“Climb a mountain,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said. What an adventure.
Over the weekend, Brian and I, along with his brother and brother’s girlfriend, drove out to the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. We arrived the night before and set up camp.
We woke up the next day as the sun was rising, packed our day packs, and hit the trail.
After hiking nearly 12 miles through the Rocky Mountian National Park, we felt confident that we could hike to Guadalupe Peak. The peak is the highest point in Texas at 8,700 feet. The out and back trail is a total of 8.4 miles (ended up being closer to 9). The first half is straight up, then straight down. There was certainly some anxiety at the start of the climb when we thought we’d gotten in over our heads.
Despite our uncertainty, we pushed on and, with many breaks, managed to summit the mountain in just under 4 hours. There’s an awesome triangle peak marker at the top (do those things have names?) that announces your completion. I ran to it and immediately took a selfie. This was the first peak I’d summited and the sense of accomplishment was incredible! After an hour break at the top for snacks, pictures, and a nap, we hiked down in 3 hours.
The trail starts with over a mile of stairs though a shrubby terrain.
As we got higher, the wind picked up! The environment changed from shrubbery to forestry.
Finally, as we got closer to the peak, the trees thinned out and we on super rocky, narrow trails. We even had to use a bridge at one point because the trail was so narrow.
Finally, you climb on hands and knees to the peak!
The view is incredible – unlike anything I’ve ever seen. We were way above the back side of El Capitan and had a 360 view as far as our eyes could see. It was super windy on top, so don’t mind the crazy hair.
The next morning, we ran to the visitors center to get our Guadalupe Mountain swag. We got our National Parks passport stamped and stickers and purchased a pin for our pin hat.