On our way to Big Bend State Park we stopped off in Marfa, Texas. After a day mountain biking in Davis Mountain State Park, we took the next couple days to check out the towns of Marfa and nearby Alpine, Texas.
Marfa was founded as a railroad water stop in the 1880’s. It’s a small rural town that has worked to rebrand itself as an artsy place. In 1971 Donald Judd, a renowned minimalist artist moved here from New York City to install his art in a recently purchased army base. The Chinati Foundation opened on the site in 1986 as a non-profit art foundation, dedicated to Judd and his contemporaries. We took an afternoon to walk into town and look around.
Alpine Texas claims to be the biggest town in the biggest county in the biggest state. We made the short drive to check it out. The town sits at 4,600′ and is home to Sul Ross State University. It’s a quaint little town with a fun artsy feel. We stopped in at the visitor center to pick up a guide for the historic walking tour and wandered around seeing the sights. The highlight for us was the old courthouse and jail, which have stood longer than any other in the downtown area. Construction began in 1887 and the city block today is very grand.
After walking around downtown, we headed to Sul Ross University to hike Hancock Hill behind it. In 1981, Sul Ross Industrial Tech Education student Jim Kitchen and classmates Bill Wagner and Travis Miller decided they needed a quiet spot away from the dorm to study. Together they carried a desk up Hancock Hill. Soon Kitchen and his friends were spending hours up on the hill studying and enjoying the beautiful surroundings. One day, Kitchen left a notebook in one of the desk drawers and when he checked it later, someone had written in it. He replied and soon the tradition of a notebook associated with The Desk was born. When Derek and I reached the top, I sat in the desk and left a message in a notebook stored in the top drawer of the desk. Then I sat there looking out, thinking about those that had done the same.