American Locations 22 – Guadalupe Mountains 2

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.

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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.

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The rising sun gave a soft glow to everything it touched.

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The trail descended into a dry creek bed.

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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.

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Once on top, it was a short walk to Devil’s Hall.

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Devil’s Hall was a canyon so narrow you could spread your arms out and touch both sides.

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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.

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The only problem was this trail was little-used, and so was in poor condition. It was extremely narrow and steep.

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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.

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By this time I was worn out, and a little spooked by whatever I had encountered. So I began my descent to the campground.

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I spent the rest of the day lounging around the campsite pleasurably exhausted.

 

The next location is Carlsbad Cavern, New Mexico

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