the bricks made by drying clay in the sun). The tribe would paint the inside of their homes black, white, red and yellow strips. Of course living in the mountains and basins the land was very dry so they would grow all of their crops around the Rio Grande River. They would gather wild plants and buffalo, the buffalo being very important to them because lots of the clothes and weapons they made were made out of the animal. They also traded it using it as if it was money.The tribe didn't last to long though, the Apache tribe attacked them, they faced a drought, and caught diseases brought on by the Europeans.

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Locations of Indian Tribes

Historical Landmark

Fort davis was built in 1854, named after secretary of war, Jefferson Davis. It was located strategically located to protect immigrants, mail coaches, and freight wagons on the Trans-Pecos river of the Chihuahua Trail and the San Antonio-El Paso road from 1854 to 1891. Under command of General Davis E. Twiggs it was evacuated in 1861 at the start of the civil war. Only 20 Confederate States Army troops manned the fort during John R. Baylor's invasion of New Mexico.

Primary Resource

The McDonald Observatory is an astronomical Observatory is located near Fort Davis in Jeff Davis County. The facility is located on Mount Locke in the Davis mountains of West Texas. The site of the McDonald Observatory is property of the University of Texas at Austin. The Observatory is equipped with a wide range of astronomical tools, and to add to it in 1939 the McDonald Observatory built the Otto Struve telescope. The 2.1 meter or 82 inch mirror made it the second largest in the world at that time. The construction of this telescope took place in 1933 and finished up in 1939. The Otto Struve telescope was designed by the Warner and Swasey company and constructed by the Paterson Leitch Company. The Otto Struve telescope was named after a Russian astronomer named Otto Struve. The telescope is still in good shape and in use to this day. Now the telescope is controlled by a computer, and weighs 45 tons.

Check out this document for more information on the Otto Struve telescope:

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