Guadalupe Mountains National Park (NP #6), Texas (State #5)

“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.

 

Texas22

 

Guadalupe Mountains National Park (map / wiki) sticks out above the plains to the south.

 

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.

 

P1020665This was really the only sketchy section of the trail.

 

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.

 

P1020680
Hair down for effect.

 

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.”

 

P1020686
It was a tall day.

 

2-9-15 (1)

 

2-9-15 (2)

2 Comments on “Guadalupe Mountains National Park (NP #6), Texas (State #5)

  1. I felt guadalupe mt itself was underwhelming. The real jewel there is the back country. A pine forest starts once you reach the top of tejas trail. It is beautiful to camp at tejas campsite in the woods and watch the sunset at the Ridgeline over the plains at blueridge. Looks like you missed Gila national forest, nm. The continental divide trail to jordan hot springs was one of my favorite backpacking trips yet.

    1. I agree. I liked the physical challenge of Guadalupe Peak, and the view out across the plains was amazing. But next time i’d like to head deeper into the park. Tejas Trail sounds cool, and I read that there is good wildlife viewing in The Bowl.
      Yeah I missed Gila NF. It’s too bad because I’m a sucker for cliff dwellings. I’ve been keeping a list of recommendations so I’ll throw it on there.
      Thanks for the input.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.