I suppose my experience with Brantley Lake State Park was shaded by the damp weather and a long drive from Marfa that started out nice but turned ugly. (If you want to see oil fields and fracking in all their dirty, grimy, litter-strewn glory while sharing a two-lane highway with hundreds of big trucks and the occasional insane driver, take US285 from Pecos, TX to Loving, NM. Otherwise, stay away.)
Brantley Lake is actually a reservoir on the Pecos River. The land is flat with a hint of hills to the west. The campground isn't very large, but all the sites have shelters, water and electricity. That means and extra $4/night even with the annual pass. Some sites have sewer hookups for an extra $8. The no-extra-charge primitive camping area was closed for the season. So was the camping area on the west side of the lake.
There were showers, although the water pressure was very low and the temperature was not adjustable (not very warm). The flush toilets are stainless steel with no separate seats. Oooo, chilly, but no arguments about leaving the seats up.
As the day got late and sites filled up, the stragglers drove round and round trying to decide which of the few remaining sites they could stuff their 35' trailers into. Then there was the backing in, pulling ahead, backing in again, pulling forward a bit, backing up, getting out and checking your position, backing up a bit more, then changing your mind and looking for a different site—only to return and try it all over again. It was humorous at first. Then I just wanted to smack them.
Oh, and there were the flies. I slaughtered scores of them, but there were always more. At least they went away or settled down with the loss of daylight and the addition of rain.
Some other time, with better weather, a different route, and industrial strength insecticide, Brantley Lake might be an excellent place to spend a few days. Just not yesterday. It left me in a poor enough mood that I decided to skip Carlsbad Caverns, which was why I was in the area in the first place. I packed up and headed across the Sacramento Mountains to Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, south of Alamogordo. Oh, look, sunshine!
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