New Year New View
With 2017 on the horizon, we decided to put Texas in the rear view mirror and head west – but not without first visiting Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Texas isn’t exactly known for mountain vistas, so it’s excusable that you might make the mistake of discounting its potential for alpine hiking opportunities. However, the Lone Star State is home to the Guadalupe Mountains and the Chisos Mountains further south in Big Bend National Park. Having already hiked the Chisos in previous escapades, we were really excited to see what the Guadalupes had in store and arrived after dark on December 31st – just in time to whip up a meal and break open the Champagne!
Spending New Year’s Eve in the mountains was a wonderful way to ring in 2017 and we celebrated further with a hike to Devil’s Hall on the first day of the year. Devil’s Hall, or so it’s named, is a canyon formed by neat stair-step rock formations about 2 miles up from the campground – it was an easy-going and scenic hike, making it an ideal way to begin the new year.
We stayed at the The Pine Springs Campground located at 5800 feet elevation right at the trail-head to the Guadalupe Peak trail. We had two days of dramatic weather, replete with 60mph wind gusts and hail on one night. We stayed cozy in inside, but the high winds did cause the bus to sway, making it feel like we were sleeping on a ship in the ocean!
After waiting out the weather, we were able to do the 8.5 mile Guadalupe Peak Trail and made it to the highest point in Texas! Though the peak itself is only 8,751 feet high (yes, we know you Coloradans regularly summit 14,000 foot peaks) what makes it so amazing is how flat the surrounding area is in comparison. From the summit you can see for hundreds of miles in any direction and really get a sense of the topography as it sweeps around the mountains. (It’s a beautiful site that I encourage you to seek out!)
In total, we spent four nights in the Guadalupes before moving on to New Mexico. We’re still exploring New Mexico and will share more about our travels soon.