Monday, July 6, 2015

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

After Memorial Day weekend passed, I headed north. Since my schedule is fluid, I haven't made reservations anywhere. Last fall when I was camping it was great because it was Sept-Oct, kids were in school and it was me and the retirees :). Now it's summer and everyone is out and about - even more so on weekend and holidays. So I have to be more strategic in my camping stops as it is usually first come, first serve. So I delayed leaving Big Bend until after the holiday so I'd have better chances on camping spots. Well I failed on the first try :) but found another place, just a little more expensive.

I arrived at the Guadelupe Mountains. It is a National Park in Texas in the northwest corner of the state. Directly across the New Mexico border is Carlsbad Caverns National Park as well. My first camp night was actually close to the caverns, but the next morning I got a spot at Guadalupe. This mountain range is what's left of a reef. This was also part of that ancient sea like Big Bend. 

I did a hike up to the peak. It was another long day - maybe 6.5 hours total. You can see the trail I came across on and then down over a bridge. Just past the bridge under the shade of trees I found a good lunch resting spot. 

My campsite was around that parking lot you see towards the middle. There was another hike that followed the dry river/creek bed you see but figured that would be super hot. At least if you're going up in elevation, you usually get some temperature relief :). 

I made it!

This is the marker at the peak. It is officially the highest point in Texas, and I had it all to myself for a few minutes. 

I thought this was an interesting plaque. 

If you look close, you can see marks in the rock, like someone pasted twigs or grass on top. These are remnants of sea grass from when it was part of the reef (like fossils). This is on the peak of the mountain! The history of the earth is so incredible and hard for me to fathom. 

One direction you can see salt flats in Texas. 

These were some new flowers I saw. Though much of the plant life looked similar to Big Bend to my undiscerning eye. This was also mountain lion country, though no bears. Another park off the list and no lion sightings :). 

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