Wednesday, November 12, 2014

2nd Annual Dude's Trip 2014 Part 1

 This past weekend was our 2nd annual "Dude's Trip" for my son and I. It always corresponds with my birthday, which helped me when I ask for permission from the boss. We started this last year when it was decided my son was old enough to join me on some wild adventures and be able to hold his own. This helped in getting approval without all the guilt from my bride for leaving on another crazy adventure without the family. For the record, my wife loves the outdoors, just not to the extreme that I do, therefore..."Dude's Trip". But because of the June flash flood on the Pecos and the chopper ride out, my bride was not extremely excited about us going on a multi-day kayaking least not yet. So after much deliberation, we decided to dust off the backpacks and head for the mountains.
 We knew we didn't have all the time (or money) in the world, but we were going to make it work...and it was going to be memorable.
 We decided on the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. I had never been there, but always heard about it from my friends. So with that, we started the planning phase. It changed quite a few times before we finally came up with what would be our final schedule, which was the night before we left.
 I have never been one to stay too long in one place when a vacation comes around. We'll usually split it up into two or more places, and run ourselves ragged until the day we get back. Sound relaxing? You better believe it, at least it is to me. I figure, why not see and do as much as you can with the time you have. You may never get another chance. So with that philosophy...I give you the "Dude's Trip 2014".

 We left at 6:30am in a tiny rental car that got 42mpg and pointed it towards west Texas. We were making good time even through the oilfields and all that traffic. We arrived at Pine Springs campground at around 11:30, checked in and proceeded to setup our camp.

Around the Visitor's Center.

We did a ton of research on the place and knew since we were there early, we could find a good spot. I wanted a spot we didn't have to walk a ways to. Some folks like the solitude of the sites a little further away, but come on, it's still a park campground, we know, and can hear, who is having trouble digesting their supper. Solitude in campgrounds like these mean 30 feet away as opposed to 20.  But still, we got a great spot.

Out our front Porch.

And the back porch.

It wasn't noon yet, so we went ahead with the plan. Off we would head to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. We passed it to get to the park earlier in the day, but knew it would be better to get setup first and go back. I have been here a few times before, but Nick hasn't yet. I knew this would be a big eye opener. It did not disappoint.

This place needs to be seen in person to fully understand what it is and how big it is, so I won't go any further with the interior photos that can't do it justice. Just go see it.  :)

But we did get to see a remarkable sunset from the Caverns park.

Guadalupe Mountains in the background.

On the way back to our camp, I had to stop, since the sunset wouldn't give up. 

Once we got back, as predicted, the campground was full of people. Some getting set up, some still trying to find a spot, and some just wondering around. It gets dark before 5, so it was a bit weird with all the activity and it being dark. We decided to go ahead and eat a lavish supper of some kind of dehydrated peppered beef thing a ma bob...with rice. I was able to use my Jetboil that was saved from the Pecos trip. It took a little longer than normal to get to a boil, but it gave us time to get the camp in order. After we ate that...stuff, we finished up getting all our things together for the mornings trek to the top of Guadalupe Peak.

Even after all we did, it was still only around 8pm. So out came the tripod and camera.  

It was a full moon, which made it harder to get good starry night shots, so I improvised and used the moon on a few. 

As the night moved on, it started getting colder and the wind picked up. We were in bed by 10pm and pretty much asleep even though there was still plenty of movement in the campground. We had what we needed to stay we thought. Sometime a few hours later I was awoken by my son shivering. He couldn't get warm and was a bit unnerved by it. He had the right clothes, the right bag, and even a bag liner. I was toasty, what was the problem? Here is the only thing I could figure...he probably got hot, started to sweat, and instead of shedding a layer, he got out of his bag. After a while the temp started to drop and he's still out of his bag. He got chilled and his body started to try and warm him up. In come the shivers. We fixed him up and back to sleep, sorta. It seemed I woke up every ten minutes for the next however many hours it took for that sun to slowly get up. Long, long night.

We could tell the sun would be up soon because of all the movement in the campground. I peeked outside and saw light on the horizon. It was time to get stirring as well. I tapped my son, and told him it was time to get moving. He turned over and said,"Yeah, I know.
It's about stinking time. Last night was getting old." I had to agree. We had a great day before, and I think the anticipation of the hike up to the summit had made it hard to relax. 

Continue to Part 2

Continue to Part 3


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