The Balmorhea Bozos / by Kelly Garcia


Houston > Balmorhea Lake > Marfa 

If you have been following our Instagram feeds, you may know what happened on our first night of camping. If you don't have Instagram or you are just finding us, our original west Texas camping route was derailed by five bozos after we set up camp at Balmorhea Lake. We have stayed at Balmorhea State Park by the spring a couple of times and always felt safe. On March 5th, the State Park was at capacity and they ranger recommended we camp at the lake just a few miles down the road. 

When we arrived at the lake, it was an odd combination of desert with a far off mountain scape, a few houses, and a trailer park on the opposite side of the lake. There were quite a few RVs set up around the lake with families fishing, picnicking, etc... We rolled around to the office to check in and leave our camp fees, but they were already gone for the evening. There was probably an hour left of full sun, so we drove around the lake evaluating our camp options. There was one road that takes you almost entirely around the lake and then shoots you right back around the way you came. On our first pass around the lake we noticed a white truck full of men look at us strange and continue to look at us for an uncomfortable amount of time. Being on a rocky dirt road, we had to continue to drive slow making that minute seem like an hour. Mace and knives were immediately relocated to our jacket pockets. We got to the end of the road and had to turn back, which meant passing by the Balmorhea bozos or the "grossies" as Brandi refers to them, again. They stared, we cringed. This was our first night of the exciting adventure that I planned and of course being the younger sister, there's always a small piece of me that wants to impress my older sister. So far, this group of men was ruining that. haha.

We eventually found a beautiful spot on the opposite side of the lake from those guys and began to set up camp for the night. I was on tent duty and Brandi was on kitchen duty. The ground was tough and it took me forever to hammer in the tent stakes with the heel of my boot. Our plan was to get settled so we could relax off the long drive and watch the sun set with a glass of wine. Just when it came time get around to all that, that white truck started driving past us on its way around the lake. We counted four times (two passes around the lake) before they parked uncomfortably close to us. There was no one parked close to us and there were plenty of other areas for them to relocate other than 10 feet from us. Brandi and I immediately began discussing our options. Then came the small talk... "Do y'all want a beer? Do you smoke? Hey we aren't gonna bother y'all! Hey do y'all have food? I'm really hungry (followed by creepy laugh)." Brandi and I debated either moving camp in close to a family near the office or leaving Balmorhea Lake all together. If we left, that would mean our whole nerdy itinerary would be rocked. We didn't have great internet access on our phones to do a little research and I couldn't guarantee a safe bet on the way to White Sands, NM after sundown, since I have never camped out that way. The guys continued to annoy us despite our obvious "bitch-face" and lack of verbal response.

One man approached us and made small talk and walked back to his truck when he didn't get much from us. Then another one of the guys walked over to our camp and continued to ask questions while standing three feet from where we were sitting. "Do you fish? Do y'all want beer? What do you do for fun around here? Do you have a lighter?" And then the two questions that made us decide the pack up and leave, "are y'all from around here? Do y'all plan on staying here all night?" Brandi was sitting in a chair with her back towards the man the entire time. I was facing her and the man. The man eventually walked off annoyed and said some things to his friends and they drove off, yelling out of the truck window. For how long it took us to get the tent staked in the hard ground, we yanked them up so fast!

Needless to say, we got the hell outta dodge. The first night of adventure seemed to have been stolen from us. After quickly tossing (more like throwing or shoving) everything back in the car we headed for the exit without of plan. We had our first tough decision to make - We could continue on route to White Sands National Park in the dark not knowing if someone is following us or if we would be able to find a place to camp, or we could veer away from our plans and head an hour south to El Cosmico, where we have friends and have a guaranteed safe place to lay our heads. With Brandi sitting crossed legged in the passenger seat with firewood on the floor and a lantern in her lap and with my poor night vision, we opted for the safe bet and headed down to Marfa, Texas. Stay tuned for Marfa!

Click here to see what our original route was.

Photo of my sleepyhead by Brandi Bueno