“Feb 9th 2015
Guadalupe Peak, or as I nicknamed it “Mountain of the confused wind”, is the tallest peak in Texas.
I camped at the trailhead the night before, and I was on my way up at 9:15 AM. The trail is 8.5 miles round trip and it has a 3,000 foot elevation gain from ~5,000 to ~8,000 feet. I eventually got behind a group that I paced well with, and we began rolling up.
The most prominent feature on the range is the most southern tip of the butte, a shear rock face called El Capitan. It resembles the El Capitan I am more familiar with in Yosemite, but instead of being granite grey it’s limestone pale brown and tan.
The trail had moderate fall exposure, but because of the unpredictable gusts of wind I would rate it slightly more dangerous than it looks in photos.
The wind had been in the area all the night before. Getting good sleep before a hike is a priority. My Honda Element has a high side profile, and I was rocked awake a few times. On the mountain the gusts were stronger and the direction & magnitude was constantly changing. I didn’t stay at the top too long.
On the way back down I stopped to pick up a piece of Poptart someone had dropped..
I wrapped it up in a Cliff Bar wrapper and began to put it in my pocket when I heard someone say in a logically accusatory tone “Taking Rocks??” (Taking anything from a national park is strictly prohibited). It was a park ranger standing 15 feet away. I smiled, walked up to him, showed him the frosted strawberry bit of breakfast, and jabbed him in the chest with the back of my hand as he began to chuckle out of embarrassment. I don’t get accused of doing wrong when doing right very often, so I reveled in that the rest of the way down the hill.”