It’s raining yet again down here in southeast Texas and I still don’t have an umbrella for some reason ☔️☔️ Maybe because trying to frantically open one inside my car or the doorway of a building as rain splashes down around me is like trying to solve a Chinese puzzle box. It’s more trouble than it’s worth in my world, and I’d rather be rained on for a few seconds than open an umbrella ???
Umbrella or not, it’s really making me wish I was back in the Rio Grande Valley, where it was bright and sunny all day everyday like a tropical heaven ☀️? I looooove this southernmost region of Texas almost as much as I love chocolate and puppies. I already wrote about being Vegan in the Rio Grande Valley and Exploring the Rio Grande Valley, and I have one more post in this three part series. Here are my favorite photos from my adventures to La Sal del Rey and Raymondville, Texas.
La Sal del Rey or “The King’s Salt” is one of three naturally occurring salt lakes in south Texas. According to the sign that greets visitors upon arrival, the 530 acre lake contains approximately 4 millions tons of salt and is 10 times saltier than the ocean. Beginning in prehistoric times, it was a valuable source of salt for humans, including Native Americans, Spanish explorers, and western pioneers. Today, it is a peaceful refuge for the many species of wildlife that call this region home.
If you plan on visiting, make sure you wear sturdy shoes because it’s about a 20 minute walk from the parking area to the actual lake. You’ll pass bright green fields, lush foliage, and beautiful flowers.
I was the only person there for the entire visit, so it was quite peaceful. But I also freaked out a little every time I heard something rustle in the bushes near me ? so I was pretty relieved when I finally came to the end of the trail and walked out into a vast opening of sand, salt, and water.
It looks like snow on the ground, but that’s the salt. To the left, the lake is all dried up and covered in interesting animal tracks. I saw bird, deer, and ocelot prints! ? To the right there’s still water as far as the eye can see.
I walked across the dried up part of the lake as the clouds lifted and the sun came out. I got there late morning and it was already hot, even in early October. Definitely bring a small backpack with water, snacks, sunscreen, and sunglasses.
Closer to the water, it gets very muddy and slippery. But it’s worth the dirty shoes and potentially falling on your butt to get down to the bank and taste the salty water!
I really enjoyed the vast serenity of this place, especially knowing I was the only person around. Just me and the ocelots. I walked the trail back to the parking area and took a left onto the palm tree lined county road for my second visit back to the tiny town of Raymondville, which is only 20 minutes away.
Raymondville is known as the “Gateway to the Valley” because it’s located in the northernmost region of the Rio Grande Valley. It’s a small, slow paced town and honestly there’s not much to do there, but I somehow managed to need two trips to do it all.
The main drag of downtown is on Hidalgo Ave and it barely covers one block. This little strip is made up of bright colored buildings, thrift shops, the old theatre, a bakery, and a few other odds and ends. On the other side of the intersection is the historic courthouse, and although it’s not as stately as one would imagine, I enjoyed the architecture and the tiny public library sitting behind it.
The downtown area is full of old buildings, including some interesting looking churches. I love the one below with it’s yellow accents.
One of my favorite places in town is the museum, which is housed in a beautiful red brick building that was once the local high school. The museum gives a good background of the history of the Rio Grande Valley, prominent figures in the region, and what daily life was like there through the decades.
And being the weirdo that I am ? I always walk through the historical cemeteries in any town that I visit. I figure it’s kind of like an outdoor walking history tour ??right…..? Well, this cemetery was very colorful and vibrant and backed up to a nice, lush field.
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Raymondville, even though the people there gave me funny looks because I obviously was not a local (!), but everyone I talked to was extremely friendly. I can’t wait to go back to the valley and continue exploring, there’s so much history and culture. Until then, I’ll power through this rainy streak in southeast Texas and hope that the storms don’t cut off the electricity again (note: showering by candlelight at 1 am is not something I need to experience again). Happy Thursday!