• Brissia Montalvo bikes along the Boulder Dash Trail at the Franklin Mountains. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

In the Lone Star State, residents consider themselves Texans first, Americans second. Or so Javier Frutos was told when he and writer Omar Mouallem visited west Texas while on assignment for Canadian Geographic Travel (look for the story in the March 2016 issue of the magazine).

“I was surprised by how much diversity there was,” says Frutos. With the exception of Big Bend National Park, the region is not widely known, and Frutos was happy to discover a variety of microclimates within the arid and semiarid landscape.

Camera in hand, Frutos traversed the region, clocking nearly 2,000 kilometres in five days. Here are a few of the photos he came back with.

The Milky Way seen at the Indian Lodge. Dark night skies at Davis Mountains State Park, a perfect area for stargazing. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

Sunrise at the Davis Mountains State Park, TX. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

Cane Cholla cactus. Davis Mountains State Park. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

Hiking trail close to Fort Davis in Davis Mountains State Park. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

Museum at Fort Davis National Historic Site. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

Pool at the Indian Lodge in Davis Mountains State Park. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

Cerro Castellan, rises 3,293 feet above sea level. Big Bend National Park. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

Old Maverick Road, Big Bend National Park. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

Pullman Ridge at Big Bend National Park, TX. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

“Star Party” at the McDonald Observatory in West Texas. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

Over 100 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails at Franklin Mountains State Park. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

Aaron Friar from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department takes a dive at Balmorhea State Park swimming pool. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

“Little Dinner” restaurant combination plate in El Paso. Includes gordita, taco, enchilada. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)