The trip is from Natchez Trace, Tennessee, to Dodge City, Kansas, by way of Tucson, Arizona.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
I took 2 and a half hikes on my own far up into the mountains. On the first one I hiked about half-way through the desert to El Capitan. It was a day-long hike, and I wanted to do more than just a single hike, so I quit once I came within sight of it and returned to the campground.
The second hike I took at daybreak on the second day to Devil’s Hall. I got to see a nice sunrise over the Texas flatlands.
The rising sun gave a soft glow to everything it touched.
The trail descended into a dry creek bed.
The dry creek bed led to Devils’ Staircase. It should have been named Devil’s Ladder. I don’t know if you can tell how steep it is from the photos, but I had to scale it like climbing a ladder.
Once on top, it was a short walk to Devil’s Hall.
Devil’s Hall was a canyon so narrow you could spread your arms out and touch both sides.
The trail continued beyond Devil’s Hall, but I turned back. Instead of backtracking on the trail to the campground, I took a side trail which connected to the trail going to the summit of Guadalupe Peak, which at 8,751 feet is the highest mountain in Texas. This was my half-hike. So I started climbing. Notice how small the campground appears in the center of the photo.
The only problem was this trail was little-used, and so was in poor condition. It was extremely narrow and steep.
I startled something. I saw 2 large dark forms move quickly through the brush down the hill away from me. It was so rugged and they were so fast I didn’t get a good look. They seemed too big and made too much noise to be deer. They could have been mountain lions, but they seemed to be a dark color. Maybe boars? Later a park ranger told me boars were rare, but they had been spotted.
I reached the juncture of this connecting trail to the Guadalupe Peak trail.
By this time I was worn out, and a little spooked by whatever I had encountered. So I began my descent to the campground.
I spent the rest of the day lounging around the campsite pleasurably exhausted.
The next location is Carlsbad Cavern, New Mexico